On Friday, March 24th, I woke up to a slightly different world.
Avo Uvezian had passed away in the early hours and it was only a matter of time before the word would spread throughout the industry.
During these few hours, perhaps some of loneliness, several things occurred to me.
First off was the obvious. I had lost a good friend.
Not that it matters, but to give context to these thoughts, I have had the pleasure of knowing and smoking with Avo for nearly two decades. In that time, week after week, you certainly get to know someone.
People you spend that much time with sometimes go from being acquaintances to friends, friends to colleagues, and colleagues to family. Avo certainly was the latter.
He encouraged me to start a cigar brand, introduced me to people in the industry, and was a travel companion of perpetual energy. He would nonstop tease me about my needing to cut my hair and read more books (of his choice).
The depth of Avo went well beyond the iconic brand that graced the shelves of U.S. cigar shops even before Davidoff itself.
For most people that met Avo, his cigars paved the way for the introduction to the man himself.
Avo never met a stranger and was fluent in numerous languages.
Many a day we would sit on the sidewalk smoking cigars and someone would walk up to Avo speaking a foreign language. Avo would not only greet them in their native tongue but, in all likelihood, be telling them jokes within minutes while reaching into his familiar personal leather humidor for a cigar to share. Each cigar given would be carefully hand-picked as Avo assessed the individual.
Avo would share stories of his life which was filled with incredible journeys and chance encounters. Despite hearing many of the stories countless times, I would never tire of him telling them again and again. I also never tire of sharing them with others.
Other times we would sit in silence for five to ten minutes at a time.
For me, those may have been moments of personal reflection or ‘meditation.’ For Avo, his brain was always on fire. After the prolonged quiet moment, he would turn to me and say, “Fred, you need to…” or “Fred, I have an idea…”
He never stopped thinking. He never stopped creating. His brain was like none I had ever seen.
Just this past Wednesday Avo turned 91. We had our annual gathering of roughly a dozen of his closest friends. It was a celebration of Avo’s life.
We all have stories of the man that lead an extraordinary life. We laughed, sometimes until there were tears in our eyes, and of course smoked Avo cigars.
We often joked Avo would outlive us all. When I look at his legacy, I realize he did.
Avo Uvezian, March 22, 1926 – March 24, 2017+
I will miss you my friend.
Nomad Cigar Company