Douglas Chester Sensel

Douglas Chester Sensel


Douglas Chester Sensel, age 73, of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., died on Friday, March 1, 2024 at Hospice of the Panhandle Inpatient Care Facility in Kearneysville, W.Va.

Born May 28, 1950 in Hagerstown, Md., he was the son of the late Chester Jacob and Dana Maris Repp Sensel.

He was a 1968 graduate of Hancock High School, earned an Associate’s Degree from Hagerstown Junior College and was a 1970 graduate of Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science.

During the 1940’s and early 1950’s, his paternal grandfather had owned and operated his family’s funeral home in Dillsburg, Pa. Doug began his career in funeral service under the direct supervision of Howard Grove at the Grove Funeral Home in Hancock. In 1972, he relocated to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and worked with the Wilhelm Funeral Home in Suitland, Md, and then was associated with Robert A. Pumphrey Funeral Homes in Bethesda and Rockville, Md. During the early 1980’s, Doug worked with the Donald M. Stein Hebrew Memorial Funeral Home in Takoma Park, Md., learning about Jewish funeral customs. Prior to moving to Berkeley Springs, he worked with Joseph Gawler’s Sons, “funeral directors to the presidents,” in Washington, D.C., both in the at-need and pre-need areas of their business.

Douglas and his wife, Ellen bought and have owned and operated Helsley-Johnson Funeral Home and Cremation Center since January 1, 1992.

He was a member of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Berkeley Springs and was a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, having served as the Junior Warden, the Senior Warden and numerous terms on the Vestry. He was a community activist in that his memberships include DeFord Lodge #88 A.F & A.M., the Berkeley Springs Lions Club, the Berkeley Springs-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce, Alderton-Dawson Squadron #60 Sons of the American Legion, the Junior Order of United American Mechanics Council #117, Loyal Order of Moose Lodge #1483, Mountain State Cruisers, the Morgan County Historical & Genealogical Society, the Morgan Arts Council, Friends of the Morgan County Library, the Humane Society of Morgan County, the Morgan County Chapter of the American Red Cross, St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church Knights of Columbus Council #12191 and was named to the Apple Butter Festival Hall of Fame. For many years, Doug has served as Treasurer of the Cacapon Resort State Park Foundation. Doug has held various offices and served on the board of directors of many of these organizations.

Doug loved antiquing, real estate investing and spending some leisure time at the Ocean City, Md. beaches.

Doug is survived by his wife of 35 years, Ellen Fulton Sensel at home, two sisters, Debra Ann Sensel of Reston, Va. and Pamela Kay Whiteside Trumpower of Hancock, two nieces, Meredith Moria Whiteside Hendershot of Warfordsburg and Amy Brooke Whiteside Damoulakis of Urbana, Md., two great nephews, John Damoulakis and Paul Hendershot and one great niece, Dana Damoulakis.

Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 8, 2024 at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 67 Liberty Street, Berkeley Springs, W.Va. with Rev. Fr. Bill Kuchinsky as celebrant. Private interment will be in St. Thomas Church Cemetery in Hancock. Family will receive friends from 2-7 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, 2024 at Helsley-Johnson Funeral Home & Cremation Center, 95 Union Street, Berkeley Springs, W.Va., where a rosary will be recited at 7 p.m.

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