EAST MEREDITH – Geraldine Janet (Dockery) Kassler, 86, who lived in East Meredith for more than two decades while her husband taught at SUNY Oneonta, passed away peacefully in the home of her family.
On March 28, 1929, Gerri was born in Detroit, Michigan. Her parents, Pauline and Emmitt Dockery, eventually moved the family to Crutchfield, Ky., where her father worked for the railroad.
She met the man who would be her husband, Edward G. Kassler, in New York City. It was here that they began their 64 years of marriage and started raising a family, before moving to Carbondale, Pa., and then to East Meredith. Later in life, she resided in Homestead, Fla., and Temple, Texas.
She was a gifted singer who received a scholarship to the Julliard School of Music at the age of 16. Although she performed at the Metropolitan Opera as a student, and was proud of having entertained the troops during World War II as part of the USO, it was singing during church services that brought her lifelong happiness.
Gerri was a constant and active member of her church, teaching Sunday School Classes at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, formerly located in Davenport Center, and helping in the soup kitchen at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Homestead. She continued to give of herself to the community by volunteering at the tourist center in Homestead, as well.
Over the course of her life, her great love of travel would lead her to many places. This included trips to the Dakotas to explore the Native American culture that comprised part of her own heritage, on a special voyage to the Holy Land for her 40th Wedding Anniversary and on a second honeymoon throughout the Southwest. As well as enjoying one of her favorite places in Michigan, Mackinaw Island. Due to her passion to better understand the history of the United States, she visited countless sites of Civil War Battles and—shortly before she passed—she was able to fulfill her dream of visiting The Alamo. She was also known to be an outstanding cook, weaving the Hungarian cuisine she learned to prepare from Ed’s mother with the southern traditions of her youth. Most importantly, she would never allow family nor guest to leave her home hungry.
Gerri is survived by her children, Geri McCulley (John Paradis) of Oneonta, Joseph Kassler (Dotty) of Tonawanda, Gail Stone (Keith) of Temple, Texas, Lori Holstein (Greg) of Evergreen, Colo. and Celeste Kassler of Moscow, Idaho. Her grandchildren are Erin McCulley-Davis, Sean McCulley, Katy Kassler, Christopher Cunningham, Christy Kassler, Chase Stone, Jason Plaskon and a great grandson, Emmett Kassler. She is also survived by her sister, Barbara Anderud, as well as a wealth of family in Michigan and the many friends she considered to be part of her family.
She was preceded in death by her daughter Deanna Kassler on Nov. 30, 2007, her husband Edward G. Kassler, a SUNY Oneonta professor emeriti, on March 7, 2011, as well as four sisters and two brothers.
Calling hours will be 7-9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6, at the Lewis, Hurley & Pietrobono Funeral Home, 51 Dietz St., Oneonta.
A Funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 7, at St Mary’s Catholic Church, 39 Walnut St., Oneonta. Burial services immediately to follow at East Meredith Cemetery.
As Gerri adored being surrounded by and growing beautiful flowers, they are most welcome. For those wishing to make a donation in her name, she was a supporter of and so admired the Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675.
Expression of sympathy may be sent to, www.lhpfuneralhome.com