Williamsport, Maryland native, Gerald Lee ‘Jerry’ Knode or ‘Blocks,’ beloved husband, father, grandfather, son, and friend passed away Monday June 17, 2019 at Meritus Medical Center. He was the son of the late Hanna Bowser Poffenberger, and step son of Cletus ‘Boots’ Poffenberger. He is survived by his wife, Joan (Bragunier) Knode, of 55 years, sons John Lee, Gerald Lee ‘JL’ Jr. and wife Beverly, Jeremy Jon and wife Tearza, and grandchildren John, Joshua, Patrick, Christopher, Mitchell, Madison and Trevor.
Jerry was born in “The Turbulent Year” of 1936; the year that recorded the hottest day in Maryland’s history (109 degrees), a record Potomac flood (36’ in Williamsport), and frigid temperatures that froze the Chesapeake Bay. No crib for a bed, he spent his first months following his November 9th home birth safely tucked in a dresser drawer, “closed only when he would cry.” He grew up living the life of a River Rat, spending his days fishing, plinking for rats at the river bottom, gigging for frogs at night, hunting, playing soccer and baseball, collecting bottles for their 2c deposit to buy candy, and occasionally going to school. By 1954, he had accumulated just enough attendance to graduate from the old Williamsport High School. Several jobs through his teen years included sweeping the Rt. 11 bridge for 50c a day and setting bowling pins at the Williamsport Bowling Alley. He was also the projectionist at the Port Theatre and sold Cokes at the town baseball games.
Jerry spent his formidable years volunteering in his community, starting a career, hunting, enjoying beer at the Third Base with friends, and proudly raising three boys with the love of his life, whom he married in 1964. Through the countless adventures that came with raising boys, a favorite family memory is their epic, never-to-be-forgotten, undone or outdone, Griswold-style vacation road trip of a lifetime to Disney world, where, along the way, they got the family truckster (a Ford Fairmont station wagon with luggage on top) stuck on Daytona beach, among many other countless, now-laughable moments.
Rooted deep in the town, Jerry was an avid volunteer and gave much of his time to organizations and events such as the Harvest Hoedown, Canal Days, Charlie Brown Christmas, Conococheague Little League, and Zion Lutheran and Williamsport United Methodist churches, where he served as trustee. He had also been a volunteer for the Williamsport Ambulance Club and Fire Company, as well as an active leader in his sons’ scout troop. He was Sinoquipe Counselor of Leather Crafts and Rifle Safety, a Boy Scout Troop 17 and Cub Scout Pack 17 leader, and a member of the Order of the Arrow. Out of deep respect, he always proudly volunteered at town events that recognized local military friends who gallantly served our country. He took special interest in his work at the Town Museum, where he and good friend, Maurice Snyder, invested their time establishing a home for all things Williamsport, assuring that our history and folklore would live on for future generations.
He was employed by Fairchild Aircraft, and then Potomac Edison’s R. Paul Smith Power Station, where he was a devoted employee for 36 years before retiring in 1994. He had enjoyed every minute of his 25 years of retirement.
He was a member of the Moose Lodge, Red Men, Sons of the American Legion Post 202, and the HDH Hunt Club. He was also a keystone member of the Williamsport Hunt Club. This club’s deer camp was an annual pilgrimage where lifelong friends gathered for hunting, story telling, and ‘lifting of the elbows.’ Despite suffering a broken leg that left him permanently injured, he could not be stopped from enjoying all that he wanted to do in life, even if it meant being propped up in a lawn chair in the snow by his best friends to endure opening day of deer season. A long talked about highlight of his hunting memories included the time when he, JL and Jeremy all got bucks just a few hours apart. To him, nothing could have ever matched that experience.
Jerry spent his last years devoted to family, enjoying his back yard and John Deere, sharing his porch and his beer with his boys, and his leather craftsmanship with his granddaughter, Madi. He was Joan’s number one fan, chauffeur and campaign manager; he always supported her ambitious and creative mind as he helped bring her visions to life time and time again. Their love and devotion to one-another was truly something to witness.
The family would like to say a special thank you to those who had him in their care at Meritus. The whole family was met with so much compassion and grace, and we are forever thankful. A remembrance gathering at the Town Museum 12 Springfield Lane Williamsport, MD is being planned for Sunday June 30, 2019 from 1:00-4:00 pm. The family request the omission of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Jerry’s name to the Springfield Tenant House, P.O. Box 307 Williamsport, Maryland 21795.
Online condolences may be made to the family at:www.osbornefuneralhome.net
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