Formerly of Douglaston, NY passed away at age 89 after a long and very courageous battle with Alzheimer’s/Dementia on June 10, 2021 at the Briarwood nursing home in Needham, MA where she had been living for the last 6 years. Gail was a brilliant, curious, gentle soul who was born in Cambridge NY. She grew up in “The Brick Hotel” owned and operated first by her grandfather Thomas R. Rogers (“Gramps”) and then by her parents Julia (Rogers) and Frank Gorman. Gail and her siblings, Rogers E., M. Leah, and Thomas P. Gorman had many cherished and hilarious stories about life at “The Brick”, where her remarkable sense of humor and intense love of music were cultivated. Besides the grittiness and hard work of living in and running a large hotel nestled amongst many surrounding mountain ranges, there was much mirth and merriment, and the hotel proudly claimed the credit of being “the original home of pie a la mode” after the time when Gramps forgot to make the whip cream. Grandma Moses was a local inspiration and mentor to Gail, and rumor has it that Gail’s extensive doll collection won a contest against the famous artist.
Gail, with her super intelligence and keenly resourceful and optimistic spirit always yearned to leave the confines of her rural upbringing. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree and certification in Early Childhood Education from the SUNY Plattsburgh in 1953. She was an outstanding student and once told her granddaughter that being the Editor of the college’s yearbook “Cardinal” with her now lifetime friends was the happiest time of her life. She moved to the New York City area where she met her beloved husband of 35 years, James P. Shannon (deceased). While teaching for over three decades at the Community Church of Douglaston, NY Nursery School, she raised four beautiful children. Gail is survived by Karen Shannon, and her husband Barry Kerner of Norwalk CT , Maura Shannon, and her husband Kevin O’Gorman of Natick, MA, Matthew Shannon, of Newton, MA, and Tracey Shannon, and her husband James Berube of Norwalk, CT. Gail is also survived by many nieces and nephews and was the loving grandmother of Samantha O’Gorman, of Natick, MA.
Gail earned her Master of Science Degree with additional post-graduate credits from the School of Education at C.W. Post/Long Island University in 1984 and held positions in social work, school guidance counseling and ultimately retired after tutoring ESL students at Queensborough Community College. She always put forth enormous effort in all aspects of her life and was greatly admired by students, faculty, employers, family and friends. She enjoyed many years with her family in Douglaston Manor, NY, and her beloved Peconic Bay, Long Island which included precious moments and memories and living life to its fullest -usually near, on or in the water -with singing and laughter, spunk, and the Spirit of Life.
For the last twenty years Gail struggled with and ultimately declined due to dementia. Still, her deep faith, fierce independence, spirit of surprise and curiosity, keen sense of humor, love of children, animals, nature, birds and gardening, positive outlook, and musical essence enabled her to remain content as she aged. Gail’s last years were lived in a state of innocent inquisitiveness, safety and comfort. She died as gracefully as she lived, humming right to her last day. She will be forever missed, appreciated and loved by her family and those who had the honor to have experienced her true essence.
Funeral Service and Interment are Private. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you go and spread kindness, gently help an individual with memory loss, plant seeds of love, hope and nurturing, and sing your heart out, just like Gail did to the end. Donations in memory of Gail may be made to a charity of your choice pertaining to women’s challenges and issues, dementia and Alzheimer’s.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gail A. Shannon, please visit our floral store.