Richard "Dick" Cavey

May 28, 1936 ~ August 30, 2023 (age 87) 87 Years Old


On August 30, 2023, Richard (“Dick”) Robert Cavey of Columbia, Maryland passed away at the age of 87 years.  

He will be lovingly remembered by his children: Patricia Ellen Sterbling (John), Rick Cavey (Jennifer), Maria Rojtman (Marcello), Joe (Jennifer), John (Jennifer), Robert Cavey, and grandchildren Razvan Sterbling, Gabriella Rojtman, Max Rojtman, Ryan Cavey, Will Cavey, Emmett Cavey, and Eleanor Cavey, as well as numerous relatives and friends.  

He was predeceased by his loving wife Genevieve (“Genny”) DeQueant Cavey of 32 years, sister Lillian (Johnny) brothers Bud, Way (Lanny), Jack (Elda), and Joseph (Doris), and parents William and Lillian (Barber) Cavey. 

The life of Richard Cavey, as remembered by his six children:

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Dad attended Saint Mark’s Primary School and Calvert Hall High School.  While at Calvert Hall High School Dad got Polio which was debilitating, but he persevered and regained his health. He attended the University of Maryland. As an electrical engineering intern at the Federal Aviation Administration, he met the love of his life and best friend, Genevieve, and married her in the University of Maryland Chapel on January 31, 1959.  Dad later earned a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Drexel University.  

Dad went on to lead a very successful career at Westinghouse at the Oceanic Division in Annapolis, Maryland.  He was an expert in sonar design, earning patents in the technology.  Dad worked on several classified projects in which military assets were retrieved from the ocean using sonar systems he developed.  Several of these systems were also used by his oldest son, Rick, during his career as a salvage dive officer in the Navy.

In his free time, Dad loved racing homing pigeons (the “birds” as he called them), a hobby that he started with his brother Joe while they were in high school and continued throughout his life.  He kept meticulous records and spreadsheets to help him breed the most competitive pigeons possible.   Dad was a member of the Washington, Baltimore and Mount Airy, NC Pigeon clubs, and served as treasurer for many years.

Dad’s time with the pigeons was reduced with the arrival of Ellen, Rick, and Maria.  In 1970, Mom and Dad’s family of five grew to eight with the birth of triplets Joe, John and Bob.  Shortly thereafter Dad bought a Ford Econoline van to transport our family and introduced us to the fun of camping at Shenandoah National Park’s Big Meadows Campground. This would be the first of many family camp trips on the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway, as well as trips to Prince Galitzin State Park, near Mom’s childhood home in Nanty Glo, PA.  

Dad delighted in his role of bicycle riding teacher, homework enforcer, math and science tutor, field hockey goalie, sports spectator, tropical fish saver, and carpenter.  He loved coaching little league basketball.  He neatly sketched zone defenses and plays on graph paper supplied by Westinghouse Electric Company. 

As the kids grew older, Dick and Genny enjoyed their time together, whether enjoying a glass of port wine, traveling to Historic Williamsburg and the Blue Ridge Parkway or sitting in lawn chairs, waiting for pigeons to return after a race.

In 1991, Dad’s life was rocked by the death of Genny (Mom), who died from cancer at the age of 51.  Dad cared for Mom during her illness with 100% of his heart and was at her side every minute until her passing.  Although the grief of losing Mom was overwhelming, Dad rebounded slowly thanks to Wednesday dinners at his brother Jack (and Elda’s) home, ski trips with our cousins Tommy, Eddie and Pat, and the job of being Grandpa.  Dad liked to take his grandkids to Laurel Race Track, fishing, and on pigeon training trips.  Dad always kept a stash of ice cream for the process of making milkshakes with his grandkids.

Later in life Dad grew to be quite the European traveler and took several trips with his children and nephews. In Italy and France, Dad sought out good food, classical art (especially Caravaggio), and cathedrals.  Dad loved to listen to Bob speak Italian with the locals, “hearing” the translations, and then later at Christmas time retelling the story to the rest of the family with an entirely different interpretation over a bottle of Chianti or Limoncello and some homemade raviolis.  

As the family expanded, Dad made sure to coordinate and host a fabulous Christmas gathering that started with Happy Hour on Christmas Eve.  While the grandkids were in the basement playing floor hockey, Dad and his 6 kids and spouses enjoyed happy hour of crab balls, steamed shrimp and Italian wine.

Perhaps Dad’s best storytelling came about at the family reunions he would orchestrate and host at Patapsco State Park.  Each January Dad would book Shelter 301 for the hottest day of the summer and print out the flier invitation, good and early.  With Dad’s immense gratitude, Aunt Elda and Cousin Patsy served as project managers year after year.  Aunts, uncles, cousins, grandkids, and friends came from near and far, potluck contributions in hand, ready to reminisce about old times, the tales getting taller with each year. 

With incredible detail, Dad assembled our genealogy and family tree back to passengers on the Arc and the Dove, the first ships to land English settlers in Maryland.

In 2018, Dad moved to Rick and Jen’s farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains, building a cabin – complete with an adjacent pigeon loft. Dad enjoyed Jen’s delicious cooking, going to pigeon club meetings, flying the birds with Rick, and rocking on the porch with Rick’s dog, Sadie Grace, at his side.  These were peaceful days.

While doing what he loved most, training pigeons, Dad’s truck slipped off a farm road and he was hospitalized.  Resilient as ever, Dad fought for months in ICU to return to his cabin on the farm for another season of pigeon racing.  His final year was spent residing in assisted living in Winston Salem, NC, near his son John and family (where Dad was undefeated in Cornhole).

Family will receive friends at the Harry H. Witzke’s Family Funeral Home, 4112 Old Columbia Pike, Ellicott City, on Thursday, September 7, 2023, from 6 – 8pm. A sharing of memories and eulogy will begin at 7:15pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held in St. Louis Catholic Church, Clarksville, on Friday, September 8, 2023, beginning at 12 noon. Interment following in St. Louis Cemetery. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory to the American Cancer Society.

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September 7, 2023

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Harry H. Witzke's Family Funeral Home
4112 Old Columbia Pike
Ellicott City, MD 21043

Mass of Christian Burial
September 8, 2023

12:00 PM
St. Louis Catholic Church (Clarksville)

Interment following funeral service
September 8, 2023

St. Louis Cemetery
Ten Oaks Rd
Clarksville, MD 21029


American Cancer Society
P.O. Box 22478, Oklahoma City OK 73123
Tel: 1-800-227-2345


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