ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of our beloved father, brother, uncle, son, friend, colleague and all-around great guy, Gerry Cashion. Gerry fought the good fight - and was his jolly old self right up until the end. As he liked to say in recent weeks, he "went on to his last, greatest adventure" in the early hours of Saturday, July 27th, holding hands with his daughter Dylan. 

He will be remembered with love and laughter - and we welcome you all to add stories and photos of your times and adventures with Gerry. Thank you in advance for visiting and sharing.

May we all live as he lived - with a sense of adventure, a sense of duty, a sense of humor, a sense of right and wrong and surrounded by love, beauty and music.
Posted by Rod Lahay on January 8, 2020
It was so wonderful sharing 12 different birthdays with Gerry and Barbara and Fitz, mostly in Kenya, one year in Aberdeen, twice in Florida and a great Florida/Barbados trip. And of course with Dylan and our wonderful sheltie dog - 'Safari.'  Gerry always showed such character and love. He always was the epitome of being a family man, and we loved his humour and yearly antics - with that smile and looking over his glasses at our return, fun spirited comments. I always felt part of his family and he again welcomed me even in 2014, 2018 and a very short visit in 2019.  No matter what the difficult time he suffered, he always knew the value of being kind and generous and never hurtful.  What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply, becomes a part of us. I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus on the brightest. I do not judge the universe, and exemplify the words of Gerry that, "hate is so consuming." 
Happy Birthday on the other side Gerry, and have an 'Old Turkey' on me!  Rod Lahay, in Ottawa, Canada
Posted by Betty Bruquetas on January 7, 2020
To a great human being! Glad to have known you, Gerry! You left your mark and we're the better for it! Happy Birthday up there in the heavens!
Posted by Angela Crilly on November 9, 2019
Dylan and Fitz, I was so sorry to hear about your Dad. I know the past few years were very difficult for all of you. I am so happy we were able to visit Gerry in March of 2018. It was the first time we had met you, Dylan, and we were so impressed by the care and love you and Fitz were giving your Dad. Little did we know that my husband John, Sam and Gerry would all be gone within a very short time. John always said Gerry was his oldest friend. They went to kindergarten together, then St. Mary's and Loyola Academy. John was always so happy to see your Dad throughout the years. I can still remember the first time I met Gerry in 1962 and I always enjoyed John's stories of their escapades together! May all your wonderful memories of your Dad eventually ease the pain of your loss. Both of you are in my thoughts and prayers, Dylan and Fitz. All my best, Angela Crilly
Posted by Betty Bruquetas on September 15, 2019
Gerry was part of our RPCV Group of the Gulf Coast of Florida. Gerry was the type of person you like instantly because of his deep humanity, keen intellect, and unpretentiousness. He was so genuine despite being such a highly accomplished person. We'll miss his easy camaraderie and the inspiration he gave our group! We know you're doing some good work in heaven, Gerry! We love you! Your RPCVGCF fellow volunteers and friends.
Posted by John Lynch on September 9, 2019
I met Gerry about 10 years ago in the Venice Sailing Squadron and he has been a good friend since. He was a good sailor and an active and valuable member of VSS as well as (almost) always being being quite diplomatic, of course. Over the past couple of years during his illness I've visited him quite a bit and learned to admire his spunk and good humor in facing his difficulties. I offer my condolences to Dylan and Fitz.

Gerry will be missed by the sailing community of Venice for a long time.
Posted by John Uniack Davis on August 28, 2019
Jennifer and I and our kids knew Gerry in Madagascar when he was interim USAID Mission Director there and quickly became a pillar of the community, both professionally and socially. He was a great example of a devoted, well-trained, intellectually-curious development professional, and always generous about sharing his experience and expertise. And his house was a social hub -- My kids appreciated the fact that they were always welcome at his pool. Gerry was kind, jovial, boisterous, and larger than life -- my son Zac thought he was a pirate!

Our deepest condolences to all of Gerry's friends and family -- He was one of a kind and will be deeply missed.

Posted by Lewis Lucke on August 27, 2019
Gerry was a dear friend since when my new wife and I ran into him at the Bamako airport when we arrived for our first overseas assignment. Since no one was sent from the mission to pick us up, we rode into town with Gerry who I discovered was soon to be my office-mate. He was the perfect person to meet first in Mali and we remained close, talking up until two weeks before he passed. I learned so much more about Mali, development and Africa from Gerry than I could ever express. I wrote a book about Mali in 1999 and it is as much about Gerry as anything else. We were colleagues, fast friends, sailing buddies but most of all dear friends. All the good comments from others about his spirit, humor, wisdom and Irish pride are all true. I will never forget him holding court a la Africaine with groups of Malians gathered at his house in Bamako seeking his counsel and joyfully singing "Smokey Joe's Cafe" to an assembled crowd of revelers using an inverted beer bottle as his microphone. Rest in peace, my friend...and pick us up again on the other side.
Posted by Joe Carvalho on August 26, 2019
Thanks Gerry for all the good meals, good drinks, good laughs, good times. You were a great host, always welcoming and entertaining!! I always enjoyed your spirited company!! You lived a very colorful and adventuresome life, my hat is off to you, you lived well! Rest in peace & see you on the other side… cheers!
Posted by Niels Marquardt on August 24, 2019
Judi and I first met Gerry when he volunteered to come run the USAID mission in Madagascar, which had suddenly become vacant. He was already long retired, and it seemed he had come to help out more out of love and interest than anything else. We were with him there for less than a year, not long, but long enough to see many of his great qualities. He became the "Dean" of our community, in terms of both life and professional experience, and his rich background showed in all he said and did -- and how he did it. Even in disagreement, Gerry always found a way to be fun, funny, and pleasant. I can still hear him laughing. And it is only since he passed away that I have truly understood what a great man he was, what a rich experience he brought to us in Madagascar, and why we were so blessed to have him then. I want to thank Dylan and Fitz for all their loving efforts to share more about Gerry now than some of us knew during his life.  We too shall miss him greatly, but we also know that he squeezed everything out of life that it had to offer. 
Posted by Joseph Brady on August 23, 2019
I don’t have a picture of it except in my mind and it is of Gerry sitting on the ground at the Kabala PCV house. In his short pants and work boots, he is greasy and engaged in replacing wheel bearings in his pale green Chevy truck. The 500 page Chevy repair manual is open at his feet next to the Star Beer, of course. To me this repair job was a daunting task and I was really impressed with Gerry's mechanical skill. For everyone, Gerry always had a mile wide, infectious grin. As a third year Peace Corps, Gerry helped newbie CD'ers in Kabala understand their role and the politics at play. I am grateful to Barbara, a wonderful person, who graciously made me a sandwich even though my visit to Gerry and Barbara’s house in Makeni was unannounced.
Posted by Douglas Ferrier on August 22, 2019
I remember Gerry from Kabala with Matt and Kent, he was a great mentor to new volunteers. Like Kent, I also shared more than a few Star beers with him.
Posted by Oumou Anderson on August 22, 2019
I am very saddened as Gerry was not just a friend but a brother to me. I knew Gerry many years ago in Bamako in the 1980's.
Throughout the years I made many American friends. Some of them became family to me and Gerry was one of them and indeed a special friend and brother. He was kind and generous and love you for who you are.
He will forever be missed by all who knew him. He was a simple, caring and loving person of great personality. I loved talking and laughing with him.
The people of Kolokani and all Mali will forever be grateful to you.
Gerry, "Allah Ka hina illa. Ki dayoro sumaya"
Posted by Jack McCarthy on August 22, 2019
An old Irish proverb, "There are good ships, and wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be." Whoever coined that must have been thinking of Gerry. He was rich in friendships and many the lucky one got to share it in a cockpit on the sea.

I first met Gerry in Bamako as a lowly PC Volunteer. It didn't matter if you were an Ambassador or a PCV, a Gov't Minister or a paysan, Gerry treated everyone the same- with thoughtfulness, kindness and respect.

I once had the 'honor' to be aboard one of his legendary Heinekin Regattas. We didn't have any podium finishes but had the time of our lives. His presence lit up everyone else's life. That irrepressible optimism was contagious and throw in a couple of 'Tullamore Dews' and you were in for a command performance.

Christopher Hichens once said, "There's a book in most of us, but in most cases that's where it should stay." Not so for Gerry. I wish he'd written that book, about his life and his perspective on life. It would have been a wonderful reference to keep close to the bedside. But we still have the memories, all those glorious memories.
Posted by Dave Crandall on August 21, 2019
I love Gerry! He was like a big brother to me in Mali, West Africa, while we were both living there. He was living with Barbara in a black magic chief's village collecting information for his doctorate while I was in the Peace Corps there from 1974-76'. During that time he taught me how to sing "Smokey Joe's Cafe" which I have sung many times for friends and family since!

One time when I visited Gerry and Barbara a man, who the black magic chief had abandoned, asked us to take him home to die with his family. It was "just a little way down the road" he said, so we all jumped in my land rover and started off down the road. What was after many hours "just down the road" we arrived at the man's village in the pitch black of night! His family was well pleased to see him but I honestly don't know if we would have carried out that "good deed" had we known how far "just a little way down the road really was"! LOL In retrospect I'm glad we took that journey as it gave me more time to spend with Gerry and Barbara!

May God continue to hold you in His hands my friend! Teach those angels the chorus to "Smokey Joe's" for when we sing it together again in Heaven!

Since we are both sailors I find this not only comforting but fitting:

I Am Standing Upon The Seashore
I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white
sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.


She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until at length
she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come
to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says;
"There, she is gone!"

"Gone where?"
Gone from my sight. That is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull
and spar as she was when she left my side
and she is just as able to bear her
load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone
at my side says, "There, she is gone!"
There are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout;
"Here she comes!"
And that is dying.

You are missed Brother!
Posted by Kent Winchester on August 21, 2019
I first remember Gerry, giving us new Community Development trainees a wonderful lecture on Sierra Leonean politics and history at Njala University.
During his third year of Peace Corps service, Gerry and Barbara lived in Makeni. Gerry was the general contractor building the Agricultural Officer's home, further north in Kabala. Ahhhh...the fun times at LKs bar, drinking Star Beer. I have a fond memory listening to Gerry play the guitar at the Kabala rest house..singing "put on your red dress baby...we're going out tonight." I occasionally still attempt to sing that song and recall our fun times together. We touched base a final time in Washington DC, following the Peace Corps...another wonderful reunion and lasting Cashion Adventure. You are missed! My heart goes out to you and your family. Kent Winchester
Posted by Barbara Dwyer on August 21, 2019
I knew Gerry through my husband, Matt Dwyer, a fellow Peace Corps volunteer. After Peace Corps when Matt was finished with his posting in El Paso with the Army, he and Gerry took a road trip from El Paso to Monterey, Matt's next posting, and went through the Joshua Tree National Park. There was a third member to this trip that was a forester and fellow Peace Corps volunteer who enriched the visit for both Matt and Gerry. It was one of Matt's fondest memories and he spoke of it often over the years. 
Posted by Hannah Baldwin on August 20, 2019
Gerry and Barbara shared Grad school at Indiana University with Felipe and I. Oh the memories — the drumming— the pig roasts — and the fine research and deep knowledge of Bambara culture! 

Gerry — your absence is deeply felt!
Posted by Patrick O'Leary on August 20, 2019
Saddened to learn of Gerry's passing. i have fond memories of a stellar guy from my time with and around him and other cohorts in Makeni, Bombali and Tonkolili. Many good times from years ago when all of us were gradually become someone else than the person who first landed at Lungi and took the ferry to Freetown. Patrick.
Posted by Jennifer Galeria on August 20, 2019
Three years in SIerra Leone with the Peace Corps, your wedding in Makeni, our wedding in Kent, UK and many years since. We have shared some moments n our lives. I am glad you are at rest now but will miss your optimism and positive view of life. Love you, Gerry. Jen Galeria
Not to be forgotten: the day you bought the famous jaguar in England & your infamous stock broker days in San Francisco. We shared some good ones,,,your forever buddy, Bob.
Posted by Marc Savard on August 16, 2019
First met Gerry in 1954 as Freshmen at Loyola Academy, Chicago IL. Became good friends and enjoyed social life. Our lives then followed different directions through undergrad and grad schools with Gerry earning his doctorate degree and achieving great success in our country's foreign service in Africa. Quite by chance we reconnected in the Venice,FL area having relocated during retirement. For the past several years, Gerry showed me and my wife Julie and other friends, and his wonderful daughter Dylan and son "Fitz", enormous courage during a long and painful illness. We visited Gerry frequently and will always remember his strong and positive disposition. We will never forget him.
Posted by MIki Lang on August 16, 2019
Gerry was an interesting character when I first met him in Bamako, Mali, because he was an anthropologist and as such had a different and unique insight into the local tribes. Our paths next crossed again at a boat excursion of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers here in Sarasota. There I learned that we had both served in Sierra Leone, both graduated from Indiana University, both had Series 7 licenses and both loved to sail. Gerry had a larger than life energy and created two wonderful offspring who cared for him until the end. My condolences to you both!
Posted by Thomas Fallon on August 14, 2019
I had the opportunity to work with Gerry in Barbados and Madagascar. He was a wonderful work colleague and friend. I thoroughly enjoyed knowing him and will miss visiting him on my future visits to Florida. Patty and I send our sincere condolences to all the Cashion family. 
Posted by Rolf Hahn on August 14, 2019
It's sad for me to see Gerry gone. We both shared a love for sailing, That's how we met. In my view, he was a genuine man of depth with solid common sense. I clearly remember one time, going to his boat to replace a bilge water pump only to find out later I replaced it on the wrong boat. We both chuckled on this one for a while. Most of all, I will miss his sound advice. I now wish him the best in this, his "last greatest adventure"
Posted by Laura Slobey on August 13, 2019
Although Gerry and I both had long careers in USAID, I never had the opportunity to work with him and really didn’t get to know him until we connected in Florida.  Gerry was instrumental in bringing people together and introduced my husband and I, Gregg Wiitala, to a number of USAID colleagues. Gerry’s larger than life personality and his interest in everybody and everything made you feel special. We visited him at home after he couldn’t get out, and even then, he made sure we were comfortable, had the best drinks in our hand, and were there in time for pre-recorded sports events. Gregg and I had fun at Gerry’s sharing our experiences and bashing the bureaucracy. Gerry’s interest in people and cultures, as well as his sharp intellect and inclusive management style, made him a particularly successful development specialist. He devoted his life to making the world a better place and helping those in need in remote corners of the globe.  I am eternally grateful for having known Gerry and enjoying his camaraderie and friendship. Here’s to you Dylan, Gerry’s favorite daughter! 
Posted by Vincent Daley on August 13, 2019
GERRY WAS A GREAT CLASSMATE @ LA "the 1st class" 
Posted by Jen Peterson on August 13, 2019
We met Gerry in Madagascar, and enjoyed his cultural sensitivity (undoutbedly formed during his Peace Corps experience!), his joie de vie (same!), and his intellectual curiosity and compassion. A great father, friend and development professional, who will be greatly missed. I feel the need to develop a limerick in Gerry's honor. I don't know why - it just seems the right thing to do! I am working on it.... Cheers to Gerry and his next great adventure, and hugs to his family and friends.
Posted by Steven Furst on August 13, 2019
I’ll never forget the first time I ‘met’ Gerry. I had met him already but this was the first time I really got to know him. I was visiting my folks who were already in Mali and living next door to Gerry and Barbara. I think Barbara was pregnant with Dylan at the time. One day he yelled over the wall, ‘Hey Steve, let’s go for a ride’. I thought, ‘Wow, this is great!’ I was a wide-eyed college student looking to break into the game and Gerry was already a seasoned ‘development guy’, anthropologist and Mali hand. So we jumped in his Jeep. No doors, no top, which I thought was so cool. We headed out of town and just cruised around the villages on the outskirts of Bamako, Gerry regaling me with his stories and imparting his wisdom, stopping here and there for a beer and grilled sagasogo or just to chat with people. Of course in his fluent Bambara. And of course everyone loved talking to him. He was in his element. That voice. That beard, already salt ‘n’ pepper. That presence. I was star-struck. I didn’t know then that we would end up together for a few years in Mali, become good friends, and stay connected for life. So many more great times and great stories. But even with the many years of shared history, whenever I think of Gerry I think of that first day and the impression he made.
Posted by Wayne Walther on August 12, 2019
I knew Gerry only briefly during our Peace Corps training in Hampton VA in 1965. While we were in Sierra Leone, we lived at opposite ends of the country and did not see each other much. But once while training, we had gone to Virginia Beach and ended up in a carnival somewhere. He and I happened to ride the roller coaster together (along with others, I'm sure.) I had never been on a roller coaster before because I was a farm boy from West Texas, and roller coasters are pretty rare out there. So of course I was terrified. Gerry could easily have mocked my fear (as young men do), but instead, he made some kind of joke and got me laughing, and hence eased a terrifying moment. I think that indicates his general good humor and graciousness. I haven't thought about that for years, and now it makes me grateful that I had known him however briefly. Wayne Walther, Lockhart, Texas
Posted by Tracy Dexter on August 12, 2019
I don't imagine either Gerry or Barbara would remember me but I arrived in Burundi to work with AFricare on a USAID funded project in 1999. That was my first experience as a USAID partner and each one of them made it so much easier and meaningful. Perhaps Barbara remembers the Botanika restaurant/hotel in Bujumbura.
Keep blessing us Gerry!
Posted by Daniel Cashion on August 9, 2019
My uncle Gerry was a great human. Interesting, jovial, smart, fun. The guy had it all. From the early days of visiting his family on the farm in Indiana, to him giving me a car he wasn't using while in college, he was always a gentleman.

He will be missed, but more importantly he will be remembered. Remembered as a great father and a great friend. I will never forget him and I hope that I be as well liked by so many when it is my time to go. Miss you Gerry.
Posted by Michael Trott on August 9, 2019
Wendy and I want to express our deepest condolences to the family. It was with great sadness that we received the news of Gerry's passing. He and Barbara were wonderful friends from our Kenya days together.  Our family was just in Kenya to include a couple days in Nairobi doing a trip down memory lane. We went to Village Market as it was a famous hangout of the USAID group. TGIF but on Thursdays usually as we could not wait till Friday, and at times when things were really tough, on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Wendy even got a beer mug with our Gerry's, Steve's and my name.  It was wonderful to see that the food court area was still there and the place that used to be German point though now by another name.  As difficult as those times were, they were also wonderful due to all the exceptional people we had at the mission and of course Beautiful Kenya.  Our trips together to Ol Pajeta will never be forgotten. I am afraid that today none of us could afford the whole house as we did back then.
We last saw Gerry in Bangkok on his way to East Timor. It was a short but wonderful visit. And more lately I was glad to say we stayed in touch. In fact i was just asking my daughter on the day we received the news to give me a picture she took of Village market to send to him.  Well now I think he can see for himself.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time.  But indeed, he had a life to be celebrated.  with our highest regards, mike and wendy trott

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Rod Lahay on January 8, 2020
It was so wonderful sharing 12 different birthdays with Gerry and Barbara and Fitz, mostly in Kenya, one year in Aberdeen, twice in Florida and a great Florida/Barbados trip. And of course with Dylan and our wonderful sheltie dog - 'Safari.'  Gerry always showed such character and love. He always was the epitome of being a family man, and we loved his humour and yearly antics - with that smile and looking over his glasses at our return, fun spirited comments. I always felt part of his family and he again welcomed me even in 2014, 2018 and a very short visit in 2019.  No matter what the difficult time he suffered, he always knew the value of being kind and generous and never hurtful.  What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply, becomes a part of us. I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus on the brightest. I do not judge the universe, and exemplify the words of Gerry that, "hate is so consuming." 
Happy Birthday on the other side Gerry, and have an 'Old Turkey' on me!  Rod Lahay, in Ottawa, Canada
Posted by Betty Bruquetas on January 7, 2020
To a great human being! Glad to have known you, Gerry! You left your mark and we're the better for it! Happy Birthday up there in the heavens!
Posted by Angela Crilly on November 9, 2019
Dylan and Fitz, I was so sorry to hear about your Dad. I know the past few years were very difficult for all of you. I am so happy we were able to visit Gerry in March of 2018. It was the first time we had met you, Dylan, and we were so impressed by the care and love you and Fitz were giving your Dad. Little did we know that my husband John, Sam and Gerry would all be gone within a very short time. John always said Gerry was his oldest friend. They went to kindergarten together, then St. Mary's and Loyola Academy. John was always so happy to see your Dad throughout the years. I can still remember the first time I met Gerry in 1962 and I always enjoyed John's stories of their escapades together! May all your wonderful memories of your Dad eventually ease the pain of your loss. Both of you are in my thoughts and prayers, Dylan and Fitz. All my best, Angela Crilly
his Life
Gerald (“Gerry”) Anthony Cashion was born January 7, 1941 in Chicago, Illinois, the second of four sons of John Bernard and Cicely (Delany) Cashion. He attended Loyola Academy, a Jesuit college preparatory school, then went on to Loyola University, graduating in 1965 with a B.A. in English Literature and Political Science. In 1984 he received a PhD in African Folklore from Indiana University following nine years of field research on Bambara and Malinke hunters.

Inspired by John F. Kennedy’s call to service, Gerry began his development career in 1965 with Peace Corps Sierra Leone, assigned to Makeni as a rural development volunteer. In 1967 he met and married fellow volunteer Barbara Warren and they extended for a third year of service.

The couple returned to Chicago in 1968, where Gerry became a stock broker with Dean Witter & Co. However, the pull of West Africa proved stronger than that of the trading floor, and, in the mid-1970s he and Barbara enrolled at Indiana University to pursue doctoral degrees in African studies. After required graduate courses at IU they were awarded research grants to study and work in Mali and were soon on their way.

Splitting time between a mud hut in the village of Kabaya and a tiny apartment in Bamako, Gerry—ever interested in how and why people did what they did—quickly absorbed Malian culture and languages. His unique knowledge and understanding of rural life came to USAID/Mali’s attention. He so impressed Mission staff with a social soundness analysis that he was immediately hired on contract as the Mission anthropologist. Gerry loved traveling to the bush and connecting with people, bringing back to USAID insights into development issues others had not seen, significantly improving project designs. In 1985, his expertise and achievements led to the offer of a USAID/Washington direct hire position as a project development officer and social science analyst in the Bureau for Africa. Thus, began his long career with the Agency.

Gerry subsequently served as a project development officer with USAID/Nigeria, then with the USAID Regional Development Office for the Caribbean in Bridgetown, Barbados. He returned to Washington to serve as desk officer for Madagascar and the Seychelles in the Office of East African Affairs, then worked as supervisory project development officer in the Bureau for Africa’s Development Planning Office.

In 1995, Gerry and family returned overseas to Rabat, Morocco, where he headed USAID/Morocco’s Project Development Office. In 1999, he was assigned to the Regional USAID Office (REDSO/ESA) in Nairobi, Kenya, where he headed the Non-Presence Country Program. There, he led the design and implementation of complex transition programs for southern Sudan, Somalia and Burundi, all emerging from devastating civil wars.

In 2001, Gerry was tapped to be Deputy Regional Director for REDSO/ESA, leading to his promotion to the rank of Counselor in the Senior Foreign Service in 2003. He was then assigned to Gaborone, Botswana as Mission Director for USAID’s Regional Center for Southern Africa (RCSA).He headed the office until 2006, reaching mandatory retirement age. Despite a diagnosis of chronic leukemia in that year, Gerry continued to serve the Agency under temporary appointments in 2007 and 2008, as Mission Director in USAID/East Timor and USAID/Madagascar, respectively.

Gerry was a colorful, joyful, larger-than-life personality. He had an uncanny gift for memorizing everyone’s names, remembering them even months after a first meeting. “There’s nothing sweeter than hearing your own name on the lips of another person,” he’d say. He was generous in spirit and loved entertaining friends and family, holding court at the head of a perfectly-set table, laughing, throwing out thought-provoking questions and telling stories, while assembled diners downed copious meals.

He reveled in his Irish ancestry. He once said of a friend’s sister, who’d just lost her husband of 45 years (a Dr. Logan, professor at the University of Tennessee): “She’s a lucky woman, she is!” When asked how he could possibly say that, given her grief over her husband’s recent demise, Gerry replied, with a twinkle in his eye: “Well, for 45 years she was married to a PhD anthropologist and an Irishman! You can’t get any luckier than that!” Gerry was also known to enjoy a wee dram of spirits, once performing a lively Irish jig on top of a table at the Irish Ball in Nairobi.

Gerry was a lifelong sailor, spending some of his happiest moments on the sea at the helm of his O’Day 28, Irish Wake. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of the art and science of sailing, knowing a well-trimmed mainsail from an over-trimmed one, sensing the subtle shifts of wind and currents and plotting a course accordingly. For several years he invited friends to the Caribbean to compete in the Heineken Regatta. More recently, he was an active officer and member of the Venice Sailing Squadron, entering weekly races and regional regattas with his son, Fitz.

Gerry was multi-faceted: ever curious about and interested in many things. He loved classical jazz, the blues, and 1950s rock and roll. He played harmonica, guitar and drums, occasionally jamming with other musicians. For years he would don a heavy Santa suit (even in Africa) and delight children and their parents with his jolly St. Nick routine. He had a keen eye for fine West African art, amassing a large collection of rare pieces. He accumulated a number of model square rigger ships, displaying them in glass cases around his home, along with nautically-themed oil paintings. Above all, Gerry collected friends: a gregarious Irishman to the end.

Gerry passed away peacefully July 27, 2019 at his home in Venice, Florida, after a courageous battle with peripheral vascular disease and leukemia. His daughter, Dylan and son, Fitz were by his side throughout his illness until the end. He was 78 years old.

As the Irish blessing goes, “May God hold you in the palm of his hand, Gerry.”

Gerry Cashion was preceded in death by his brothers Joe and James. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Barbara Cashion, of Aberdeen, Washington; a daughter, Dylan Cashion, and a son, Fitzgerald Cashion of Venice, Florida; a brother, John B. (Mary Ann) Cashion of Chicago, Illinois; loving in-laws, cousins, numerous nieces and nephews, and a host of life-long friends.

A celebration of life will be held at a future date, to be announced.

Contributions to his memory may be made to the following grassroots organizations that help the people of Mali: African Sky (Africansky.org) ECOVA Mali (Ecovamali.org) and Muso (Musohealth.org).



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Let your hopes, not your hurts - shape your future

Shared by Rod Lahay on September 28, 2019
I first met Gerry on a flight to Rabat, Morocco in 1999 with Dylan.  I was so lucky, as Dylan's boy friend then, to visit Gerry and Barb and Fitz in Morocco for an 8 day visit.   Both of them were classy parents, always kind and generous to me.  I was so grateful while I visited them in Rabat, Morocco for that short visit, and later on for 12 years when Dylan and I as a married couple, spent most of our Christmases in Kenya, Africa, Aberdeen and finally in Florida.  I was again grateful to be part of your family, when Dylan and I travelled extensively throughout most of Kenya and to other parts of the world over those great years.  You and I always interacted with a caring friendship.  It was always a pleasure to join the Cashions in fun and in difficult times in Kenya, Florida, Ottawa  and Aberdeen, Washington State.  It was fun and exciting meeting the Cashions at the many Chicago weddings, and a wonderful event at your Brother Jim's Celebration Of Life with his Family in Miami.  It was really enjoyable to spend private time visiting with you and Fitz in Florida during 2014, and with a quick visit in 2018.   We spent some quiet times during this year, privately remininsing about our 12 years at Christmas in Kenya, Barbados, and in Florida.  It was a pleasure to interact once again with you on the phone, when I assisted Dylan, and planned her actual transport truck move, from Ottawa to Florida, over 8 weeks, from September to November of 2016.    Thanks Gerry for being here for me in tough times, and for the love and caring attitude that you showed both my Sheltie dog - SAFARI and I, when we were together in Ottawa and Florida.  That was such an interesting trip that you and Dylan and Fitz and I did when we went to Barbados. It was wonderful for the three of you, to relive those years that you lived there, and for me to see all your favourite places and your home.     Dylan and I also enjoyed your visit with Fitz in 2011 here in Ottawa.   That year was tough on you emotionally - but we worked through it with kindness.  Safari still has your manatee to play with - unfortunately he is now blind and my great friends here,  give back to him in the spirt of love - that you too, always did.  I am fulfilling your suggestion earlier this year, that I write my final words to you - here in this book.   Thank you for giving me the privilege as a kind Gentleman.   And it was seriously "Human" for you to call me around my birthday this year in February.  It was a most surprising call.  And even though you laughingly said that you, "did not have permission," your call was so dearly appreciated. I have deeply missed the same opportunity.   One of the many things that sticks in my mind, was the fact that you ALWAYS remembered your family on birthdays or anniversaries, no matter if you were in the USA or thousands of miles away in Kenya or East Timor or Botswana. Flowers and gifts and cards - always arrived on time.   You never missed your mark as a great Family Man. You were the epitome of positive thinking, and painting a picture of bright and happy expectations, which resulted in a condition conducive to your goals.  Your words of wisdom always showed you had a great conscience and strength of 'Character,'  with your ability to overcome resentment, to hide hurt feelings and to forgive quickly.  God Bless you Gerry, and once again,  my condolences to your Family.  Rod and Safari in Ottawa, Canada

Remember Masa Gerry

Shared by Dave Dupras on August 22, 2019
Gerry Cashion

I first met Gerry and Barb in Bamako, Mali in 1976 when I began my job as Associate Director of Peace Corps. Connie and I were invited over to their apartment soon after we arrived. When I learned Gerry was a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone our conversation switched into Krio or Pidgin English, a language I also learned as a PCV in Cameroon. Another bond that we had was a love of cultural anthropology, he knew several of my anthropology professors. At the time Gerry and Barb were free-lance consultants working for USAID and for the national museum of Mali while doing research on their PhDs in anthropology at the University of Indiana. Gerry provide sage advice about the Mali culture while I was Peace Corps staff in Bamako and later when I returned as a contractor for Mali Livestock II.

One day I was going to take a trip to Djenne, Mali to visit some PCVs. Gerry asked for a ride there to visit an historic site being explored by the Mc Intoshes who were conducting their excavations looking for the ancient statues and evidence of various periods of occupation. I swung by the museum to pick them up for the trip in my PC issued Peugeot 404 Bache, a small pickup truck. Gerry asked if I had room for Dr. Konare who was the head of the division of Patrimonie at the museum. I said sure but that we could only fit two more in front and that he would have to ride in the back but could rotate with Gerry.No problem. It was hot and dusty on the pot hole ridden mainly laterite roads we travelled on. It was about a tough six-hour drive so we stopped for fuel, food etc. but Dr. Konare did not want to rotate in the front. That was very unusual for an African director. I dropped them off at the site and went on my way.

I forgot about the incident until years later when Gerry told me that his old boss, Alpha Oumar Konare was elected as president of Mali and after his terms were up [1992-2002], he was appointed as the head of the African Union in Addis Ababa.  

Gerry and I were part of the Bamako softball team that played against the team from Dakar, Senegal. For the West Africa hands this would have been considered WAIST 1, or West Africa Invitational Softball Tournament. In those days it was fast pitch softball and Gerry pitched the first of three games against the Dakar team. It should be noted that Dakar had a very good team and their star pitcher Rick was an exceptional athlete who could deliver a very, very fast softball consistently over the plate. The Dakar team was used to hitting fast pitch; we were not. Gerry had a very competitive streak and pitched his best but he got creamed; his pitches were like batting practice for Dakar. I remember his electric slightly devious smile becoming a grimace after every home run. Bamako was blown out. Gerry was devastated; he did not like to lose. After the game when we hosted the victorious Dakar team Gerry showed he was a good sport and got back into his usual fun-loving demeanor, enjoying the beer, Poulet Bicyclette and camaraderie with all.

We stayed in touch over the years and met each other often in the USA and other countries in Africa. At one point he was my landlord in Kenya when I lived in his house outside of Nairobi complete with local staff and two dogs. It was a beautiful, classic colonial stone house with an English garden and a fantastic view. Naturally the house was filled with African art that Gerry and Barb had purchased during their travels in East Africa; most of the art was from West Africa, and was shipped back to their shop in Washington for sale.

Gerry was a fun loving, happy and generous man who will be missed by us all. Waka fayne Masa Gerry!

Sailing onto New Horizons

Shared by Lisa Gaylord on August 20, 2019
I was in Sierra Leone when I heard that Gerry had sailed on to new waters.  It seem very appropriate to be in the country where he had begun his adventure in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1965 and where he  married to Barb in the Catholic Church in the town of Makeni,

I saw him in March and thencalled him in early July and we chatted at length about how his time in Sierra Leone - how it had changed but still remained the same more than 50 years later .  Our Peace Corps experience were formative years and Gerry told me stories about the agriculture projects that he supported   not very different than what is still being done now.

Gerry was always driven by his passion to make a difference and his love for Africa.   He lived every minute to the maximum and enjoyed life to the fullest.  As all good African fathers, he really  loved having his children close by.

In line with his love for adventure was his love for sailing. I would like to share some comforting words that my family - also sailors -  always uses to comfort the spirit in times of loss 

“ I am standing on the seashore.  A ship spreads
her white sails  to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.   I stand watching her until she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says, she is gone.  Gone where?  The loss of sight is in me , not in her. Just at the moment when some says, she is gone, there are others watching her coming.  Other voices  take up the glad shout.   Her she comes. “

And so Gerry’s  joy of life continues to be felt in each of us.   He was a special person and will be remembered fondly by many people - from all different walks of life.  

Lisa Gaylord
Peace Corps Senegal 1977-79
USAID Madagascar  1990 - 2008