Conrad Richard Vanasse
October 2, 1937 – June 7, 2018
Conrad Richard Vanasse, son of Conrad Oliver Vanasse and Elly Hertel, was born October 2, 1937 in Northampton, Massachusetts, and lived with his Grandmother. At the age of 3 he won the prettiest baby contest and his photo appeared very large in the newspaper. Conrad joined the Army early, and later earned his GED while still on active duty. The army taught him to be a cook, serving in Germany for three years. He loved his time in Germany and often said he was never hungry after he joined the armed forces; they fed him three square meals a day. Conrad was always thankful and spoke quite favorably of his time in the military.
Following his discharge, Conrad returned to Massachusetts, where he earned a degree in Hotel Management before marrying the love of his life, Helen Szpila. They were married on December 30, 1961 at St. John Cancius Catholic Church in Northampton, Mass. Helen had just graduated from Nursing school at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Mass.
Following graduation, Conrad accepted a job offer from Marriott and moved to Naylor Gardens Apartments in SE, Washington, DC to manage the Hot Shoppes Restaurant on 10th and F Streets, NW. He was very dedicated to his new wife, new baby and new job, often driving dishwasher and kitchen staff home, saying that if he didn’t – he wouldn’t have enough workers to run the restaurant.
Conrad and Helen had three more children and also became foster parents, fostering four different babies. They eventually moved from SE, DC, to the immediate suburb of Hillcrest Heights, Maryland. It was there that Conrad bought and started a successful vending machine business, sometimes driving up to 100 miles one way to service his gumball machines. Conrad memorized every road in Maryland, DC and Virginia. He never got lost and could recite the best way to get anywhere. He was also a superb driver, never having been in an accident.
Conrad knew he had a knack for numbers and returned to school, commuting to the University of Maryland-College Park and majoring in Accounting, where he maintained a 4.0 grade point. He passed the CPA exam in 1975 and his family rejoiced, as he had been working by day, studying and going to school at night. Helen and Conrad had moved the family to Indian Head, Maryland in 1973.
Conrad started a successful accounting business which spanned over 45 years. He later purchased an office building in Oxon Hill, enjoying clients that came back to his practice year after year and clients that only needed him one season. Conrad loved to work and he could talk to all kinds of people; he thoroughly enjoyed his clients and they appreciated him. He could start a successful conversation with anyone and would make them feel like they were the center of the world.
Conrad was always a kind and generous person, too. He would give a little cash to someone who needed it, saying they were “down on their luck.” He constantly treated all people equally and instilled in his four children the value of respecting, learning and enjoying all cultures. Throughout his children’s formative years, he was eagerly and actively involved in their activities; he was a Boy Scout leader and frequently drove his daughters to their Irish Dancing events. Additionally, he and Helen were personally involved in supporting various charitable organizations such as The Children’s Aid Society, for years.
He was devoted to his Catholic faith and never missed Mass. He had attended Catholic schools and often talked about his years as an altar boy in Massachusetts and how the priests would give him a dime for Mass served. For years he and Helen were involved in CFM, monthly Catholic Family Meetings, where they enjoyed very close friendships, faith and food. In addition, both he and Helen became members of the Mount Carmel Secular Order. Conrad later joined the Knights of Columbus, and was dedicated to serving while enjoying the benefit of many close friendships.
Conrad most loved to spend time with his wife and family, recently enjoying vacations on East Coast beaches. He was a voracious reader, usually devouring 4-5 books at one time and sometimes finishing in a couple of days. His other favorite pastimes include painting; he and Helen took several painting classes, and Conrad has several stunning paintings he has given to family members. He was an avid gardener and loved to swim once he completed his gardening. He was an accomplished carpenter whose work looked professionally done, although sometimes with his other endeavors, it did take a long time to tinker and finish. Conrad could create a stupendous meal, and he and Helen often hosted fun and fabulous dinner and holiday parties with family, friends and neighbors.
Conrad had a strong work ethic and inspired his children to do the same. Conrad’s famous saying to all his children was “do your best.” He would say this frequently, especially when he said goodbye. He excelled in conversing and people skills and possessed an uncanny ability to offer sage advice to people without ever passing criticism or judgment of their past or mistakes.
Conrad will be passionately missed. He was adored by his wife of 57 years, four children, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. His wife absolutely cherished him as they experienced everything together, particularly over the past 20 years. In addition to his wife Helen, he is survived by sons Conrad and Paul, daughters Jacquelyn Ferry and Donna Dorschner, sister Bernice and brother David, daughter-in-law Sharan and sons-in-law Don and David, grandchildren Conrad, Rachel, Evan, Brian, Abigail and Jane, great-grandchildren Cohen and Caiden. The family will receive guests at Huntt Funeral Home in Waldorf, Maryland, on Thursday, June 14; 2-4pm and 6-8pm. Funeral Mass celebration will be held 10am, Friday, June 15, at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in Indian Head, Maryland, with refreshments immediately following at The Knights of Columbus, 16403 Livingston Road, Accokeek, Maryland. A private graveside ceremony is planned at Mount Carmel in LaPlata, Maryland.
- Visitation Thursday, June 14, 2018
- Mass of Christian Burial Friday, June 15, 2018
- Burial Friday, June 15, 2018
Conrad Richard Vanasse
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June 15, 2018
Jim and I are saddened by the passing of our friend Connie. Many enjoyable evenings of food, fellowship and holidays through the years. Enjoyable memories. Love to Helen and the family.
Wanda and Jim
June 15, 2018
I am so sorry about the passing of Mr. Vanasse. He was such a kind and smart man. One memory I have is that he would always offer to help Jacki and her friends do their taxes when we were in college or just out of college. Back then (some of us still!) had two, three, four, even five jobs. They could even have been in multiple states (D.C., Maryland & Virginia). Jacki told me that her dad was laughing when she gave him all of my W-2's. I think I even had some North Carolina ones. That was so nice of him to always offer to help. I hope your happy memories will help your family through this difficult time. My deepest sympathy. And I am so sorry not to be able to attend funeral, but my daughter is graduating high school today. She is 18, the same age Jacki and I were when we became friends. Love to you all!
June 14, 2018
One could not wish for better neighbors and friends then Connie and Helen. We waved to each other at least once a day and were included in many family functions, including a swim in their pool. Maple Street will never be the same without Connie. My heart goes out to Helen, the children, the grandchildren and great grandchildren.
June 10, 2018
I met Connie and Helen soon after my husband and I moved to Charles County. Their youngest was in my oldest child's class at Star of the Sea. Their hospitality is well known and all the love we can send is being sent to Helen and her family:Randy, Jackie, Donna and Paul along with their spouses and beloved grandchildren..
I was so priviledged to work for Connie at his CPA office in Oxon Hill as his assistant. Along with being the perfect boss, I learned a great deal of how to treat others and enjoyed his practical advice.
My husband and I were asked to join a CFM group our Irish priest started many years ago. We treasured the experiences that grew from these dear friends, and others we met through CFM. Our meetings were held in our homes and we were always happy to go the Helen and Connie's. They brought Joy to our lives!
When told of his death, an eagle flew in front of me and landed on a tree. I thought of how God has lifted Connie up on eagle wings and thanked God for knowing the Vanasse family. Much love and prayers, Barbara
June 9, 2018
I always loved Conrads chocolate chip cookies that he made for the Christmas Baking Party every year & also their FAMOUS St Patricks Day dinner that we always looked forward to - Conrad & Helen were the perfect host & hostess, you will be missed & I am very sorry I will not be able to attend any of the services - I will be out of town.
Czeslaw & I send all our love & prayers to you beloved friend (Knight) Conrad & to Helen, Randy, Donna, Jackie, Paul & of course the grandchildren!
Czeslaw & Joyce Sternicki