Cornelius “Chummy” Percival Awkard, Sr. was born on October 11, 1931, in Olney, MD and peacefully departed this life on August 21, 2023 at the age of 91. Chummy as he was affectionally known was the eighth child, of ten, born to the late Walter and Alice Awkard. He was educated in the segregated Montgomery County School System, graduating from Lincoln High School in 1949.
In 1949, Chummy also married his high school sweetheart Grace Scott and through this union he had six children, Cornelius “Nee Nee”, Jr., Gregory, Nancy, Alice, Jesse, and Gary. Later in life, in 2006, Chummy married his devoted wife Jerlean, and became stepfather to three, Renae, Leroy, and Siri.
Chummy was a successful businessman. He would often speak of his struggles early in his career. He was a young father, determined to support his family. As a young man, he accepted various blue-collar jobs in Montgomery County. However, he realized at some point, he would be best suited working independently. Supported by many, he amassed various skills which he would later apply to his business. In the early 1960’s, he established Awkard’s Septic Service’s achieving his goal of becoming a proud business owner. Chummy was smart, proficient, extremely knowledgeable of his craft, charming, and well respected amongst his peers. He loved serving others. As a result, his business flourished. He became a master plumber and encouraged others to learn and develop skills by working alongside him. He demanded excellence holding everyone to the same high standards, including family and friends. The county named a street in his honor located in Hollygrove, Maryland, called “Awkard Lane”.
Throughout his life, Chummy supported his local community by volunteering his expertise, time, and resources to many different causes. He served as a deacon at Calvary Community Church in Gaithersburg, assisted locals as a bail bondsman, and worked with Habitat for Humanity in their charitable efforts to build a home in Sandy Spring. Chummy was known in his community for hosting large picnics, weddings, and birthday parties. The picnic was an annual celebration for family and community members of all ages. A fun-filled day of music, games, and plenty of food.
Chummy was also a member of the Cotton Club of Sandy Spring, Patuxent Gun and Rod Club, as well as the Golden Tree Club. As a fierce competitor and all-around sportsman, he had many hobbies. In his early years he enjoyed playing baseball, golf and fishing. He spent countless hours at sea with George Williams, his brother Russell, Johnny Simms, and Lawrence Burton just to name a few. His true passion was wild game hunting, of racoons, quail, ducks, squirrels, rabbits, and deer. He loved animals acquired mammals of all sorts throughout the years. By far his favorites were his beloved canines, Millie, Duke, and Eagle. Chummy participated many in many hunting competitions with his dogs and was victorious in competitions across the state of Maryland.
As life “marched on”, and his pace slowed down, he spent his time watching his favorite westerns, hunting shows, football, baseball, and current events on television. He also enjoyed going to the casino, to “relax”. He was grateful to receive visitors, children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and acquaintances where he would often reflect on his life’s journey, and share stories of his past.
Chummy often would say “I’ve lived a good life, had a lot of fun and did a lot of things, Lord knows I have”. He was proud of all those he loved and cherished and continued to offer guidance and support when needed.
He leaves to cherish his memory his devoted wife Jerlean Awkard; three children, Nancy Awkard-Branch (Ron), Alice Awkard and Gary Awkard, Sr. (Sharon); stepchildren, Siri Caviness and Leroy Johnson; his beloved sister, Grace Breedlove; sisters-in-law, Carolyn Awkard, Sarah T. Awkard, and Blondie Awkard; four grandchildren, Hasina and Jabari Belton, Gary Jr. and Cameron Awkard; step-grandsons, James Wardrick, Jr. “JR”, Keeven and Jacob Jack, and Carla Caviness; four great-grandchildren, Mikayla Myers, Mia Grace Belton, Adaeze Belton and Josiah Jack.
He joins his parents, siblings and children in eternal life: siblings, Russell Awkard, Deborah Dupree, Woodruff Awkard, Hester Norene Mersereau, Leon “Cap” Awkard, Robert Awkard, Phyliss A. Smith and George “Paddy” Awkard; children, Cornelius Awkard, Jr., Gregory and Jesse Awkard; and stepdaughter, Renae Johnson.
Chummy was a strong man, pillar of his community, leader, husband, father, friend, grandfather and uncle and someone to lean on. Simply stated, “he was legendary”.