So Long to Al, The Helpful Hardware Man — Quintessential local Guy Whose Personal Interest, Advice and Patience was Treasured by White Plainsians for 39 Years

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Alfred Urban
The Helpful Hardware Man

WPCNR MILESTONES, By John F. Bailey. March 9, 2015: 

Al was the Go-To-Guy who created the Hardware  Store everybody went to.

He ran House Centrer True Value Hardware at 488 Mamaroneck Avenue, in White Plains for  39 Years. His was the Official Hardware Store of The CitizeNetReporter and hundreds of White Plainsians.

He’d be in the back of the store behind a rumbled desk, big, serious affable, warm and knew the answers to whatever problem you had in your home. But he always waited for you to ask.

The store always had what you needed or he could make a suggestion.  Like a savvy mechanic, he engendered trust. The store was chock-a-block in its beginning years a little like Al himself, but never intimidating. He’d see you wandering around the store looking,  and waited for you to come to him…in later years after going to the store for 39 years, I had gained enough macho confidence to just go right up to his friendly staff many of whom have been there for years and just ask the question.

A few years ago he remodeled the shelving and the store is now thoroughly unchock-a-block and even more enticing and enchanting than ever. You always buy items you did not come in to purchase…because they are so well displayed.

Al was a genius at timely display with products of a seasonal nature–never displayed too early, and never displayed past the time when they were in demand. From rock salt to garden materials. House Center Hardware had it and still does.

Al was an equal opportunity employer, even hiring a “Working Cat Professional,” the no-nonsense Gepetto, who is a beloved security cat.

I love this store that Al made. It’s like old times and his present staff duplicates Al’s ready-to-help, low key manner which treats men and women with respect. It is one of the few hardware stores that is very appealing to women, too because of the staff respect for the customer. So polite.

Al Urban died suddenly Saturday afternoon, and his manner and spirit of serving the public was inspirational. He was in every essence, Al, The Helpful Hardware Man.

McMahon,Lyon and Hartnett Funeral Home published this obituary on their website.

Al, as he was affectionately known, passed away suddenly on Saturday, March 7. Al was 82 years young. He was born in 1932 to Stella and Joseph Urbanavice of Brooklyn, New York.

Al married Francine who was the love of his life for 40 years. She predeceased him on November 24, 2010. Al loved life and lived life to the fullest.

He enjoyed spending time with family, playing cards, boating and reading.

In 1986, Al purchased the House Center True Value hardware store in White Plains, NY. He spent every day working at his store doing what he loved best, spending time with his customers. Al had a wonderful sense humor. Al is survived by his loving daughter Debra (Thomas) Vail and loving son Steven (Ellise) Konigsberg. Also surviving are his four cherished grandsons Jason, Harrison, Marc, Andrew.

Visiting will be on Tuesday 2 to 4pm and 7 to 9pm. Funeral Mass is Wednesday 10am at Our Lady of Sorrows Church. Interment will be at St. Charles Cemetery, Farmingdale, NY

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