George Corder, co-founder of Corder’s Jewelry, Somerset, Ky., passed away on Dec. 22, 2003, at Golden Years Nursing Home in Monticello. He was 89.
Corder was one of 11 children raised on a farm in McCreary County by the late James and Arbanna Corder. When he was barely in his twenties, he purchased a small watch repair shop in Monticello from the widow of its owner. A few years later, he married Lena Corder, and the young couple began to stock the shop with merchandise, beginning the transformation from repair shop to jewelry store.
As World War II began, George was offered the opportunity to purchase a second shop. Knowing he would soon be drafted into the armed forces, George reluctantly declined, but when the war ended, the offer still stood—and this time he accepted. On July 1, 1945, the Corders opened their second store, in Somerset’s Fountain Square. They operated both stores until 1948, when they sold the Monticello store and dedicated themselves full-time to the Somerset operation.
In 1958, the Corders moved from Fountain Square to the Prather Building, and in May 1967, they opened a second Somerset store, in the Tradewind Shopping Center. The couple eventually closed the Prather Building store and concentrated on the Tradewind location.
Corder was active in civic and industry affairs. He was a past president of both the Kentucky Jewelers Association and the Mid-South Watchmakers Guild, a charter member of the American Watch Makers Institute, a member of the Somerset Kiwanis Club and numerous other organizations, and a member of the First Baptist Church of Somerset.
He is survived by his son, Harold, and daughter-in-law Gerema; sister Ina Koger of Hamilton, Ohio; grandchildren H.E. “Beaver” Corder, George Corder, and Katharine Mays; and great-granddaughters Abigail, Katie, Josee, and Ella.
Donations in his memory may be made to the Gideon Memorial Bible Plan, P.O. Box 540, Somerset, KY 42502; and Hospice of Lake Cumberland, College Street.
Irving Michaels Jr., chairman of the board and president of Irving Michaels & Co., Conn., passed away in October 2003. Michaels was a 24 Karat Club member and past president of the Boston Jewelers Club. He received the distinguished Shipley Award in 1985 for his untiring commitment to AGS standards and to increasing AGS membership. Michaels is survived by his wife, Zee, and sons Paul, Mark, and Irving III.