Top Banner for Gary Russell Edwin O'Neal Obituary
Gary Russell Edwin O'Neal Obituary

Brought to you by Atamaniuk Funeral Home Inc

Gary Russell Edwin O'Neal

Brattleboro, Vermont

April 14, 1951 - March 8, 2023

Gary Russell Edwin O'Neal Obituary

Final Act 08 March 2023


As was written in his Hinsdale High School yearbook, “Gary will go to UNH where he will travel, see the world, then come home and learn how to make toilet paper.” That wasn’t his expectation but that was close to what happened. He wasn’t the best student but in many ways he was one of the brightest. His nickname “Gustave” was given to him by his French teacher. He used it in founding of “Gustave Designs” where Gary left his creative mark on clothing, homes, theater sets and other creative endeavors. As a senior he was offered the editorship of the Pacer Student Yearbook that he treated like a job. The result was a completely new format and a model that was copied for years. He was very bright in college and beyond because like a sponge he absorbed and retained news, stories, history and ideas from various cultures and people he met. Completely out of the blue Gary would quote a line from a musical or a little-known worldly fact that always added a joyful spice to any conversation.


Gary decided on UNH in part due to a trip organized by a UNH program called Project T R Y - a Kennedy/Camelot production. As visual learner, it didn’t take long to determine he had ADHD, which remarkably worked in Gary’s favor in everything he did. As a talented and juried artist, he poured and donated his talents in so many other venues as well. He appeared onstage infrequently mostly because his preference was to produce shows and design stage sets. His most memorable talent being designing costumes with big hats and the mandatory feather boa. In 1973 he earned his bachelor’s degree with emphasis in business, fine arts and landscape design. He continued his education by studying culinary arts at the University of Dijon in France, where he became an accomplished chef. Few things are as memorable or as enjoyable as a meal prepared by Chef Gustave.


While contemplating graduate school with the very real possibility of making his living in New York, a heart-to-heart with his father, Russell O’Neal, reminded him that “see the world, then come home and learn how to make toilet paper” meant

just that. Gary returned to the 3-generation family business while creating the perfect inventory at Paper Service. He brought his characteristic focus, persistence and innovation to the mill. He oversaw the installation of an anti-pollution system that took 3-1/2 years. Paper Service went from a polluting paper mill to one of the cleanest mills in the U.S. His life took an unexpected turn when the mill was destroyed during a devastating 2005 flood. While others might have simply walked away from such a loss, Gary assisted in lining up jobs for the remaining mill employees and covered their health insurance until they qualified for coverage in their new jobs. His values and his integrity could not stop him from arranging for his customers to get the products they needed from his paper mill competitors.


A lifelong supporter of the Visual and Performing Arts, Gary introduced hundreds of youth to the arts sponsoring artists-in-residence programs and trips abroad that continued for many years. Gary’s father could only shake his head in disbelief

when elementary and high school students painted the outer and interior walls of the mill with murals and installed art projects at the building. Gary was proud to be the founder of the highly successful, Winchester NH Pickle Festival, private chef and caterer of the Dog Daze Café, and so many countless– often quiet – charitable gestures and gifts for those in need or for those Gary knew had potential and just needed someone to believe in them.


His efforts did not go unnoticed. He received a NH Volunteer of the Year Award from then-governor Jeanne Shaheen during her final year in office and was a recipient of the NH Business Committee for the Arts Award for his selfless support of the Arts in NH.


His main love and driving force was his home “Crestwood,” a Scofield Mountain estate in Ashuelot, NH, which he considered to be a sanctuary for himself and anyone that came to visit. He hosted year-round weddings, private events and established New Hampshire’s smallest bed and breakfast, entertaining guests from throughout the country. It was not uncommon to hear a helicopter picking up or dropping off guests on his perfectly manicured lawn that faced beautiful sunsets at what was truly a magical place created by Gary. In between these events, his home and hearth and his bountiful meals were always there for friends and family.


2009 was the beginning of several health challenges which Gary faced head on. He was quick to respond to one medical issue with the famous 18th century “This Little Piggy” nursery rhyme. Following his toe amputation, he remarked that he no longer had his roast beef toe and with all the toes removed he no longer had a piggy market.


Gary’s strength during his last few years was possible due to his unflappable sense of humor and the innate ability to see the other side of misfortune as the next step in a good and meaningful life.


Gary’s final act was peaceful, sitting center stage in his leather wing-back chair in the kitchen with his loving sister Marilyn by his side. One can imagine him saying, “Ah, the show must go on.” You know Gary already had the script for his next Act, way beyond Broadway!


Gary leaves behind his sister Marilyn O’Neal George, her husband Stephen Hellus of Brattleboro and his Aunt Marilyn (Emily) Harding of Burlington, MA. Gary was predeceased by his father and mother Russell & Eleanor O’Neal of Hinsdale, NH who left this world in 2017.


Gary would be honored if you donated to the “Gary O’Neal Musical Theatre Scholarship” supporting student performers who have the talent, work ethic and technique required to achieve in the triple threat (acting, singing and dancing) in musical theatre.


Donations may be sent to: The University of New Hampshire Foundation, 9 Edgewood Road, Durham, NH 03824.


There will be a celebration of life on June 24, 2023 at the Winchester School, Winchester, NH 1-4 pm.

To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of Gary Russell Edwin O'Neal hosted by Atamaniuk Funeral Home Inc.

Final Act 08 March 2023


As was written in his Hinsdale High School yearbook, “Gary will go to UNH where he will travel, see the world, then come home and learn how to make toilet paper.” That wasn’t his expectation but that was close to what happened. He wasn’t the best student but in many ways he was one of the brightest. His nickname “Gustave” was given to him by his French teacher. He used it in founding of “Gustave Designs” where Gary left his creative mark on clothing, homes, theater sets and other creative endeavors. As a senior he was offered the editorship of the Pacer Student Yearbook that he treated like a job. The result was a completely new format and a model that was copied for years. He was very bright in college and beyond because like a sponge he absorbed and retained news, stories, history and ideas from various cultures and people he met. Completely out of the blue Gary would quote a line from a musical or a little-known worldly fact that always added a joyful spice to any conversation.


Gary decided on UNH in part due to a trip organized by a UNH program called Project T R Y - a Kennedy/Camelot production. As visual learner, it didn’t take long to determine he had ADHD, which remarkably worked in Gary’s favor in everything he did. As a talented and juried artist, he poured and donated his talents in so many other venues as well. He appeared onstage infrequently mostly because his preference was to produce shows and design stage sets. His most memorable talent being designing costumes with big hats and the mandatory feather boa. In 1973 he earned his bachelor’s degree with emphasis in business, fine arts and landscape design. He continued his education by studying culinary arts at the University of Dijon in France, where he became an accomplished chef. Few things are as memorable or as enjoyable as a meal prepared by Chef Gustave.


While contemplating graduate school with the very real possibility of making his living in New York, a heart-to-heart with his father, Russell O’Neal, reminded him that “see the world, then come home and learn how to make toilet paper” meant

just that. Gary returned to the 3-generation family business while creating the perfect inventory at Paper Service. He brought his characteristic focus, persistence and innovation to the mill. He oversaw the installation of an anti-pollution system that took 3-1/2 years. Paper Service went from a polluting paper mill to one of the cleanest mills in the U.S. His life took an unexpected turn when the mill was destroyed during a devastating 2005 flood. While others might have simply walked away from such a loss, Gary assisted in lining up jobs for the remaining mill employees and covered their health insurance until they qualified for coverage in their new jobs. His values and his integrity could not stop him from arranging for his customers to get the products they needed from his paper mill competitors.


A lifelong supporter of the Visual and Performing Arts, Gary introduced hundreds of youth to the arts sponsoring artists-in-residence programs and trips abroad that continued for many years. Gary’s father could only shake his head in disbelief

when elementary and high school students painted the outer and interior walls of the mill with murals and installed art projects at the building. Gary was proud to be the founder of the highly successful, Winchester NH Pickle Festival, private chef and caterer of the Dog Daze Café, and so many countless– often quiet – charitable gestures and gifts for those in need or for those Gary knew had potential and just needed someone to believe in them.


His efforts did not go unnoticed. He received a NH Volunteer of the Year Award from then-governor Jeanne Shaheen during her final year in office and was a recipient of the NH Business Committee for the Arts Award for his selfless support of the Arts in NH.


His main love and driving force was his home “Crestwood,” a Scofield Mountain estate in Ashuelot, NH, which he considered to be a sanctuary for himself and anyone that came to visit. He hosted year-round weddings, private events and established New Hampshire’s smallest bed and breakfast, entertaining guests from throughout the country. It was not uncommon to hear a helicopter picking up or dropping off guests on his perfectly manicured lawn that faced beautiful sunsets at what was truly a magical place created by Gary. In between these events, his home and hearth and his bountiful meals were always there for friends and family.


2009 was the beginning of several health challenges which Gary faced head on. He was quick to respond to one medical issue with the famous 18th century “This Little Piggy” nursery rhyme. Following his toe amputation, he remarked that he no longer had his roast beef toe and with all the toes removed he no longer had a piggy market.


Gary’s strength during his last few years was possible due to his unflappable sense of humor and the innate ability to see the other side of misfortune as the next step in a good and meaningful life.


Gary’s final act was peaceful, sitting center stage in his leather wing-back chair in the kitchen with his loving sister Marilyn by his side. One can imagine him saying, “Ah, the show must go on.” You know Gary already had the script for his next Act, way beyond Broadway!


Gary leaves behind his sister Marilyn O’Neal George, her husband Stephen Hellus of Brattleboro and his Aunt Marilyn (Emily) Harding of Burlington, MA. Gary was predeceased by his father and mother Russell & Eleanor O’Neal of Hinsdale, NH who left this world in 2017.


Gary would be honored if you donated to the “Gary O’Neal Musical Theatre Scholarship” supporting student performers who have the talent, work ethic and technique required to achieve in the triple threat (acting, singing and dancing) in musical theatre.


Donations may be sent to: The University of New Hampshire Foundation, 9 Edgewood Road, Durham, NH 03824.


There will be a celebration of life on June 24, 2023 at the Winchester School, Winchester, NH 1-4 pm.

To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of Gary Russell Edwin O'Neal hosted by Atamaniuk Funeral Home Inc.

Events

Event information can be found on the Official Obituary of Gary Russell Edwin O'Neal.