Brother led life marked by service and adventure in New Guinea and the States

Brother Charles (Gerard) Pashia, 1924-2012

Pashia,_Br_Gerry_for_webBrother Charles (Gerard) Pashia, 87, a Divine Word Missionary, died Tuesday, Sept. 25, in Techny, Ill.

"Brother Gerry’s work in fields and machine shops in the United States and New Guinea help to build and maintain the foundation of missions," said Very Rev. Thomas Ascheman SVD, provincial superior of the Society of the Divine Word Chicago Province. "His humility was his signature."

Charles Ignatius Pashia was born on Nov. 14, 1924, in Old Mines, Mo., about 65 miles south of St. Louis. He was the second of Edward and Eda Pashia’s three children.

At age 17, he entered the training program for religious brothers. He became a Divine Word Missionary in 1944 and took Gerard as his religious name.

In his first assignment, he served as a gardener, farmers, bee keeper and maintenance engineer at Techny. After earning a certificate of merit from General Motors in 1954, he departed for his first assignment overseas in Alexishafen, New Guinea.

Bishop Adolph Noser SVD named him engineer of the Mission Fleet. In this capacity, Brother Gerry and his team of mechanics repaired ships and served as roving repairmen for mission stations—fixing everything from lawnmowers to airplanes.

Brother Gerry also established a machine shop, complete with tools and equipment to repair engines and provide welding and lathe work.

In 1972, he returned to the United States and was assigned to the Divine Word seminary in Perrysburg, Ohio, where he maintained the seminary buildings. While there he made an impression on the students as he built an airplane in the basement of the school.

In 1988, Brother Gerry was needed at Techny, where he worked for the Mission Office, caring for the missionaries who return from overseas. At age 79, he accepted semi-retirement but continued to be active as a chauffeur, gardener and repairman.

Brother Gerry’s wake was held on Friday, Sept. 28, in the chapel of the Divine Word Residence, followed by his funeral Mass that afternoon. He was interned at St. Mary's Cemetery at Techny.

Brother Gerry was preceded in death by his parents, older sister Cecilia (Pashia) Coad, and younger brother Earl Pashia. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations for the care of retired missionaries may be sent to The Rector, Divine Word Residence, 1901 Waukegan Rd., P.O. Box 6000, Techny, IL 60082-6000.

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