Leonard A. Skovira

Leonard A. Skovira

Leonard A. Skovira, who established three area dry-cleaning establishments and was also an inventor, died May 13 of cancer at his Parkville home.

He was 94.

Mr. Skovira was born and raised in Jessup, Pa., where he graduated in 1936 from Jessup High School.

After high school, he served in the Pennsylvania National Guard and the merchant marine and then took a job in New York City working at Child's Restaurants, first as a busboy and then as a waiter and bartender.

With the outbreak of World War II, Mr. Skovira moved to Baltimore and went to work on the assembly line of the old Glenn L. Martin Co. plant in Middle River, building Martin B-26 Marauder bombers.

In 1942, he married Catherine Kostick, and after the war, he and his wife purchased a confectionery store on Fait Avenue. While his wife ran the store, he worked on the assembly line at the old Chevrolet plant on Broening Highway.

Mr. Skovira opened his first dry-cleaning establishment — Elmont Drycleaners — in the 6300 block of Eastern Ave. He later opened a second store in the 6800 block of Eastern Ave., and then on Northern Parkway in Hamilton.

He retired in 1980.

"While operating the dry-cleaning business, he also found time to develop several ideas which would improve productivity," said a son, Joseph Skovira of Raphine, Va.

"One was a template to speed the cuffing of trousers and the other was an improved machine to press trousers," his son said. "The pressing machine invention resulted in the award of a patent."

Mr. Skovira was the author of "The Flex Number System," which was about his invention of a teaching method that taught children how to count.

At his death, family members said, he was working on designing a new conveyor system.

The longtime Parkville resident loved polkas and was a regular visitor to the Polish Home.

"He was still dancing until he was 91 or 92. He continued dancing until his knees gave out," his son said.

His wife died in 1996.

Mr. Skovira was a communicant of St. Ursula Roman Catholic Church, 8801 Harford Road, Parkville, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

In addition to his son, Mr. Skovira is survived by four other sons, Mark Skovira of Bel Air, Brian Skovira of Westminster, Leonard Skovira of Parker, Colo., and Christopher Skovira of Hot Springs, Ark.; three brothers, Richard Skovira of Parkville, and Bernard Skovira and Michael Skovira, both of Jessup, Pa.; two sisters, Loretta Krieger of Massapequa, N.Y., and Florence Pilch of Ashburn, Va.; and 14 grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com