Lester 'Les' Earl Cagle, Jr.
Les died at home early Saturday morning, Jan. 27th, with family by his side. He so appreciated the special times spent with family and friends this past year.
Les was born in West Chester, PA on February 19th, 1931 to Lester and Carolyn Kerr Cagle. After Carolyn passed away when Les was a young child, Bertha Kerr Cagle, Carolyn's sister, became his "mom."
Les grew up in Havertown, PA where he was a track standout; competing in the pole vault and setting the school's high jump record (6'4"). He was also a skilled fencer, and part of a three-man team that won the state championship. Les attended Mercersburg Academy and ran hurdles under track coach Jimmy Curran, then studied forestry at Penn State University. In 1952, he joined the U.S. Air Force pilot training program, intent on serving in the Korean War. He never saw action, but a deep love of aviation remained. For over a decade, he made annual pilgrimages with friends to the EAA Fly-In in Oshkosh, WI. Even into his seventies, Les fired up the propeller of his own aircraft – a Mini-Max ultralight – and flew it.
Les was one of the lucky ones who find a career they love. He started working for IBM as a customer engineer in 1954, but soon found his true passion in computer programming. One of his favorite times was a three-year assignment in Germany. He loved it there and toured all over Europe.
Les was an innovator and a builder. Inspired by Mother Earth News, Les built his own house from the foundation up. After his retirement in 1990, he had more time to explore his interests. He brewed beer, made sourdough, and hosted Memorial Day parties. Les kept up with the latest software technologies, learning Python "for fun," tinkering with virtual machines, and proselytizing LINUX. Les also taught reading and writing at the Ulster County Jail through Ulster Literacy. He visited China and camped in the Australian Outback. He thought about climate change and corporatocracy, and was an avid student of history, especially WWII. Combining his interests in energy and cars, he and a friend built a biodiesel processor in the family barn, convincing local restaurants to part with used grease. The biofuel powered his old, beloved Mercedes and provided fuel to other bio-devotees.
Les joined the Rip Van Winkle Amateur Radio Society and got his ham radio license. Always on the cutting edge, he was one of few pioneers in the club to use streaming-audio technology over the Internet. Les was a true Renaissance man.
Above all, Les was a loving and endlessly supportive father, husband, and grandfather. His loved ones will remember him as a tender man, a dreamer, a great storyteller, a consummate gentleman, a thinker of big ideas with unparalleled intellectual curiosity, and a devout friend. He loved community, and always marveled at the beauty of the Hudson Valley.
Les is survived by his wife of 42 years, Brenda; daughter Carolyn Donovan (Dole) of Downingtown PA; daughter Leslie Taylor (Dan) of Parkesburg, PA; son Bradford Cagle (Becky) of West Chester, PA; son Seth Cagle of Albany, NY; daughter Katherine Cagle (Greg Hudson) of Raleigh, NC; grandchildren John, Jesse, Caitlin, Brianna, Ruth Anne, Nellie, Zac and Eric; five great grandchildren; a brother, Glenn Cagle (Linda) of Hedgesville, WV; nephews; and his first wife, Ruth Bauman, of Parkesburg, PA.
Friends will be received at Burnett and White Funeral Home, 7461 South Broadway, Red Hook, NY on Friday, February 2nd, from 4-7pm.
A memorial service will be held at the Red Hook Community Center, 59 Fisk St., Red Hook on Saturday, February 3rd, at 10:30am followed by lunch and fellowship. Interment will be private at St. Paul's Lutheran Cemetery, Red Hook.
Memorial donations may be made to Hudson Valley Hospice at https://www.hvhospice.org/foundation/donate or the Red Hook Fire Company at http://www.redhookfire.org.
Arrangements are under the direction of Burnett & White Funeral Homes 7461 S. Broadway, Red Hook, NY.
For directions, or to sign the online guest book, please visit www.Burnett-White.com.