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John Chervokas: Remembering an Ossining Hero

We remember the life of John Chervokas, as the one-year anniversary of his death approaches.

The Ossining community is a better place to live because of John Chervokas. This summer marks one year since his death from a stroke, but even with his passing, his hard work, compassion, business smarts and spirituality continue to affect those he left behind.

Chervokas was born in Norwood, Massachusetts in 1936. He graduated from Fordham University in 1959. After graduation his life would touch the religious, political and advertising worlds.

His business career began as an advertising copywriter. Chervokas then worked his way up to vice chairman and chief creative officer of Warwick Advertising. As a copywriter John came up with the idea for the "Please don't squeeze the Charmin" ad campaign. He said the idea came from observing women who squeezed fruit in the supermarket and the managers who had to stop them from doing so.

As the years progressed, Chervokas climbed the corporate ladder, eventually becoming a Madison Avenue advertising executive. Those who worked with him have fond memories.

"He was my boss at an advertising agency back in the early 70s. He was already a legend in the business for his brilliant "please don't squeeze the Charmin" campaign. He was a pure wordsmith and he taught me so much about creativity, style and humor," said Alan Bernhard.

Chervokas began his public service career in the 70s as the president of the . In the 80s he wrote a number of religious books including: Pinstripe prayers, or, How to talk to God while pursuing Mammon, Patient Prayers: Talking to God from a Hospital Bed, How To Keep God Alive and God Lives in the Suburbs.

He was the director of the Ossining Chamber of Commerce in the mid-90s. In 1998 Chervokas began his first term as Town of Ossining supervisor. He proudly served the people of Ossining in that position until 2008.

Former Town of Ossining Supervisor Catherine Borgia remembers Chervokas' wit, wisdom and unflagging good humor.

"John's dedication to public service was an inspiration to us," said Borgia.

Chervokas' son, Jason, says that he will always remember his father's power of creativity, compassion and the kindness that he brought to everything he did, even business and politics.

As the one-year anniversary of Chervokas' passing approaches, it is comforting to know that he is still with us, in our hearts living on through those he has known and through his accomplishments.

Alice Joselow April 12, 2012 at 11:35 AM
John's sharp mind and wit and his deep faith were a positive and inspiring force to so many. He left an indelible mark on our community.
Class of 74 April 12, 2012 at 09:32 PM
He was kind, low key and caring. I saw him a number of times at DARE graduations at St. Augustine School. He was truly a gentleman.
Tom Earle April 13, 2012 at 02:25 AM
At JCYS baseball opening day he would give a little speach about rooting for your team, then put on his Red Sox hat and all the children would give him a good-natured "BOO!" - he seemed to love that. Also he was a good friend to the Ossining Boat & Canoe Club. It was a pleasure working with him, he is missed.

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