Gail Macbeth Owens
March 13, 1939 - May 19, 2023
Overland Park, Kansas - Gail Macbeth Owens, 84, died Friday, May 19, 2023, at Advent Health Hospital in Merriam, Kansas. The daughter of Gershon A. Owens and Janet Cotton, she was born in Detroit, Michigan on March 13, 1939. Gail lived in Brooklyn, Rock
Tavern and West Burlington, NY, and Vero Beach, FL. During the last eight years of her life, she lived at Santa Fe Towers in Overland Park, KS.
Soon after graduating high school, Gail moved to New York City to pursue her passion of drawing and illustration at Parsons School of Design. Following work at various advertising agencies, Gail spent the majority of her career as a children's book
illustrator. Among many titles, she is probably best known for drawings in the Encyclopedia Brown series. Others include Pooh's Bedtime Book and Ladybug magazine cover artwork. An online search will reveal dozens of books she illustrated for many
different authors. A portion of her early work is included in the de Grummond Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi. Modest as she was, Gail never spoke of her illustration career, so learning about this may be a surprise to many.
Outside of her career, Gail accomplished many things in her amazing life. Among those, and with the love of her life, Tom Geoly, she enjoyed restoring old structures. This includes an 1860s country church in central New York that is on the National
Register of Historic Places, as well as a 1940 home in Vero Beach, FL. Always caring about others, Gail opened the church to serve as a location for a food pantry and for various local organizations to use for charity events.
Gail was known for many things, but most of all for her kindness and outreach to friends and strangers alike through words, gestures and thoughtful gifts. Once meeting Gail, you'd never forget her. And she'd never forget you. Gail would remember the
smallest detail about you and later select a gift or write something that made you feel special. For those fortunate enough to receive a handwritten note from her, her distinct penmanship made a lasting impression. Some say it should be its own font. For
her fellow residents at Santa Fe Towers, Gail organized weekly exercise activities. She also decorated the common area on her floor to always match the season or upcoming holiday. Making others happy and smile was important to her.
Gail was a great supporter of the Jared Coones Memorial Pumpkin 5k Run/Walk in Olathe, KS and the athletes of the Mid American Games for the Disabled/USA Boccia. Those organizations brought her great joy.
Gail was preceded in death by her very special and devoted life partner, Tom Geoly. He was a great man and together they made a great pair. Tom always made everyone around him happy and laughter always followed when he was around. No one made her happier
than Tom. He was the love of Gail's life and his passing in 2010 was very hard on her. They are now together again working on the next great project...
She's illustrated books by Eleanor Cameron, Ellen Conford, Johanna Hurwitz, Peggy Parish, Caroline B. Cooney, Jay Williams, and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Plus Sydney Taylor's "Ella of All-of-a-Kind-Family."
I first saw her work in "Cricket," from a Jenifer Wayne story about the boy "Sprout."