Family & Friends Remember Gary

November 1, 2019

 

by Len Lathrop

Were you one of the many people lucky enough to have met Gay Webster, even luckier to have interacted with him in one way or another?

Gary was truly a treasure for our town and many of the surrounding communities and, through the American Legion and Post Baseball, even a greater circle.  Gary’s family, friends and business relations and others he touched said goodbye to him on Monday, Oct. 28, in a celebration of his life at the Dumont-Sullivan Funeral Home and the American Legion Post 48.

Gary left his friends on Oct. 21, at his home with his beloved wife, Connie, by his side.

He was born Aug. 21, 1945, in Nashua, son of the late Darrell and Mildred (Johnson) Webster.

Gary was the husband of Connie (Paquette) Webster of Hudson with whom he shared 48 years of marriage.  He and Connie lived in Pelham for 33 years prior to moving to Hudson.  Gary proudly served the Town of Hudson as its town engineer for 25 years and has been working for the Town of Pelham for the last two years.  Prior to that, he was employed as an engineer with Maynard and Paquette Engineering Associates in Nashua.  Outside of work, Gary had a passion for American Legion Baseball.  He was a board member of the Department of New Hampshire’s American Legion Baseball since 1984 and held the position of chairman for more than 20 years.  As an Army veteran, Gary was an active member of the American Legion Post 48 of Hudson and, at one time, held the rank of commander.  He loved a good cookout or party with family and friends and could always be found with a smile on his face when working the grill.  Gary and Connie enjoyed spending their winters in St. Croix.

Besides his dear wife Connie, family members include a brother, Carl Webster and his wife, Cynthia, of Hudson; two brothers-in-law, Ken Paquette and his wife, Lara, of Canada, and Stephen Paquette and his wife, Robin, of Hudson; two sisters-in-law, Diane Croteau of Manchester, and Marie Miller and her husband, Blake, of Connecticut; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

 

In their words, family and friends recall how Gary touched each of their lives:

 

In loving memory of my brother-in-law Gary,

“I was lucky to have Gary in my life since I was a young girl.  I was 9 years old when Gary and Connie were married.  We had many laughs, fun trips, pool parties, and adventures through the years.  Gary was there for all the major events in my life.  Gary left us too soon and I think this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson describes Gary’s life perfectly – ‘It’s not the length of life, but the depth of life.’  Gary was a great man, husband, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, and friend, and I saw during his service how much he meant to so many people in the community.  Gary led a very rich life filled with family and friends and he will be missed dearly.

I love you and miss you Gary.”

 

Marie Miller, sister-in-law

 

To my “brother” Gary,

“Since the time that I married into the Paquette family, many people have asked me if I am your brother.  It’s been a joke between us for years, but I never told you what an honor that was for me.  Thank you for all the smiles and laughter you have shared with all of us.  Our lives are richer having known you all these years and I will miss you.  I know you were worried about Connie, but we will all be here to take care of her.

Rest in Peace Gary.”

 

Blake Miller, brother-in-law

 

“One of Gary’s greatest attributes was that he was a very loving and giving soul to many people in many ways and we have lots of fond memories of Gary’s giving but two stand out in our memories.  The first is when we got married and we hosted a welcome dinner at our house in North Carolina.  Gary insisted that he do all the cooking so that we could enjoy all the family and friends who were attending.  Gary made some awesome spaghetti.  We can still picture him at the stove with a big smile on his face stirring the pots and dishing out his yummy culinary treats to all our guests.

“The second memory is when Connie and Gary came to visit us at our lake house in North Carolina.  We were blessed with the birth of six swans in the cove behind our house.  Gary was enamored with the young swans and spent hours watching and delighting in their behavior.  He felt like they were his children and was devastated when one went missing.  He was pacing the shoreline looking for the lost baby swan.  His concern was obvious and he was genuinely touched by the loss.

“But the thing that stood out the most was how he cared for Connie.  She was not feeling well for a few days, and Gary waited on her hand and foot and was fully dedicated to making sure she was comfortable.  He even tucked her into bed at night.  It was very touching and a tribute to the kindness and generosity of spirit that permeated Gary’s being and life.  We were honored to be touched by his life and will miss him greatly.”

 

Debbie and David Watterson, cousins

“It is hard to say good-by Gary.  Seems like we just said good-by to Russ and now we have to say it to you.  Thanks for everything you have done for me and my family.  Relations by marriage are not supposed to be this strong, but I always thought of you as my brother and mentor.  I will miss grilling with you and hearing your laugh.  Don’t worry about Connie; we will make sure she will be all set.  Rest in peace brother …”

 

Stephen Paquette, brother-in-law

 

“Gary and I had a lot of fun as kids on our grandparents’ farms in Maine and in Mont Vernon, N.H.  We were good friends as well as brothers.  I loved him dearly and was very proud as a brother and what he accomplished in his life.  He will truly be missed by family, friends, and coworkers.”

 

Carl Webster, brother

 

In loving member of my dear Uncle Gary,

“Gary Webster was much more than your average uncle to me.  He was an integral part of my support system.  I will always cherish the countless memories I have with him from family vacations, weekly breakfasts, pool parties, trips to visit me in New York, and so, so much more.  The holidays and family gatherings won’t be the same without his smile and booming laugh, nor will breakfast be the same without his blueberry pancakes.  He will be dearly missed by me and my entire family.

“I love you and miss you dearly Uncle Gary.”

 

Morgan Miller, niece

 

“To me, Gary was an amazing uncle, an avid baseball fan, and one of my biggest supporters in life.  He was so welcoming and kind hearted.  It was truly difficult to not love Gary Webster, which is what has made this so difficult for so many of us.  Something that I have been going over in my head a lot this week is actually a quote from Winnie the Pooh.  “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”  And I feel like that sums up the past week for me.  I will miss his laugh and smile and especially his hugs.  But I feel incredibly thankful for all the moments that I have to look back on with him.  The Miller and Webster family vacations that we took, the Sunday breakfasts, scoring Legion Baseball games with him, all the pool parties at their house, and when he would drive me and Morgan to dance class.  I love you and I miss you, Uncle G.

 

Shannen Loll, niece

 

“Gary was a positive role model throughout my life.  We first met when he was my Little League baseball coach, almost 45 years ago.  He always taught me that sports needs to be fun first.  We continued our connection with baseball as I became the coach of the Hudson Legion Post 48 team in 1989.

During those days, the Post traveled each summer, and I remember my first time on an airplane; both Gary and his wife, Connie, where there to calm my nerves at 21 as we flew to Wisconsin for a tournament.  He was most excited when the Post won their only championship in 1992, while I was away on my honeymoon.  He always told me family first.  Finally, my best memories of Gary, along with Connie, were their hosting of countless end-of-season pool parties for all the teams he was involved with.

Gary was a proud member of the CTE Renovation and Building Committee.  He was always quick to volunteer his time to support others.  Gary’s last official capacity was at the Groundbreaking Ceremony where his physical health had clearly deteriorated, but his mind and commitment were as sharp as ever.

Gary will be missed by many, certainly including me.”

 

Steve Beals, Principal, Alvirne High School

 

 

“Just a few thoughts about Gary Webster…  As you know he served the town for over 28 years, first as the Town’s civil engineer and then as the town engineer.  Gary’s knowledge of the town and the history of the infrastructure in Town were invaluable.  Gary was also very approachable and he communicated easily with all he came into contact with.  I truly enjoyed working with Gary, and I and other town officials learned a lot about Hudson from him.  He will be missed by all who knew him.”

 

Steven Malizia, Hudson Town Administrator

 

“I first came to know Gary when he entrusted me and former Post 48 Baseball Manager Jim Dobens to take over the team in 1997.

“Funny thing is that we were replacing our now Junior Head Coach and Alvirne Principal Steve Beals, who along with his brother, Kevin, was leaving the coaching staff.  As a former Post 48 Baseball team manger and really the founder of the Post 48 Baseball team, Gary was always such a staunch supporter of our team.  After the 1997 season was over, Gary and his wife, Connie, invited the whole team and coaching staff to a grand cook-out at his home which at that time was located in Pelham.  Gary and Connie were like that, very kind hearted and they just loved the players of our team.  Gary would always say ‘it’s all about the kids.’

“Little did we know at the time that he was also part of NH American Legion Baseball Committee and he also became chairman of that committee for over 20 years.  As time progressed, some changes were made with Post 48 coaching staff retirements, and I went on to become team manager and then after my coaching retirement in 2007, I became general manager.  It was at this time that Legion Baseball really became a part of my life all because of the faith and trust Gary had in me.  He allowed me to become the first and only director of the Junior Legion Baseball Program in New Hampshire which was started in 2007.  After that, when Gary retired from being chairman in 2014, he nominated me to become the NH chairman for Legion Baseball.

“Because of Gary, I had a passion to keep myself busy in my retirement years which started in the March of 2017.  He taught me the ins and outs of Legion Baseball and all the rules we have to follow.  He taught how to manage a league and organization to the best of my ability.  He also taught me what the American Legion organization is all about.  I have been a SAL member for 21 years because Gary was the one who suggested I become a member.

“Gary was not only my Legion Baseball mentor but also a very good friend.  I enjoyed his old time Legion Baseball stories (politics and all) of which he knew many because of his long tenure as chairman.  I enjoyed our trips together each year to the Americanism Baseball Conference in Indianapolis, Ind.  He introduced to me to so many good ‘baseball guys’ at these meetings who are also now my friends.  We enjoyed great food at many restaurants especially Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurant where we always enjoyed a couple of cold Heinekens to go along with our meal.  His dedication to Hudson Post 48 and the American Legion Baseball program was exemplary.  He will truly be missed.”

 

Rick Harvey, General Manager, Hudson American Legion Post 48 Baseball, and Chairman of NH American Legion Baseball

 

“I have had the pleasure of knowing Gary Webster for almost 40 years.  As the town engineer and a longtime Hudson resident, we have travelled in the same circles, both professionally and socially.  I, like so many others in the town, knew him as a colleague and a friend.  He will be deeply missed.”

 

Manny Sousa, Real Estate Builder

 

“Gary knew the town of Hudson like it was his own backyard.  If you had a question he could answer it.  He was always there and worked very well with his fellow employees, departments and had a great working relationship with the many developers and construction companies who completed work in business within the town.  He was one of those people that the job wasn’t finished until he was sure all the bases were covered and if this took him spending extra time to ensure This was done he would work late at times at night or weekends.

“His work within the community is long serving.  On the honor guard for the American Legion Post 48 he completed many firing squad details for town memorial services and other events.

“Gary was one of those employees that every town seeks, and his work can be seen every day and the pride he took completing his duties.”

 

Dave Morin, Chairman, Hudson Board of Selectmen

 

“I first came to know Gary Webster the day following my first Selectmen’s meeting.  I saw this tall, unassuming, determined man with the Town of Hudson as his first priority.  To say I was impressed would be putting it mildly.

“We chatted for a couple of hours and I knew then, as I had continued to realize more and more throughout the years, that Gary Webster had four loves:  his family, his dedication to veterans, his love of Hudson and his inability to say ‘no’ even when his plate was overflowing.

“Gary Webster was a gem for the Town of Hudson and he stayed committed to his visions and he maintained a work ethic that is seldom seen these days.  Gary would put in countless hours above and beyond what he was being paid to do.  Getting a call from Gary to meet with him told me that Gary had another idea for the betterment of the town that he wanted to discuss.

“We became great friends and I got to meet many of his family members throughout the years.  He loved his little antique car, said jokingly because he was bigger than the car.  He was committed to the American Legion Post and convinced me to join.  He loved his vacation time and golf.  He had a sincere love for youth baseball and committed many hours to assuring financial support for the Hudson American Legion Baseball organization.  I know because he was deliberate when he would ask me to support them financially.  Finally, he loved and adored every member of his family.

“I know, too, that God said ‘yes’ to Gary as he approached the gates of heaven.”

 

Roger Coutu, Hudson Board of Selectmen

 

“Gary Webster was finance officer since I’ve been a member of the American Legion and I know much longer.  He was a mentor to all of us at the Post.  Gary was the driving force in keeping the Legion on task and he’ll be missed by all he touched.  He served as a commander, firing squad member and finance officer, always with a smile and a positive attitude.  He’ll be sorely missed.”

 

Dave Mayopoulos, Commander, American Legion Post 48

 

 

“Gary’s involvement with the American Legion Hudson Post 48 began before I was a member; he was junior vice commander in 1972-1973 and senior vice commander in 1973-1974 and then became commander in 1974-1975.  Gary was part of a committee called the Athletic Committee along with Louis Millanazzo, C. Foster Smith, Al Honneywell, and myself.  This committee was responsible, mainly due to Gary’s influence, for bringing back Legion Baseball to Hudson.  Gary had played Legion Ball when he was in high school and was very passionate about bringing it back.

“The Post was not ready to just allow it because of the expense, so Gary and the rest of us started doing fundraisers; he organized Sunday morning breakfast, which he and a bunch of volunteers did every Sunday.  The Post voted to buy a hot dog vending trailer to bring to the games to raise money.  Gary organized that and also found the high school young men to play for us as well as our first coach, Bill Dodd.  We were able to draw from Alvirne as well as Bishop Guertin, and we all had a good time, both at home games and following the team to road games and tournaments.  After the seasons were over, Gary would host a cookout at his home in Pelham for the young men and the coaches, where everyone enjoyed the pool, the sun and Gary’s grilling.

“Gary was on the Post baseball committee and later became the American Legion Department of NH Baseball Committee chairman, a position he held for many years.

“Gary took over as finance officer in 1985 and still had that office until his passing.  He was also part of the Firing Squad and Color Guard.

“He was always one you could count on to help out at meetings as well as our annual outings.  Gary was a good friend and will be deeply missed.”

 

Pete Ledoux, Hudson American Legion Post 48

 

“If you were to cross the heart of Santa Claus with the look of Bob the Builder, you would have something closely resembling Gary Webster.  As a Hudson town engineer, he loved to be out at a construction site sharing his scope of knowledge, mixing it up with the contractors, and getting his boots dirty.  As a person, the only thing larger than his round belly and infectious smile was his heart.  Gary always had a kind word for everyone and usually a funny story to go with it, followed by a bellowing cackle that would make you laugh, even if you didn’t hear the story.

“He was a Hudson ‘townie’ in every sense of the word, and an encyclopedia of knowledge with respect to the town and its history.  He could not only tell you about how and when different buildings, neighborhoods, and roads were built, he could also tell you when the last time the sewer manhole cover was changed … not that you’d ever want to know.  You could ask him a question and he would squint his eyes, scrunch his nose, look down over his glasses and say, “Ahhh, let’s see … that was ahhh … blah, blah, blah,” and he’d be right!  No need to hunt through old files or search through the document server, all you had to do was ask Gary and you’d get more history than you bargained for.  Chances are, the old files would be buried somewhere on his desk anyway, and hearing his account of things was much more fun.

“Gary grew up in Hudson and was an Alvirne High School graduate (1964 I believe – but don’t quote me) and worked for the town for over 25 years.  I remember having a good laugh with him one day when he proudly showed me an old photo of him with his AHS basketball team and the ‘fashion statement’ that was their uniform back then.  He spent countless hours organizing and facilitating the American Legion Baseball league, and loved to watch the kids play.  He was a great teacher and mentor to many young engineering interns that the town employed over the years, all of whom now have very successful careers and are paying forward the skills that they learned from Gary.

“The one thing about Gary that I found the most endearing, though, was his love for his family and friends.  Even after so many years of marriage, he always had a twinkle in his eye when he talked about his wife, Connie, and he literally beamed with pride when he talked about his nieces and all of his extended family.  He was a friend to everyone, both in and around town hall, and he will be deeply missed.  Heaven has gained a wonderful man this week, and Hudson has lost a treasure … but that treasure will long be remembered.

 

Elvis Dhima, Hudson Town Engineer