CAS CADER was a man of many talents. Aside from the fact that he could fix a stalled elevator, he was a handyman without peer, able to do any kind of work around the house, from minor repairs to major reconstruction. He also was a skilled artist and sculptor and a musician who could play any instrument.
Also, he was an expert gardener and a fisherman who plied the waters off South Jersey and North Carolina to pursue deep-sea game fish.
Casimer Cader, a 25-year employee of National Elevator Industry Inc., who traveled widely on the Eastern Seaboard to repair elevators, and a Navy veteran of World War II, died Saturday. He was 83 and lived in Morrisville, Bucks County.
Cas served throughout the war on the destroyer escort USS Major, whose surviving crewmen proudly display Cas' paintings of their ship in their homes. They were either gifts from the artist, or were won as door prizes.
He carved ducks and played his favorite instrument, the mandolin, but could also play the violin, piano and other instruments.
In the Navy, he and his ship survived enemy torpedoes in the Atlantic, a vicious typhoon in the Pacific, and wound up protecting the battleship Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945, as Gen. Douglas MacArthur dictated peace terms to the Japanese envoys to end the Pacific war.
Cas was a "plank" crewman - member of the first crew - of the USS Major, going on board even before it was commissioned in February 1944. He had been in the Navy for a year.
The ship first served in the European Theater, completing six successful escort crossings of the Atlantic, challenging U-boats and dodging torpedoes, which had a tendency to pass under the ship because of its shallow displacement.
The Major then went to the Pacific, where it earned the title of "The Fighting Major." It operated out of New Guinea, Leyte Gulf, Okinawa and the islands in the southern Philippines, providing protection for numerous convoys.
Cas was a boatswain mate, which meant, according to fellow crewman Sam Psoras, a retired Daily News photographer, that he was the boss of the crewmen.
"He really runs the ship," Sam said of the boatswain's purpose. "His job is to organize damage-control parties, and general-quarters crews to man the ammunition magazines. He has to make sure ammunition was always available."
Sam was a cook and he gave an example of Cas' clout on the ship. "I told him I needed mess cooks and scullery workers, and he got them for me from the deck hands."
"He was the neatest guy," Sam added. "He was a great artist. I have one of his paintings of the ship, 24-by-28 inches. I think of it as a collector's item. We had over 30 reunions on the East Coast, and he organized them and provided the artwork."
Although the Major managed to get through battles in both the Atlantic and Pacific without any combat damage, it was nearly wrecked by a typhoon on its way to Tokyo Bay to protect the Missouri.
The storm claimed many lives and several ships, but the Major, although badly damaged, was able to complete its assignment.
Cas was born in Philadelphia to Joseph and Teresa Cader. He left Mastbaum High School to enlist in the Navy at age 17.
He left the Navy in 1946 and returned to Philadelphia. He married the former Florence Zadroga in 1950.
Besides his wife, he is survived by a son, Dr. Cas Michael Cader; two daughters, Donna Gerome and Maureen Cibischino; a sister, Sophie Ongirski, and eight grandchildren.