The Corner Loses Its Mayor

Technically, this blog is about the University of Virginia — its faculty, staff and students. We don’t do much stuff about outside businesses, because as a public institution, we can’t play favorites.

To heck with that today.

The University community has lost a major figure. Bobby Mincer (at left in photo, with his son, Mark, the current proprietor), who ran the family business, Mincer’s Pipe Shop, for 40 years, lost his battle with leukemia at 1:30 a.m. today and died surrounded by his family, according to Corner historian Coy Barefoot. From 1960 to his retirement in 2000, he was a familiar figure to generations of Cavaliers (as well as an employer to more than a few).

Check out Barefoot’s tribute to Mincer, and make sure you listen to the podcast of his 2008 interview.

Mincer’s for years was known as a friendly place where students could cash checks or take out a quick “honor loan” with nothing more than a signature. The Mincers eventually got out of the tobacco business and morphed into a purveyor of U.Va.-imprinted sportswear and goods; Bobby credits Ralph Sampson with teaching them to sell T-shirts.

(Interesting Mincer’s trivia: When Bobby Mincer’s father was looking to establish a pipe shop in a college town, he also considered New Haven, Conn. and Lexington, Va. But Yale already had a nice pipe shop and the cadets at VMI had no place to carry a pipe on their uniforms, so he settled on Charlottesville.)

It’s a sad, sad day, and the University has lost another link to a bygone era.

7 Comments on “The Corner Loses Its Mayor

  1. I had the privilege of working for Bobby and his father in Mincer’s Pipe Shop between 1973 and 1975 while I was a student. I join a lot of Wahoos today in mourning Bobby’s passing.

  2. I had the pleasure of working for both Bobby & his Dad at Mincer’s when I was in high school. Little did I know that I was packing pipe tobacco to be shipped to the most important men in the country from upstairs of what is now Mincer’s. I am so sad to hear of Bobby’s passing. He & his Dad were always so wonderful to me. My heart goes out to Mark & the family. Know that you are in my prayers…

  3. Thank you for this tribute to an ordinary great man of our time. Bobby Mincer did a lot of good in ordinary ways. The UVA shirts i bought from him are little small now but i will always keep them. This was a person you always expected to see on The Corner, now we must do without him, like The University Cafeteria gone for a long time. We will always remember Mr.Robert H. Mincer, such a consistantly kind man, a classic Virginia gentleman.

  4. Last time I saw my classmate was @ A class reunion class reunion class of 1954.
    You will be missed! God Bless the family,rest in peace.

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