George L. Goeller Jr., 78, career railroad engineer

January 12, 2002|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

George L. Goeller Jr., a retired career railroad engineer and World War II Navy veteran who participated in the D-Day landings, died Monday of complications from a stroke at Genesis Eldercare Perring Parkway. He was 78 and lived in Parkville.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Montford Avenue., Mr. Goeller's interest in railroading began in his youth. His father was a Baltimore & Ohio Railroad clerk.

He attended Polytechnic Institute until the 11th grade. He left school in 1940 to work as a fireman for the Pennsylvania Railroad. He worked out of the old Orangeville roundhouse at Monument and Kresson streets, firing steam locomotives.

Mr. Goeller spent his 44-year career with the Pennsylvania Railroad and its successor, Conrail's Chesapeake and Harrisburg divisions. He worked in freight, passenger and yard service. During his career, he witnessed the transition from steam engines to diesels.

He spent the last 10 years of his career working in the Bayview and Canton rail yards, shifting and assembling freight trains. He retired in 1984.

"He worked in freight service because it paid better, and he had two sons in college. However, he was always very proud of the Pennsylvania Railroad," said a son, G. Wayne Goeller of Olney. "He'd take trains to Enola Yard in Harrisburg, and coal drags down to the power plant near Chalk Point. Later on, he went into yard service because he had regular hours and wasn't away from home as much."

G. Wayne Goeller also said his father worked on the Parkton Local commuter trains as a young man.

"He used to say he would sometimes overshoot the platform, wave to the folks and then back up," said his son, laughing.

Mr. Goeller's colleagues had fond memories of their days working on the railroad.

"He was a dedicated and conscientious railroad man who believed in doing eight hours of hard work for a day's pay," said Elmer Kraus, former Bayview yardmaster and 43-year railroad veteran.

William Halfrenof Sykesville, a retired brakeman and freight conductor, described Mr. Goeller as a "quiet sort of guy" who "never lost his temper."

"He was a good railroader. He knew the railroad and he knew the job," said Halfren.

Charles C. Cochran who retired from Conrail in 1996 and lives in Northeast Baltimore, said, "George was a perfect gentleman. He was a good man to work with and was very well-liked."

Mr. Goeller was the epitome of authority, sitting in his locomotive cab and enjoying chewing tobacco. His lifelong love affair with railroading extended into his nonworking hours. He often visited railroad museums and bought memorabilia such as lanterns, Pennsylvania Railroad timetables and transit tokens. He also collected railroad-related Christmas ornaments, postcards featuring images of trains, ships and planes.

A World War II veteran, Mr. Goeller served in the Navy and was an engine mechanic aboard Landing Craft Tank No. 598, which landed soldiers on the beaches at Normandy.

"He didn't talk about it much," said his son. "In the first two waves of equipment and men not one survived. All of the men they took in were lost and that always bothered him."

Services for Mr. Goeller were held yesterday.

Mr. Goeller's wife, Catherine A. Johnson, died in 1982.

He is also survived by another son, Guy H. Goeller of Snow Hill; three grandchildren; and special friend, Margie Auriemma of Charlestown, W. Va.

Elizabeth H. Davenport, 84, homemaker

Elizabeth Hay Davenport, a homemaker, died Tuesday of pneumonia at Brightwood Retire ment Community, where she had lived the past four years. She was 84 and had lived in Hereford since 1948.

Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., Elizabeth Sutherland Hay attended the College of Charleston.

Mrs. Davenport was a member of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America and the Huguenot Society of South Carolina, and a volunteer with Arts for Hospitals.

Graveside services will be held at noon today at Immanuel Episcopal Church, 1509 Glencoe Road, Glencoe.

She is survived by her husband of 60 years, George Montraville Davenport Jr.; two daughters, Juliette Davenport Forbes of Fallston and Elizabeth Davenport Goodykoontz of Richmond, Va.; a sister, Margaret Hay Stallings of New Bern, N.C.; three granddaughters; and four great-grandchildren.

Barry Melvin Pachino, 65, liquor store owner

Barry Melvin Pachino, owner of Shoppers Discount Liquors, died Thursday of kidney disease at Northwest Hospital Center. He was 65 and lived in Pikesville.

Since 1975, Mr. Pachino owned Shoppers Discount Liquors in Lochearn, and was president and owner of the business at his death.

In 1959, he opened Family Discount Liquors on Harford Road in Northeast Baltimore, which he operated until becoming a partner in Shoppers Discount Liquors.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Tioga Parkway, he graduated from City College in 1956 and attended the University of Maryland. He also served in the Army.

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