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Edna L. Gaske, 99, teacher and chaplain

May 25, 1918 – Feb. 1, 2018

Edna Lucia Gaske, a teacher and chaplain, died Feb. 1 in Greenfield Health and Rehabilitation Center, Lancaster. She was 99.

Born in Buffalo, one of four children, she was a graduate of Salem Lutheran School and South Park High School. She studied nursing at the Lutheran Hospital in Cleveland, Gowanda State Hospital and Buffalo General Hospital. During World War II, she worked as a welder at Curtiss-Wright.

Miss Gaske then earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Buffalo State Teachers College and began teaching at Buffalo School 36 in 1954. After she retired in 1973, she worked part time for six years in the Order Department at the main branch of the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library.

In 1957, she was commissioned as an assistant to the chief chaplain of the Lutheran Service Society of New York. Despite a severe hearing loss, she served as a chaplain and did visitations at the Erie County Home and Infirmary, conducting weekly chapel services through the late 1980s.

She later became an ambassador for Canine Helpers for the Handicapped, which trains service dogs. She and her “hearing ear dogs” gave numerous presentations to elementary school students and senior groups.

Miss Gaske was a member of the World’s Largest Polar Bear Club in Olcott, receiving a certificate for participating in the mid-winter plunge into Lake Ontario at the age of 71.

She supported Wycliffe Ministries and traveled to Guyana one summer to teach Vacation Bible School. For many years, she also provided assistance to a family from the Far East as they resettled in Buffalo.

She was a member of Salem Lutheran Church in South Buffalo as a girl and later was affiliated with Kensington Lutheran Church in Buffalo and Trinity Lutheran Church in West Seneca.

Survivors include nieces, nephews and cousins.

A graveside service in the spring will be private.

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