Eugene Paul Marasco, age 90, of Mount Airy, Maryland, died on March 18, 2022, in Frederick, Maryland, after a long illness. Beloved husband of Edith Emily (Smejkal) for 65 years; brother of Anthony Joseph (deceased) and Rosemarie Helen (Booth, deceased); father of Laurie Jean (Michael Richards), Tamara Ann (Randy Sultzer), and Robin Lynn (Keough); Grandfather (Poppy) of Daniel Warren Richards, Matthew Gene Keough, Zachary Griffin Sultzer, and Benjamin Maxwell Sultzer.
Known as Gene to his family and friends, he was born on May 7, 1931 in Archibald, Pennsylvania, to Anthony Bernard Marasco (1898-1983) and Anna Rose (Schuttert, 1909-91). In 1940, the family moved to Newark, New Jersey, where Gene obtained his first job as a shoe salesman at Kitty Kelly Shoe Store (1945-49). After high school graduation, he and his friend, son of the shoe store owner, bought motorcycles and traveled the entire way along U.S. Route 1 from Newark to Florida. Afterward, he became a roller derby professional, skating with the Jersey Jolters of the National Roller Derby League for its 1949-50 inaugural season, until a knee injury ended his brief career. He then became an electrician working for Westinghouse (1949-52), as he would say, “my first real job.” Gene served his country after enlisting in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War (1952-54). He first served on US Navy Ship PCE-1138 Patrol Craft Escort as a sailor and electrician, afterward becoming a naval aviator (call sign “Eppie”), flying P-2V Neptune and PB4Y-2 Privateer aircraft as a Navigation Training Pilot with the 601st Navigation Training Squadron. Once he returned from military service, Gene began his long, storied career as a computer pioneer at IBM where he was a key contributor to some of the first computers, programming languages, and apps developed for automating business and training processes. He was first a computer customer engineer in Newark (1955-64). Because of the great knowledge he developed, he then became a senior instructor for developing and operating computers in New York City (1964-65). Gene moved to Endicott, New York, as a computer based instructor (1965-80). The final phase of his IBM career was as an engineer scientist at the Federal Systems Division in Washington, DC, where he developed innovative systems for the U.S. Government until his retirement in 1990.
His instruction was not limited to his career, however. He was a natural born teacher who took great pleasure in imparting his vast knowledge on many topics to willing learners. Along with his teachings, he also included a joke or story for every occasion. He was a virtual library of jokes, and could spin a yarn with the best of them. The listener had to be careful, however, since some of Gene’s stories were actually jokes.
Throughout his life, Gene developed into a master craftsman and artist, which he said came from his German grandfather Theodore Schuttert (1866-1939). Gene created both beautiful and functional objects from every imaginable material and medium; stained glass, wood, precious and industrial metals, precious stones, paints, paper, and clay were just some of the materials he used. He created jewelry, stained glass lamps and hangings, marquetry, sailing ship models, clocks, Ukrainian Easter eggs, carvings, toys, and many other artistic objects and mechanisms. It was a family saying that if it was in the house, Gene either made it or fixed it! He also raised many types of aquarium fishes, selling them to local pet stores or keeping them as pets at home. His spirit is well cast across the many pieces of art he bestowed on loved ones and sold to the public, as well as the many skills he taught to family and friends. A literal book could be written from the details behind the many adventures and accomplishments of his life.
The family will announce a memorial service that they will hold later in the spring. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Small Miracles Cat and Dog Rescue in Ellicott City, Maryland, 21042, www.smallmiraclesrescue.org.
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