Gail Duncan Stewart, of Blacksburg, died December 11, 2017. If you are reading this, I have shuffled off my mortal coil. I am taking a dirt nap. I kicked the bucket. And truly, I died in the arms of my love, in the company of friends, family and my sweet boxer, Lucy. It’s a sad story, but not a bitter one. What a great time I had!
So here is a little about my life. After growing up in Blacksburg and attending Virginia Tech, I moved to Washington DC where I worked at the Tobacco Institute, acted at the ASTA Theater and brightened the social scene of DC with a fantastic and funny cast of friends. From there I moved to LA where I worked for the ICA Talent Agency before literally becoming Shari Lewis’ and Lamb Chops’ extra set of hands. While in LA, I met the love of my life, Rob Schuyler Stewart, and we moved to Oregon. I spent the next thirty years living on pristine rivers, entertaining a dear circle of friends, and creating a loving home for a succession of rescued boxers. I retired from the Oregonian Newspaper in 2008, and then Rob and I crossed the country several times, always making new friends along the way wherever we stopped.
We came home to this area, to Craig County, to be closer to Mama and the family, in May. My pancreatic cancer was diagnosed on my 67th birthday, in September.
I leave behind my husband of 30 years, my tall and handsome rock. I also leave my beautiful, brilliant and loving sisters, Tina McPherson, Queen of the Catawba Valley, and Karen Pape, of Charlottesville, artist/writer/photographer and so much more. My mom, Peggy Ballengee Duncan, with her sharp mind and bright wit, went before me, as did my father, Ralph Duncan and my brother-in-law, Howard Pape. I also leave a wonderful brother-in-law, David McPherson, and four nephews, Tate and Ross McPherson and Jeremy and Evan Pape. I leave my dog, Lucy, and hope to be re-united with the five dogs who went before me. I also leave special friends Dennis and Vicky O’Neil, and Aunts and Uncles Richard and JoAnne Ballengee, Charles and Nancy Ballengee, Susie Sult, Phoebe Stacy and Bonnie Pack.
In the words of Louis Armstrong, it’s been a wonderful life and I am grateful to have lived it so fully with my family, my friends, and my dogs. In lieu of flowers, please remember the animals and kindly donate to Angels of Assisi, 415 Campbell Avenue, Roanoke, VA 24016.
A celebration of Gail’s life will be at 1 p.m. today, Dec. 16, in the McCoy Funeral Home Chapel. The family will receive friends from 12 noon until the service time at McCoy Funeral Home, Blacksburg.