Victor Cushwa, a member of the Public Service Commission and former state senator from Western Maryland whose booming voice helped make him a familiar figure in Annapolis, died Monday at Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown after a yearlong battle with lung cancer. He was 66.
Services for Mr. Cushwa will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Hagerstown.
Gov. William Donald Schaefer appointed Cushwa to a five-year term on the PSC in July 1990 after Cushwa resigned from the state Senate seat he had held since 1977.
Cushwa, who lived in Williamsport, was diagnosed as having lung cancer shortly after receiving the appointment.
"After joining the commission last summer, Commissioner Cushwa quickly earned the affection and respect of everyone who worked with him," Frank O. Heintz, PSC chairman, said in a statement.
At a confirmation hearing before a Senate committee in January, Cushwa talked openly of his illness and his determination to beat cancer.
But the cancer resurfaced in June after a period of remission. Cushwa continued with his PSC duties until shortly before his death.
Cushwa was perhaps best known for his upbeat outlook and his distinctive voice.
"The booming voice has been silenced," said his wife, Patricia Pascoe Cushwa, who was appointed to finish his Senate term. She was defeated in the 1990 election.
Colleagues remembered Cushwa for his compassion and consideration of other people.
Schaefer, attending the National Governors' Association meeting in Seattle, said through an aide that Cushwa was "a classic gentleman, one of the nicest people I ever met in government."
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. called Cushwa, whom he first met in 1962, "a great friend."
A native of Hagerstown, Cushwa served in the Navy in the Pacific during World War II. He graduated from Georgetown University in 1948, and later served for 20 years as production manager of the Cushwa Brick Co. in Williamsport. His family later sold the company.
Besides his wife, he is survived by a son, Victor Matthew Cushwa of Williamsport; and a stepdaughter, Laura Clark of Stuttgart, Germany.