Obituary: Gail Downes Szantyr


ROHNERT, Calif. — Gail Downes Szantyr, 59, passed away peacefully on July 2, 2012, surrounded by her sisters in Rohnert Park, Calif.

She was born Feb. 21, 1953. She was diagnosed with brain cancer in March 2012 in her home of Connecticut where she had lived for over 20 years.

Gail was born and raised in Monterey, Calif. and then moved to San Luis Obispo, Calif. and Santa Rosa, Calif. In July 1987 she followed her dream of living on the east coast and made the trip across the country to Virginia. What a difference in weather and way of life, yet she quickly learned to feel at home.

She found her true home in Connecticut where she lived in Woodbury, Storrs, and Waterbury, and worked as an administrative assistant for Greystone Publishing, North Windham Vet Hospital, and the American Red Cross. She moved to Naugatuck next to her dear friend, Jan Radke and her family. Gail attended St. John’s and St. Michael’s Episcopal Church. She loved the weekends she spent at the Holy Cross Monastery. She was an avid reader, journal writer, gardener and canner. Gail will always be remembered for her love of things from times gone by: the 1940’s, Katherine Hepburn, old movies, Tasha Tudor, her milk glass collection, Corgi dogs, Princess Diana, and antique furniture. Gail is survived by her mother, Martha Jo; brother, Yates; sisters, Kelley and Allison; step-son, Bob; seven nephews; two nieces; one great-nephew and two great-nieces. Her hospice nurse said “She was a remarkable presence right up to her end.” As her high school sweetheart described her, “Gail was a good soul and had the purest heart of anyone I have ever known.”

During her favorite season, fall, her ashes will be brought to her favorite and holiest place of God, Holy Cross Monastery.

Donations in her honor can be made to: Holy Cross Monastery, P.O. Box 99, West Park, N.Y. 12493.