Chesterton Tribune

Virgil Gassoway dies at 89

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Virgil Gassoway, of Weirsdale, Fla., formerly of Chesterton and Beverly Shores, passed away peacefully Friday, March 14, 2008 after a brief illness. He was 89.

He was born July 10, 1918 in Stanton, Ohio, the son of Elmer and Olive (Brown) Gasaway.

On Feb. 2, 1942, he married Elsie Burger, a young lady from Chicago, whom he had met on the beach and outdoor ballroom in Michigan City. They enjoyed 50 years of ballroom dancing, walking, fishing and playing cards with friends until Elsie passed away in 1992.

In Jan. of 1994, he married Ida Tidwell, who survives.

Virgil was the third of six children. The family moved from Ohio to Michigan City. He spent his early working years delivering milk to help support his family after his father died, and also drove a cab in Michigan City.

Subsequent careers included selling insurance for John Hancock, building houses in Chesterton as Gassoway Construction, and finally, as a salesman of tombstones for Delano Granite Works.

During the years he was married to Elsie, in 1957, they purchased Studtman’s Root Beer stand in Chesterton, later renaming it The Port Drive-in, which is owned and operated today by their son Terry and his wife Beth. Their other children are Dr. Virgil (Jean) Gassoway of Chesterton and Dr. Lynn Gassoway Reichle (Al) of Valparaiso.

In the 1960s, he served as a Republican precinct committeeman, and later joined the Moose and Elks lodges. (They held weekly dances.)

Virgil and Ida shared 14 happy years together traveling, laughing and just being together. Ida’s daughter Sherry and her children Brie, Brad and Ben greatly enriched his life.

There will be a memorial celebration of his life on Monday, March 24 at the Beverly Shores Community Center (located behind the Beverly Shores Town Hall) from 3-6 p.m. with a special tribute at sunset.


Posted 3/21/2008