Alfred James Gay, 93, of East Longmeadow, MA and Big Spring, TX, passed away Wednesday, March 22, 2023 at Scenic Mountain Medical Center, Big Spring. A Celebration of Life Service will be held in Goodlettsville, TN at a date to be announced. A Memorial Service with Inurnment will be held at Springfield Cemetery, Springfield, MA.
Al was born in Websterville, Vermont, May 5, 1929 to the late Charles Gay, Jr. and Gladys A. Roy. Raised and educated in VT, he graduated from Spaulding High School in Barre, VT. He later attended and graduated from the New England Institute, Boston, MA. He served his apprenticeship with the Hooker and Whitcomb Funeral Home, Barre, VT and then began his lifelong career in funeral service with Dickinson-Streeter Funeral Service, Inc. covering the Springfield, MA and Brattleboro, VT offices. He served in the US Army during the Korean War, however, he was shipped to Germany where his knowledge and talents were put to use as the head of the mortuaries in Munich and Nuremburg. After returning stateside he resumed his career in Springfield and married his first wife, Mildred I. Lundquist. They had two children, both of whom eventually entered the family business working alongside their dad. Throughout his career, Al served countless families, guiding them through times of loss with grace, empathy, and compassion. He was a true gentleman and was devoted to his calling as a funeral director. Never thinking of himself as retired; he could be found “working” alongside his son in TN during stays in Nashville or going into the office at Tazzini Funeral Home in Springfield with which Dickinson-Streeter had merged. During recent years, Al split much of his time between stays with his daughter and son in their homes. Al loved his adopted family at the “Goodship”, Cole & Garrett Funeral Home in Goodlettsville, TN.
Over the years he was active in and supportive of many organizations. He was a member of The Meadows Lodge of Masons, all Scottish Rite Bodies, Melha Shriners, the Springfield Rotary Club where he had maintained perfect attendance for decades, was a Paul Harris recipient, and severed as editor of the clubs newsletter “The Spokesman”. He was a past board member of the Springfield Rescue Mission, and past board member of the Massachusetts Funeral Directors’ Association. He was proud to have been a member and ordained elder of the former First Presbyterian Church of Springfield. He later attended Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral in Springfield. He loved his home on Cape Cod and particularly enjoyed his lunches and dinners at either Captain Parker’s in South Yarmouth, or the Hyannis Yacht Club.
Above everything else, Al was a devoted and loving father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He is survived by his children, Valerie Dulude and her husband Harley of Southwick, MA; and James “Jim” Gay and his wife Deidra of Big Spring, TX; his four grandchildren, Christine Burns and her husband Tony of Westfield, MA, Julianne Rolfe and her husband Kevin of Southwick, MA, Justin Gay and Melanie of Chattanooga, TN, and Trevor Gay of Carlsbad, NM; seven great-grandchildren, Hanna, Mason, Weston, Harly, Tyler, Max, and Miles; two nephews, William Gay and Paul Gay; as well as numerous friends and colleagues.
In addition to his parents, Al was preceded in death by his first wife, Mildred Lundquist Gay; his second wife, Barbara Gorrod Gay, and his brother, William “Buddy” Gay.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be directed to Shriners Hospitals for Children, donate.lovetotherescue.org, or to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, www.stjude.org.
The family wishes to extend their heartfelt thanks to the caring staff members at Interim Hospice, Big Spring, TX and those at Scenic Mountain Medical Center.
Arrangements are under the direction of Nalley-Pickle & Welch Funeral Home and Crematory. Online condolences can be made at www.npwelch.com
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