Gerald M. Chaskes
Gerald Martin Chaskes, 80, of Hagerstown, Md., died Monday, February 11, 2019 at Washington Hospital Center following a brief illness.
He leaves behind his wife of 58 years, Laura (Gordon) Chaskes; his daughter Ellen Wilcox; his son, Eric, and daughter-in-law, Constance; as well as his brother and sister-in-law, Jay and Gail Chaskes. He also leaves behind his granddaughter, Alison Berman and her husband, Joshua; his granddaughter Amber Wilcox and her fiance, Nicholas Hurson; and his granddaughter Sophia Chaskes; in addition to many close friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Alex and Minerva Chaskes. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., he lived in Rockville, Md., for over 30 years.
After retiring to Berkeley Springs, W.Va., where he lived for 20 years, Mr. Chaskes moved to Hagerstown, Md., in 2017 to be closer to his children.
He began his career as a merchant marine officer, then served in the U.S. Navy from 1962-1967, continuing his service in the U.S. Navy Reserves and retiring in 1998 with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Mr. Chaskes retired in 1994 from his work as a federal employee, most recently working for the U.S. Coast Guard, serving as the Boating Safety and Education Director for the Coast Guard Auxiliary, where he earned a Distinguished Career Service Award.
He was a Mason for over 50 years, serving in numerous leadership positions. He was a Past Master of the Deford Masonic Lodge #88. In the York Rite, he was a Knight of the York Cross of Honour, Shenandoah Priory #32, served as Past High Priest of Warm Springs Chapter #53, Royal Arch Masons; served as Past Commander of Palestine Commandery #2, Knights Templar; and was a member of the Grand Convention of Anointed High Priests of West Virginia and the York Rite College #175. In the Scottish Rite, he was a 32 Degree, Knight Commander Court of Honour, Valley of Martinsburg, Orient of WV. He also was a member of the Tall Cedars of Lebanon, Shenandoah Forest #150.
Mr. Chaskes was devoted to a life of service and was an active member of each community he lived in, doing good for individuals and organizations. During his time in Rockville, he was a long-time volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America. After retiring to Berkeley Springs, he volunteered for leadership positions in an array of community organizations, including serving as president of the Berkeley Springs Rotary Club, where he was honored as 2004-2005 Rotarian of the Year.
He tutored and mentored elementary school children for 18 years at Greenwood and Widmyer Elementary Schools, as a Morgan County Schools PASS program volunteer. He led numerous community fundraisers and service projects, including the annual Day of Caring, served as a Morgan County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Reserves member, was vice-chair of the Morgan County unit of the American Red Cross, and was active in the National Association of Retired Federal Employees.
In addition, he was an active member of the First United Methodist Church, regularly leading adult Sunday School sessions. Mr. Chaskes continued his commitment to service when he moved to Hagerstown, tutoring and mentoring children at Ruth Ann Monroe Primary School and leading adult Sunday School sessions at Otterbein UMC.
He was a member of the American Legion in Berkeley Springs and Hagerstown and the Elks Lodge in Hagerstown.
He was devoted to his wife of 58 years, Laura, and often spoke of how they met in high school.
He was most proud of his children and grandchildren, his service to his church and his nation, and his work mentoring children. He also enjoyed hunting, fishing, and gardening.
A funeral service was held Monday, February 18, 2019 at 11 a.m. at the Otterbein United Methodist Church, 108 East Franklin Street, Hagerstown, Md., with the Rev. Elizabeth Jackson officiating.
Private burial will be at the Rocky Gap Veterans Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Mr. Chaskes’s honor to Otterbein United Methodist Church Online condolences may be expressed at www.douglas fiery.com.