Joseph William Gaherty, 101, passed away on April 25, 2022, at the Meadows in Rutland, VT. Joseph was born in Lenox on November 27, 1920, the son of Daniel and Mary (Chague) Gaherty.
After graduating from Lee High School in 1938, he started as a machine operator for the Smith Paper Company at the Eagle Mill. He finished his 42 years of employment as a laboratory technician at the Columbia Mill then operated by the Schweitzer-Maudit Division of Kimberly Clark Corporation.
Aside from his work life, Joe developed a deep love for the game of baseball at an early age. He spent many hours at the Lenox Dale ball field and became a talented left-handed pitcher. He played for the Lee High School team and while still in school he became a starting pitcher for the Lenox Hutchison Oilers and Tillotson AC. During his baseball career, he was a member of several other semi-professional teams including the Majestics, Pittsfield Tyler Aces, Lee Sons of Italy and HomGas (Great Barrington). He was particularly proud of a complete 16 inning game he pitched against the Dalton team. While playing for the Lee Sons of Italy team in 1946, he helped the team win local, regional, and state championships that earned them a bid at the national championship in Wichita Kansas. His baseball memorabilia are on display at the Baseball in the Berkshires exhibit in Dalton.
His Berkshire baseball career was interrupted by his service in the Quartermaster Company, 106th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army from 1942-1945. During basic training, he pitched for the Division team. The 106th embarked for Europe in November 1944 and quickly faced the German counteroffensive in Belgium that December, now known as the Battle of the Bulge. He was fortunate to survive the war unscathed despite serving in a chaotic combat area.
Joe loved the outdoors and had a great appreciation for the natural world. He enjoyed fishing, gardening, swimming, walks in the woods, and just hanging out at his cabin in Becket. He had a great sense of humor and was a great storyteller. Although he was faced with physical challenges in his later years, they never dampened his true spirit.
His wife, Enes predeceased him in December 2020 after 70 years of marriage. He is survived by his son, Daniel Gaherty and his wife Liza of Milton VT, and his daughter Mary Ann Gaherty-Reich and husband Harvey Reich, M.D. of Mendon VT. He is also survived by grandchildren, Zachariah, Jillian, and Jeremy.
The family would like to express deep appreciation for the care given to Joe and Enes by the staff at the Landing at Laurel Lake (Lee), the Meadows (Rutland, VT), and Southwest VT VNA &Hospice.
A Liturgy of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, April 29, 2022, 11AM at St. Vincent De Paul Church, Lenox Dale. Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Spring St., Lee.
In lieu of flowers, the family appreciates donations to Baseball in the Berkshires, in care of Kelly Funeral Home, 3 Main St., Lee, MA 01238.
c/o Kelly Funeral Home, 3 Main Street, Lee MA 01238