Claude L. Gootee, 89, of Cambridge, passed away on September 17, 2018, at Chesapeake Woods Center. Born in Cambridge on June 19, 1929, he was the son of the late Claude S. and Erma E. Gootee and remained a life-long resident of East Cambridge.
He received his education in Dorchester County and graduated from Cambridge High School in 1947. Following graduation, he was employed by The Daily Banner, until February 1951 when he entered the United States Army and was assigned to the 31st Infantry Division. On June 16, 1951, he married Margaret (Nini) Bertolini of Forbes Road, Pennsylvania. After being stationed in Fort Jackson, South Carolina and Camp Atterbury, Indiana, he was ordered to Korea. In Korea, he was assigned to the 45th Infantry Division. He was honorably discharged in January 1953, returning home, having received the Army’s Combat Infrantryman’s Badge, Good Conduct Medal, United Nations Service Medal, and Korean Service Medal with Bronze Star.
Upon his return, he resumed his work at The Daily Banner. His long career with The Daily Banner, culminated with his promotion to Advertising Manager and Vice-President, when the paper was purchased by The Evening Post Publishing Company of Charleston, South Carolina. Soon after, he was elected to the Board of Directors of The Banner Corporation, until his retirement in 1983. He was well known for his feature stories, photographs, and news events throughout Dorchester County.
Mr. Gootee was also a former Director of the Cambridge, Maryland Hospital, Past President of Dorchester Chamber of Commerce, and served on the Housing Authority of Cambridge. In 1969, he was appointed Supervisor of Elections for the City of Cambridge, a position he held for over 40 years. His early interest in genealogy proved him to be a true Dorchester County historian, with his publication of three books of the events around the 1890’s. Titles included, Those Cambridge Cracks, To Build or Not to Build…The Fox Creek R.R., and Politics, Oysters, and Other Little Morsels. All the materials used in the three books was discovered in the attic of Banner office, where they had laid undisturbed for almost 100 years. They have since been referred to as the Banner Papers.
In recent years, he was a feature writer for Dorchester Happenings, a monthly paper circulated to all Dorchester County residents. He was a Civil War buff and was particularly interested in President Lincoln, collecting much memorabilia. As a great story-teller, he shared his wealth of knowledge at the Historical Society and local venues throughout the county.
In 1972, he and Nini purchased the Plaza Gift Shop business and after several temporary locations, purchased property and built its final location on Crusader Road in 1982, where they remained until their retirement in 2005.
Claude was a Methodist his entire life, having attended St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Cambridge and Milton United Methodist Church in Woolford.
Surviving are his beloved wife of 67 years, Nini; son, Mark Gootee; grandchildren, Sara Gootee (fiancé Shane Laureska) and Matthew Gootee (fiancé Carlee Budd); and one great-daughter, Mia Harper Laureska.
Pallbearers will be Matt Gootee, Eddie Collison, Robbie Hanson, Doug Turner, Shane Laureska and Ryan Turner. Honorary pallbearers will be George Wright, Jr., Herman Stevens, Raye Brohawn, Eddie Dayton, and Rex Marshall.
Services will be held at Thomas Funeral Home in Cambridge on Friday, September 21, 2018 at 11 am with Rev. Robert G. Kirkley officiating. Family will receive guests one hour prior to the service. Interment will follow at the Maryland Veteran’s Cemetery in Beulah with military honors. In lieu of flower, donations may be made to a charity of choice.