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Gary Libby

Gary Libby

Tuesday, May 2nd, 1939 - Monday, August 31st, 2020
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Obituary

Gary Libby
Lincoln – Gary Libby, 81, passed away on Monday, August 31, 2020 after a brief illness.

Gary was born to Eugene Clifford Libby and Elizabeth Elliot Libby in St. Stephen, New Brunswick on May 2, 1939, when his family lived in nearby Calais, Maine.

At a very young age, Gary went to live at Pineland Center, a state institution in New Gloucester. Institutionalization often was seen as the best choice for children with disabilities in those days. He lived at Pineland until the early 1970’s, finally returning home to the Lincoln area in his mid-thirties. Gary was easygoing and agreeable, even after he discovered his voice and the courage to speak out about what he wanted from life. Gary’s eagerness and excitement to live large, despite spending his formative years institutionalized, won him a circle of friends and supporters who would be his champions throughout his life.

Gary worked at Penobscot Valley Hospital from 1987 to 1997. He was a hard worker. No matter the task, Gary took it with enthusiasm and pride in his work. He would put his head down and lean into whatever he needed to do: always on a mission. That is how Gary walked around town, too. He was happiest when he was busy.

He loved going out to eat, meeting up with his many friends, going fishing, joining with other model train enthusiasts, watching science fiction, and listening to music. Gary was a prankster who loved to make people laugh. He knew just what would get the best reaction from his friends. He loved hosting parties and junk food. Gary had quite a parade of people in his life, and he had nicknames and terms of endearment for everyone.

Gary watched out for his neighbors in Lincoln and never missed a thing going on in his community. One of Gary’s favorite things was going for a regular shave and trim from Big John the Barber. Gary and John became friends, and one of Gary’s favorite stories was the trip he and John took to Virginia by bus. Gary loved to travel, but never by plane. He took many trips, including to Nova Scotia and along the coast of Maine.

As a Pineland survivor, Gary developed a strong sense of justice around disability issues. He was a founding member of Speaking Up for Us of Maine, a self-advocacy group dedicated to closing the institution and making life better for people with disabilities in the state. Gary was happy when Maine’s institution closed in 1996, but he never quite believed it couldn’t happen again. He remained an outspoken advocate for inclusive living until the day he died.

In his retirement, Gary shared his home with a roommate. Nick and Gary became close friends and looked out for each other. Gary continued to love to entertain when he wasn’t settled in his recliner watching his favorite sci-fi shows. He had a soft spot for treats, making sure he had both cake and pie available for the 40 guests at his 80th birthday party last year.

Gary is predeceased by his mother, Elizabeth O’Brien, stepfather Eldon O’Brien, and his nephew Robert Pease.

Gary will be missed by many, including his friends John Albert, Joe Aldworth, and Nick Koppenhofer. Gary’s magnetic personality and interest in life won him many fans and supporters over the years. These include his longtime champions Holly Bean and Pam Vincent, Gail Fanjoy, Sally Sweeney, Jim Meehan, Danielle Chamot, Katie Clay, Amanda Hart, Gary Markie, Patsy Robinson, Donna McCormick, Fred Emerson, Pam Scroghan, and Heidi Vose.

Gary was compassionate and had a cheerful zest for living. He was appreciative, endearing, and funny. He wove these threads into a beautiful life tapestry that drew many friends and loved ones into his circle. Gary would say he lived a great life, and that is truly the best measure.

Services will be held at a later date. Arrangements are by Lamson Funeral Home, Clay Chapel, Lincoln.
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