Gilbert Gay, 1936-2022 🇺🇸

Gilbert Gay, 1936-2022. Photo provided

N. WALPOLE, N.H. – Gilbert “Gibby” Elwin Gay, of North Walpole, passed away on June 9, 2022, surrounded by his three children who loved him dearly. He was 86 years old. He was born in Bellows Falls on March 22, 1936, along with his twin sister, Gloria, to Marguerite (Harrington) and Robert L. Gay Sr. He attended school in Gageville and was a 1955 graduate of Bellows Falls High School. Gibby served in the U.S. Air Force, which included a tour in Korea.

Gib loved his wife, Janice Mae Bushway Gay, and convinced her to marry him. They were married on May 14, 1960. They had a wonderful life together, and provided the best upbringing that any kid could ask for. At a recent wedding, they were the couple who had been married the longest.

Gib owned Gay Brothers Fuel Service with his brothers, Robert and Richard. He and Richard went on to purchase BDR Transport. Many family members worked in these businesses and were happy to be able to be together on a daily basis. Many of the employees felt like they were family too.

“He loved us almost as much as he loved his cars,” his daughter joked recently, and none of us saw any negativity in that remark. Gibby played with toy cars much later than most kids. He built soapbox derby-type cars on his own at age nine. He used to go out and start his sister’s car for her on cold winter mornings when no one else could get it going. His brother had two cars, but only one engine. When his brother wanted to drive the other car, Gibby would move the engine to the other in one afternoon, working in the back yard of their home. He once was let out of class in high school so that he could get a school bus running to bring the kids home that afternoon. Gibby loved cars, trucks, antique cars, hot rods, antique trucks, and racecars. He drag raced for several years, and loved stock car racing, attending the Daytona 500, Talladega, Pocono, Dover, and Claremont Speedway on an annual basis.

Gib drove oil trucks, milk trucks, propane trucks, tractor trailer trucks, and dump trucks. He owned many of them, but regardless, he was respectful of the equipment. He would only operate it as hard as he thought it could handle, and very rarely broke anything. He even brought a truck home once that had lost the fan belt by fashioning one out of his bootlaces. Gibby was one of the two people who started the Antique Truck Historical Society, Vermont Chapter, and he and Dave Durling organized their Bellows Falls Truck Show for 20 years.

Some parents raise their kids until they are 18, and then they are on their own. Some parents give their kids money for many years after they have grown. Gibby supported his kids by providing them with time and labor throughout their lives. He would help his daughter, Susan, with dairy farming, horse farming, haying, and was always there for her. He was proud of his daughter, Cheryl’s service to this country in the USAF, and for providing him with beloved son-in-law, Chris, and his only grandchild, Cassie Sherwin, who he was immensely proud of. Gibby helped son, Greg with numerous car projects, and as Greg says, “He put his faith in me to run his businesses, and ultimately purchase his businesses, and supported me in so many other ways.”

Gibby had so many friends. Everyone who met him liked him. We don’t know of a person who didn’t. Gib had a great life. He spent 20 years in retirement doing what he liked most: restoring his old cars and trucks.

He was predeceased by his sisters, Helen Hurley, Anne Curtin, and Nancy Sullivan; five brother-in-laws; and his stepfather, Will Harlow. In addition to Jan, Greg, Sue, Cheryl, Chris, and Cassie (Stefan), he is survived by his brothers, Robert and Richard, his sister, Jean Ostrowski, twin sister, Gloria Quinn, brother-in-law, Jerry Bushway (Linda), sister-in-law, Joanne Gay, and numerous nieces and nephews.

There will be calling hours on Tuesday, June 28 from 5–8 p.m. at Fenton & Hennessy Funeral Home in Bellows Falls. Gib’s burial will be private.

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