Library Foundation receives estate gift from beloved Library staff member Joe Cehovin

Posted on June 19, 2019

2015 Hometown-Roots Paul-Best-photographer-3

Written by Cathy Shouse

When Joe Cehovin passed away unexpectedly in July 2018 at age 66, co-workers, patrons and the musical community at large mourned along with his family. Cehovin had worked as Music Reference Librarian at Central Library since July 1989. He worked to coordinate many concerts at Central Library through the Hometown Roots program, which offered a free music experience in a family-friendly environment.

Upon his death, he left behind a substantial amount of music CDs and LPs. “He had a vast collection of classical music CDs—hundreds and hundreds,” his brother Steve Cehovin said. In the process of dealing with his estate, his family was able to work with the Library Foundation to donate his collection to the Indy Library Store. As all proceeds from the Indy Library Store benefit Library programs, Cehovin’s legacy was able to help support the programs he loved, even after he was gone.

Joe Cehovin was the eldest of three, and family members said he always missed the hills and mountains of his home state of Pennsylvania. Steve Cehovin said, “He talked in great detail about his love of being a music reference librarian, and was proud of the collection he helped to build. It was a dream for him to become a music reference librarian in Indianapolis.”

Cehovin’s work involved all kinds of music but he had a personal preference. “Joe absolutely loved classical music! He always looked forward to listening to Pittsburgh’s full-time classical music station, WQED, when he came to visit,” Steve said. “In fact, that’s how I came to enjoy classical music over the years. ”

Cehovin played the organ, guitar and flute, and as an accomplished vocalist, he shared his talents through numerous channels: Indianapolis Men’s Choir, at weddings, and at his church, LifeJourney Church. A few members of the Indianapolis Men’s Choir, of which he was a founding member, sang at his funeral, and others attended. He was a member of the Professional Choir at the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, the Indy Winds Flute Choir and Indyvisible.

“He always had a book in his hand,” Joe’s mother Martha Cehovin said. “Now that you can get books on your cell phone or tablet, he would read off there. He was definitely, besides a musician, a book lover.”

Mike Williams, Area Resource Manager of Central Library, said, “I was always amazed by Joe’s musical talent and knowledge. A question would come his way with a partly remembered lyric or tune and he unfailingly produced the answer. I also remember his affection for Havarti cheese. We have cheese club that he always participated in. For the last several years he arranged for a guys cheese day that I also helped with. He always brought multiple varieties of Havarti cheese. I made sure we had some for this year’s cheese day in honor of Joe.”

Learn more about donating to the Indy Library Store by calling 317-275-4044 or visiting