Mrs. M. Jean (Van Gilder) Cashin, 83, of Waynesboro, PA, gently passed away on August 18, surrounded by family at her home on Blue Rock Farm. She was a sincere, kind, and loving person who touched the hearts of many during her lifetime. A celebration of her life was held on August 24. Her obituary can be found here.
Born in Allentown, PA, Jean grew up at the Good Shepherd Home for persons with special needs, where her parents were caretakers and stewards for many years. Jean graduated from Allentown High School in 1948 and attended East Stroudsburg University, majoring in physical education.
In 1972, Jean began a career with the Appalachian Trail Conference (now Conservancy) in Harpers Ferry, WV. During her 24 years as information specialist, she helped shape and personalize ATC’s hiker services, earning a well-deserved Trail-wide reputation as the universal Trail mom. Among her many contributions, Jean started the tradition of taking a photo of each A.T. hiker intending to complete the entire Trail who stopped in at the ATC headquarters. After retirement, she continued to support the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in many capacities.
Jean was a founding member of the Appalachian Trail Long Distance Hikers Association and will be honored at its annual “Gathering” the weekend of October 11–13. She was honored in 2012 by the Appalachian Trail Museum for her lifetime of service to the Appalachian Trail and for befriending generations of hikers.
In addition to her husband, George J. Cashin, of Waynesboro, PA, Jean is survived by four children: William R. Van Gilder and partner Kristy Hansen of Gapland, MD; Diana Lee Keilholtz-Gunder and husband Paul of Waynesboro, PA: Judith Ann Dittmann and husband Wayne of Stafford, VA, and Jill Louise Colaluca and husband John of Frederick, MD, as well as twelve grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
Contributions in memory of Jean may be made to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, P.O. Box 807, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425.