Gerald Read, 58, Victim in Navy Yard Shootings
For the past several years, I’ve used Biscuit Break to walk the dogs while I was at work. The company is owned by Cathy Read and her daughter, Jess, usually walks the dog.* Yesterday, they got some horrible news: Cathy’s husband and Jess’ father, Jer, was killed in the shooting spree at the Navy Yard.
WaPo (“Gerald Read, victim in Navy Yard shootings, was passionate about family life and his job“):
Gerald Read left for work at 5:20 a.m. Monday, as was his normal routine. Cathy Read was just getting up as “Jer” walked out the door, and she told him: “See you tonight for dinner.”
But her husband of 35 years did not make it home.
The 58-year-old information assurance specialist with the Navy Sea Systems Command had spent much of his career in military law enforcement and information systems management, serving in South Korea and rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Army.
During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he served at Fort Belvoir, working with the U.S. Army Materiel Command, supervising efforts to supply and maintain forces deployed overseas. In recent years, he turned to civilian work at the Navy Yard, managing security risks related to information and data.
Read was passionate about his family life and his job; “totally reliable, really, really solid,” his wife said. She had no details about what had unfolded before he was killed Monday, but given his nature, she said, “I’m sure he was right in the middle of it.”
Cathy Read had texted her husband and called his office Monday. She did not begin to worry until the day passed and there was still no word. At about 9:30 or 10 p.m. Monday, officials arrived in person to deliverthe tragic news that he had been killed in the massacre.
A day after the shootings in Building 197 of the Navy Yard, she recalled her husband’s love of reading — he was a Civil War buff — and his bond with their daughter, Jessica, and his three grandchildren.
“He was a fine family man and a good friend,” said Jim Miles, his next-door neighbor. “I’m just devastated that he’s gone.”
At the Reads’ home in the Mount Vernon area of Fairfax County, Gerald Read was often in the company of his black Lab, Roderick.
“Rod was always with him — always,” his wife said.
The Reads had been dog lovers for a long time. They worked to help rescue Labrador retrievers for more than a decade, and there are three Labs in their family in addition to an Irish setter and two cats.
Cathy Read and their daughter run a dog-walking business, Biscuit Break. Gerald Read helped with their books, taxes and Web site.
The couple met while Gerald Read was attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He joined the Army upon graduation in 1977 and served — on active duty and later in the reserves — until 2006. He earned two master’s degrees.
He was dedicated to the military, to work, to public service, his wife said. “Definitely fit the mold,” she said.
The last time Miles saw his neighbor was over the weekend with Keebler, one of the family’s Labs. Miles recalled noticing his friend out the window, walking across their adjoining front lawns, in what seemed an ordinary moment. It became a final memory.
Another report on the death concludes,
Cathy Read said she was on “autopilot” while she tries to process the news delivered to her around 9 p.m. Monday. “You just try to put it together,” she said.
That’s really all you can do. It’s a truly tragic situation, made more so by not getting a chance to say a final goodbye. Sadly, that’s often the case.
*My wife and I had two dogs when we started using the service. We subsequently lost the older dog, who needed to be put down at the ripe old age of 15. And, of course, my wife died unexpectedly almost two years ago.