---- — The power of social networking and the unbelievable popularity of an average man joined forces last week to provide a heart-warming story.
It started St. Patrick’s Day weekend when a Facebook user posted a photo of Hermitage Walmart greeter Ed Krochka with the accompanying message: “RIP Ed.”
That sparked a major wave of not only curiosity, but admiration for the Sharon man. He was known by most of the posters as that kind gentleman with a booming voice who offered their children and grandchildren stickers when they visited the store.
For most of his professional life, Ed was the owner of the Avenue Flower Shop on Sharpsville Avenue in Sharon near Silver Street. After closing his shop, he worked part time for both Gibbs Flower Shop in Farrell and Palo Flowers in Sharpsville.
In addition, most of his admirers didn’t realize that he was a World War II veteran, serving in India as part of the Air Force. I find it interesting, considering his profession, that he lived on Flowers Avenue.
How recognizable was Ed Krochka? After the initial posting on Facebook, several interested folks called The Herald and emailed us, asking if and when his obituary was going to be published. That, in itself, is a rarity.
Soon afterward, others posted condolences on The Herald’s Facebook page, and people still were calling about the publication of an obituary.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Herald writer Dala Barrow confirmed that we had received his obit, but that it didn’t have a photo to accompany it.
I had remembered seeing one of the photos on The Herald’s Facebook page, and after a 20-minute search of the posts, was able to find it and we published it with Ed’s obituary on Friday.
Thursday night, I posted his obituary on The Herald’s Facebook page, with some kind comments about the avalanche of interest in this gentleman.