****UPDATED SERVICE INFORMATION**** A memorial service will be held Sunday, June 26th, 2022 from 12 noon to 4pm at the Keedysville Community Center located at 40 Mount Vernon Drive, Keedysville, MD.
James T. Geraghty, 62, died of cardiomyopathy at his home in Keedysville, MD, on March 17. Known as Jamie to family and Jim to coworkers, he was born on Nov. 22, 1959, in Chestertown, Maryland, to James T. Geraghty Sr. and Emily (Higgs) Geraghty. Jamie was born knowing how to fix things, a trait he displayed until the end. Never one to let a job go unfinished, he was gathering material to paint the living room when he died.
When Jamie was 4, his family moved to Woodsboro, Maryland, where he lived until he turned 18. He grew up fishing, riding his bike through woods and fields, and helping local farmers with farm chores. Jamie loved spending time outdoors, and he never missed a chance to skip school to be outside.
He didn’t skip much school, however, because the Catholic nuns wouldn’t let him. He attended Catholic schools throughout, starting with St. Peter’s in Libertytown and moving to St. John School in Frederick through eighth grade. He attended St. John’s at Prospect Hall High School. In seventh and eighth grades, he ran track and played basketball, and he played basketball in his freshman and sophomore years of high school.
Jamie enjoyed being a teenager in the 1970s, and he took advantage of all the amenities available to teens at the time. He fixed up cars and made them run. The day he turned 16, he used the car to take a girl out on a date. Girls were drawn to him, and when asked how many proms he attended, he responded with a glint in his eyes, “All of them.” By this, he meant the proms in his junior and senior years of high school at not only Prospect Hall, but also Walkersville and Linganore high schools. In at least one case, he escorted the girlfriend of a friend of his who had joined the military, and both enjoyed the platonic evening.
Jamie grew up in a large, old house in Woodsboro where his father served as the pharmacist at the old Walkersville Pharmacy, which operated from the 1960s to the 1980s. Jamie and his younger siblings, Tom, Peg and Shawn all worked at the pharmacy in their younger years. Jamie’s early years in customer service came in handy at his retirement job as a bike mechanic at the Shepherdstown Pedal and Paddle.
In high school, Jamie also worked at Dr. James McClellan’s veterinary clinic. There, he did many tasks, including prepping pets for surgery and taking blood and urine samples. He was fascinated with the veterinary business and considered becoming a veterinarian. He attended Frederick Community College for three semesters after high school. After speaking to a military recruiter there, he decided to leave college to train as an auto mechanic for the Air National Guard. He put the degree off until later, and he eventually earned his AA degree from the Community College of the Air Force.
Jamie finished basic training in Texas and attended mechanic training school in Illinois in 1979. He officially became a member of the West Virginia Air National Guard’s 167th Airlift Wing in late 1979, serving one weekend a month along with yearly deployments that lasted from two to six weeks. He worked as a mechanic at Evergreen Motors and other car dealerships around Frederick and Rockville for the next 14 years. He decided to become the best mechanic he could, taking every training course and learning the ins and outs of engines. He became certified as a master technician, and he displayed these certifications in his home workshop for the rest of his life.
Early in his career, he married Cynthia Childs, now Cynthia Boyle, and they had one son, Tim Geraghty, in 1980. Jamie and Cindy amicably divorced in 1991, and Jamie and Tim moved from their rented house on East Third Street to a townhouse Jamie purchased in Amber Meadows. In 1995, Jamie was offered a full-time position with the 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg, and he began traveling to Martinsburg for work.
In the military, Jamie served on numerous deployments, usually four to six weeks in length. He served in numerous domestic deployments, and he also spent time in Germany, Belgium, England, and Panama. He helped to resupply planes in England during the Gulf War in 1991. In 1995, he helped unload supplies on C-130 aircrafts in Bosnia. In 2001, a few weeks after the Sept. 11 explosions, he spent six weeks in Saudi Arabia as operations intensified in the Middle East. A couple years after his Middle East deployment, he was tasked to go to Hawaii, where he indulged his love of scuba diving.
Jamie did much more than work for a living in those years, however. He coached Tim’s T-ball team in 1988. He also coached the softball team for his neighbor’s granddaughter, Sabrina, at that time. In the 1990s, Jamie had a bit more time to indulge his interest in the outdoors. He became assistant scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 274 in Frederick, taking charge of the troop’s outdoor activities from the late 1980s to 2004. One merit badge he guided the troop through was winter camping, which involved sleeping in tents along the Appalachian Trail in single-digit temperatures. He also took troop members on numerous other backpacking and canoeing expeditions around the area. He mentored Tim’s journey to Eagle Scout.
Jamie became an avid kayaker starting in the early 1990s, and he continued his passion for whitewater kayaking for the next 25 years. He learned to read the rapids on the Staircase section of the Shenandoah River, eventually learning to attain the rapids, which means to paddle upstream in swiftly moving water. He boated some of the area’s favorite whitewater spots dozens of times, including the Lower Youghigheny, the Cheat River Canyon, and eventually, the Class 5 Upper Yough, the Upper and Lower Gauley, and the Upper Blackwater.
He also began cycling regularly by 2000. Jamie biked to work in the 1980s when he worked in Frederick, and he never forgot his love of cycling. In 2000, he bought a road bike and began riding the roads around Middletown. He also bought a mountain bike and began riding in Greenbrier and the Frederick Watershed. When Jamie moved to Keedysville in 2003, he began riding with his future wife, Karen Gardner, on the roads around that part of Washington County. A few years later, the couple discovered mountain bike trails at Schaeffer Farm in Germantown, and they biked there several times each year. Karen and Jamie married in 2006. Jamie was devoted to Karen and above all, he cherished her love more than anything else in his life. Jamie had a unique ability to enjoy life’s “moments,” and his many “moments” with Karen were his happiest and most treasured.
Here's an example of the kind of person Jamie was, told by his wife, Karen: “In 2012, Jamie and I were riding the Bicycling Magazine Fall Classic bike ride, a 50-mile, hilly ride. Temps were in the 40s on that October day when my bike shifter failed a few miles from the start. Jamie, being the gentleman that he always was, let me ride his brand-new Trek Madone, the road bike he’d been wanting to buy for many years. He rode my old Specialized Epic Allez in the middle gear for the entire ride while I got to enjoy the lightweight road bike he’d had for only a few months.”
Jamie served in the 167th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard for 40 years. In August 1995, he began working at the Guard’s Transportation Department, aka Motor Pool, full time. He started out working in the shop, but after a few years, achieved the Master Sergeant rank and became the department’s Vehicle Manager and Analyst (VM&A). This desk job offered him comfortable pay and benefits, and he went from maintaining and repairing the vehicles that supported the 167th to managing the logistics behind the maintenance and repairs.
In 2003, he was promoted to Senior Master Sergeant. He always said that enlisted members should take every chance at advancement they can. The same mind that helped him figure out the inner mechanics of cars and bikes helped him as he took career training and leadership classes. All of this came in handy in 2011 when he became a Chief Master Sergeant, the highest rank enlisted members of the Air Force can achieve. He served as Chief of Transportation for the next seven years, until he was promoted to Logistics Readiness Squadron Superintendent. It was this job that showcased Chief Geraghty’s logistics and efficiency skills. He worked to make operations at the 167th more streamlined and responsive. Coworkers at the base gave his work glowing reviews.
Although Chief Geraghty could have taken it easy in his last few months before retirement, he chose not to. He worked with other Guard members at the Scout Jamboree at Summit, West Virginia, for over two weeks in July 2019. In November, just two weeks before he retired, he joined other Guard members at the 167th Operation Readiness Exercise in Alpena, Michigan, where he had the not-fun task of wearing a hazmat suit as troops trained in drills.
After his retirement, he wanted to keep honing his skills. He began repainting the Keedysville home where he and Karen lived and working on the bikes of friends. In April of 2020, just after the pandemic took hold, he was hired as a part-time bike mechanic at the Shepherdstown Pedal and Paddle. Owner Eddie Sampson and manager Kenny Walker took a chance on him, despite the fact that he’d never worked in a bike shop.
Their gamble paid off, and Jamie took to bike repair like a fish to water. He transferred his mechanic’s diagnostic skills to his new vocation, and he began repairing bikes old and new. The bikes ranged from department store specials to fancy road, gravel, and mountain bikes, and everything in between. He also maintained the shop’s fleet of rental bikes, and he delighted in selling bike-related items.
Jamie was an avid fly fisherman in his spare time. When he got a few minutes, he’d go to the Antietam Creek just off Md. 34 to practice casting. He also read widely. He loved Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, and Sue Grafton. He liked nonfiction adventure stories and memoirs. One of his favorite books, not surprisingly, was “A River Runs Through It.” He nearly always had a book on his bedside table. He also enjoyed magazines like Men’s Health and Family Woodworking.
Jamie enjoyed more than cycling and fishing. He liked to cross country ski, downhill ski, scuba dive, hike and walk his dog, Skye. One of his favorite activities was to walk with Skye and Karen along the Snavely Ford Trail at Antietam National Battlefield.
Jamie is survived by his wife Karen, whom he married in 2006. For the rest of their marriage, Jamie enjoyed cooking gourmet seafood meals for their weekend dinners, which were always accompanied by candlelight and fresh flowers. He is also survived by their dog, Skye.
Jamie’s son Tim Geraghty, of Charleston, South Carolina, also survives him. Tim followed in his father’s footsteps and served in the active-duty Air Force for many years, including a stint in Iraq.
Jamie was an inspiration to his siblings and the de-facto leader of the family after the death of their father, Jim Geraghty, in 2007. Jamie’s mother, Emily, died of cardiomyopathy in 1994. He is survived by sister Diane Geraghty, brother Tom Geraghty and Tom’s wife Theresa, sister Peg Geraghty, brother Shawn Geraghty and Shawn’s wife Leigh Anna. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews: Ronnie Layman, Julie Layman, Megan Layman and John Layman, Emma Geraghty, Graham Geraghty (who was also his godson), Emily Geraghty, Jack Geraghty and Chris Algarra. In addition, he is survived by his goddaughter, Arwen Creswell.
A memorial service is being planned. His body was cremated.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in memory of CMSgt (ret) James Geraghty to the 167th FRG or 167th Family Readiness Group. Checks may be sent to 167th Family Readiness Group, 222 Sabre Jet BLVD., Martinsburg, WV 25405. Donations may also be made to the American Heart Association by visiting https://www.heart.org/en/get-involved/ways-to-give