Grandpa John came to the U.S. from Kiev, UKR in 1908. He started the business that bears our name with A. Gabel in Hopelawn, NJ. In 1919 they dissolved the partnership and we moved three blocks over and started Shevchenko Monumental Works where we still are today.
John had four children (Phil, Ann, John, and Nick) all who worked the business from an early age. When Grandpa passed away in 1946, Phil and Nick ran the business after the depression. They put all of their heart and soul into the business being proud of their family name.
As time passed, they expanded the business by increasing their display and closing off their old drafty building.
Grandma would not only cook for her sons, she would be out there moving stones and helping out the best that she could. Ann married Mike Solovey in 1947 and moved into a house two blocks from the shop.
Mike, an army veteran and an extremely good worker began working part time with the business until he passed away in 1972. Phil and Nick stayed “married” to their business, but Nick soon found his second love Susan.
They were married in 1958. Phil and Nick bought out a monument company in Fords where Nick and Susan raised their family. They used this yard as a display only.
Nick and Sue had four children. Judy, Nick Jr. Jim, and Cindi all of whom began working the business at an early age. Phil passed away in 1977. Nick and Family then moved into Grandma’s house next to the shop.
Nick soon hired an older gentleman named Steve who had worked at two other monument companies (such as Gabel Monuments, A. Gabel’s son’s business) for many years. He loved our family and soon began to work with us full time.
With Steve leaving Gabel, and Ed’s business growing, Ed had us carve his stone at our modern shop. (Did history just repeat itself?)
History repeated itself as Judy married Wayne Peterson in 1982 and also moved into the house next to the Fords display. Wayne soon began to work with the family.
Throughout the years many cousins, friends, and family have come to work with us part time. Nick built up the business with the help of his family by modernizing with new equipment. He soon bought out a fellow competitor in Perth Amboy.
Nick became NJ’s first Certified Memorialist (an elite and honored title in the monument industry). He used his knowledge to design unique monuments and drilled his knowledge into Wayne and Nick Jr. It had to be done right. 99% was not good enough.
Steve taught Nick Jr. and Wayne all of what he knew about monument crafting. Sadly, Steve passed away suddenly in 1988 leaving us with one less craftsman. The family soon purchased a computerized design program to help with the workload. Nick Jr. was trained and quickly loaded our designs into the system. Believe this? From iron wheeled hand trucks to computers!
Ed Gabel, a true craftsman of many years would often visit and supervise the production of his stones. During this time he shared with us his knowledge of stone crafting. We all became one happy family and I doubt any company has as many years of expertise, knowledge, and skills under one roof.
As Nick became ill from years of breathing in stone dust he continued to drill into us his beliefs and standards which made him successful. He passed away March 19, 1999.
In February of 2020, Lonnie and Catherina Vargas took over Shevchenko Monuments, and have grown the company to a team of six over the years.
Thank you for taking the time to visit our site. We hope that you’ve enjoyed reading about our business and its history.