The folks at Sophie's and Mona's passed along the sad news that Markand Thakar, a longtime regular at the bars, died this week. He was 82. We don't have a lot of details at the moment about a service or any possible celebrations of his life.
His artwork adorns the walls at both bars. He was a regular at the popular Tuesday night jazz sessions at Mona's. You've probably seen him there. And you'd remember having a conversation with him.
You can read about his life and work and view his art at his website, The Skunk Museum & Library. (We particularly like his oil paintings of bar scenes from the 1970s and 1980s.)
Part of his life, in his own words:
I've been asked, on numerous occasions, to explain the origins of my name and of my antecedents - and, just how did my parents, being of such different backgrounds, manage to meet? It has become obvious, that in this day of the American hyphenate, merely stating that I was born in New York City, on the 4th of July, in the fateful year, 1929 — and being the sixth child of a father born in India, and a mother born in Belgium, makes for an insufficient life history...
After the drafting, during WWII, of my three older brothers, I began working as a gofer at a haberdashery that furnished the uniforms for Columbia's Navy ninety-day-wonders, then worked as a soda jerk — during which time I dropped out of High School. On July 18, 1946, shortly after I turned seventeen, I enlisted in the Regular Army and served for about a year in the post-WWII occupation of Japan. As a result, I joined my three older brothers as WWII veterans (all of us having served during WWII's emergency years).
After my discharge, and over the years, I used up my GI Bill schooling allowance — during which time I worked at numerous jobs: soda jerk, bank page, RR dock worker, apprentice machinist, model maker — all the while, and from then on, I was more or less involved in the making of art. Then, from late 1953, before selling my business in 1974, I supported my wife, Betty Huber (a German Baptist, born in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1926, who was in the process of obtaining a Ph.D.) and our three children as a licensed customhouse broker and registered foreign freight forwarder. My wife of over half a century (now deceased), after obtaining her PhD. carried much of the burden of supporting the family — from 1974 on.
We featured Thakar in a post this past Dec. 22.