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OBITUARY | Gasper Cajka

Gasper James Cajka, an Osprey resident, died Nov. 9.

Gasper James Cajka, 92, of Osprey, a World War II veteran, research chemist and community volunteer who viewed his long retirement as an opportunity to serve others, died Nov. 9.

The son of Slovak immigrants, he was raised on his family’s dairy farm in Lyndora, Pa.  He graduated from Butler High School and served in the US Army during World War II in Europe and the Phillippines.  On the GI Bill, he was educated at Duquesne University and the University of Notre Dame.   He was a research chemist who developed formulas for DuPont paints and the polyurethane foam that floats Boston Whaler boats.

In June 1951 he married Lois Madelyn Scarnate, of Pittsburgh. They raised two children in suburban Mount Lebanon and were married for 49 years.  She passed away in March 2001. 

In Pennsylvania, Cajka was an Allegheny County Commander of the American Legion, an energetic advocate for veterans’ rights and youth education including Boys State and Nation.  He also was active with the Knights of Columbus and St. Bernard Church.  After moving to Florida in 1994 he served as an usher at Epiphany Cathedral and was enthusiastic volunteer for the Community Music School doing everything but teaching, from building renovations to clerical work.      

He is survived by sister Betty Chupka, of Butler, daughter Mary Helen Cajka (Jack) Geldi, and son Paul A. (Emily) Cajka, granddaughters Juliet Geldi Riggall and Jennifer C. Biddle, grandson Paul A. Cajka II and great grandson Graeme Henry Riggall.

He believed in education.  Gifts in his memory can be sent to Epiphany Cathedral School, 315 Sarasota St., Venice, FL  34285.  

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