Patorai Notes – Remembering Emil Patoray

Emil Patoray was one of my first genealogy penpals, my Nana’s second cousin on her father’s side of the family. I never met Emil, but we corresponded a few times, as he tried to answer my questions about that branch of the family.

I thought about Emil recently and looked through some of my old Patorai/Patoray treasures. As I re-read this note, I realized that there were several great little gems of information in it that I hadn’t noticed before.

EmilPatorayNoteCard
Note from Emil

46 Church Street
Elmwood Park
New Jersey 07407

Dear Linda
Received your
envelope with the picture.
Looking at the picture
from the left is my
brother Nick. I am
second. The tall girl
I do not know. Fourth
I think is Nick Tidik and
fifth is his brother
Steve. The car is a 1926
Buick and was my fathers!
Pete Scerbak and Julia
rented the rooms on the

EmilPatorayNoteInsideCrop
Emil’s Note (read right side, then left)

top floor of the building,
at that time. Steve Tidiks’
wife died and Steve Tidik
moved in with Pete Scerbak.
My father also got Steve
Tidik a job at the
Pantasote leather Co., just
across the street from the
tavern. The big boss used
to come to the tavern
every day. at that time you
had to know someone to
get a job.

My cousin’s address is:
(blocked out, as she is still living)
31 Dewey Avenue
Clifton, New Jersey
07013
She is a Patoray and lived
in Ujak [former name of Udol]. In fact I
think she visited there
a few times. Write
her and maybe she can
tell you more.

Sincerely yours,
Emil Patoray

This is the photo to which Emil referred in the note:

NickAndStevenTidikOnEndsPatoraiKidsInCenter
1926 Patoray Buick

Emil’s father ran a tavern in the 1920s, but by 1930, he was enumerated as a store keeper. I can’t see much of the background in this photo, but Emil’s comment about the Pantasote Leather Company being right across the street from the tavern unlocked new information.

I have some Passaic phone books from the 1950s and 1960s. The earliest one is from 1953:

When I took a peek inside, I found:

PantasoteLeatherCrop
Pantasote Co., Still There in 1953!

The Pantasote Company was still there in 1953, likely at the same address – 26 Jefferson Street, Passaic, which is downtown right near where the Patoray family lived.

Maria Scerbak Tidik, my grandmother’s sister, had died in May 1926. Emil would have been six in 1926 so this car may well have been brand new, based on his age in the picture.

Next stop, Google Earth, for 26 Jefferson Street:

26 JeffersonStCrop
26 Jefferson Street, Today

That building certainly looks like it could have been a leather factory back in the day. Today, it appears to be part of the Passaic School District transportation warehouse.

Now, for the tavern across the street. What did it look like and what did the building look like where the rented rooms were above – where the Scerbaks and Tidiks lived?

TavernJeffersonStCrop
Jefferson Street, Across from Pantasote Leather Company

This was a huge disappointment. Not only is the tavern building gone, the entire block has been razed.

However, I learned several new facts about my family from Emil’s note. I now know where this picture was taken, I know that the Tidiks lived with the Scerbaks on this street, that my grandparents lived here for a short time, too, and that Steve Tidik got a job at the leather company because Nicholas Patoray, tavern keeper, knew the “big boss” from across the street.

Thank you, Emil, for helping me get started on the family history! Here I am, 36 years later, still learning from you.

Emil Patoray
31 July 1920-31 October 2000
R.I.P.

 

One thought on “Patorai Notes – Remembering Emil Patoray”

  1. Linda,
    Emil was my uncle, Emily, his sister was my mother. I randomly found your site with the note that my uncle had written you.

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