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Obituaries

Agnes Sinko

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March 14, 2024

AGNES M. SINKÓ (1941-2024) passed away on March 2. She was one of seven children, grew up in Irvington, NY, and lived and worked in the New York City area for most of her life.  She married Josef Sinkó (deceased 2023) in 1966 and brought her in-laws to live with them in 1968.  She worked for the Welfare Department in New York City first as a case worker then as a librarian.  In 1984, she began working as a librarian in Westchester County and at Westchester Community College.  Her work for the Westchester Library System included being the “Librarian of Last Resort” where, if a librarian couldn’t answer a question, it was forwarded to her, and she searched the databases and other sites (then known as bulletin boards) to find the answer (this was pre-Windows).  As the director for the Irvington Public Library, she was instrumental in getting a new library for the village of Irvington.  Agnes retired from being a librarian in 2020.  She had survived many illnesses, but she succumbed to her last one on 3/2/24.  She is survived by her two children, Josef and Laura; her siblings, Liz Gillen Gawenus, Ed Gillen, Mike Gillen, and Walter Gillen and their spouses; her 18 nieces and nephews; her many grand-nieces and grand-nephews; and her cousins.  In lieu of flowers or gifts, please send a donation to the Irvington Public Library in the name of the Agnes & Josef Sinkó Memorial Fund.  There will be a public celebration of life at 1:00 pm, Sunday, April 7 at The Irvington Public Library, 12 S. Astor Street, Irvington, NY.

 

The following is taken from the Irvington Historical Society’s Legacy Project, which celebrates the lives of longtime residents of the village, including Agnes. 

I was born in 1941. My parents moved to 125 N. Broadway in 1938. My father tracked our house back to 1800.

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My mother liked to swim. We were one of the only families to have a pool in Irvington. The police sponsored a day at the country club pool. Village children were invited, and they had races, and because we were swimmers and since there were seven of us, we won everything. There weren’t any kids in the neighborhood. My mom would take us all around and she made friends with people here. Even if they didn’t have kids, we went along. We used to have tea with the du Pont Irvings. They were the nieces of Washington Irving. He had died, and they inherited his house.

 My brother used to ski down the front steps of our house, turn right down the yard, down more steps, then a hill going down, and then the driveway out to Sunnyside, and all downhill from there. If you walked along the street, you just said hello. You greeted anybody you met on the street. That was the custom, and if you knew their name, you said their name, how are you today, that kind of thing.

Preparatory school consisted of one row of desks in the 1st and 2nd-grade classroom. I took piano lessons with Ms. Valentine, who was a teacher in the Main Street School, and then we always went to Mrs. Thiele’s bakery. They used to have a Halloween party in the town hall, and they’d have Ted Mack, who had a TV show and who lived here, run a variety show. When my dad was mayor, he did a lot with the budget and the money. He saved enough money to pay for a new firehouse.

My mom ran a preschool for about ten years in our home. She had a quiet room with a painting easel set up, and the noisy room, and they could go in there and sing and do whatever they wanted. They built a jungle gym out of wood, with a slide at one side, with a mattress at the bottom of the slide. She also had swings and a marching band.

I worked as a page in the library, which was then in Town Hall, and later again part time, and then became the director from 1985 to 2005. Building a new library in the old Lord and Burnham building was very exciting to me. Mary Morrissett, who was the head of the library board, was very, very good to work with. She personally raised $200,000 in one night for the new library.

Yeah, we were wild growing up in Irvington. We could go wherever we wanted. Certain places were our secret gardens, and it didn’t matter whose property you were on. Nobody ever said anything about not being allowed on their property. We didn’t even think about the word property, you know?

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