Gary Douglas Peal, Sr, passed away early Monday morning. January 16, 2023, in Bluffton, SC.
Born in Lake Charles, Louisiana on January 16, 1936 to Jesse and Susie (Dodson) Peal, he was raised in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Gary enlisted in the US Army and left Texas, serving at Fort Hancock on Sandy Hook, Monmouth County, New Jersey, where he met Anita Perrone in nearby Highlands, NJ. They were married on January 7, 1956 and welcomed their three children Diana, Suann, and Gary Jr., to their home in Allenhurst, NJ.
In 1959, Gary began working for the US Postal Service, where he had a lengthy career; beginning as a clerk, and retiring as Postmaster in 1991, at post offices in Belford and Allenhurst, NJ. He received an associates degree from Brookdale Community College, graduating with his friend and fellow Postmaster, Jack Shaw.
Gary worked hard to provide for his family. During the early years, he also found time to volunteer for the Allenhurst Fire Department, where he served as Fire Chief in 1966.
During his time with the Post Office, he was able to build on his passion for photography through his participation with the National Association of Postmasters of the United States (NAPUS), attending national conventions and other events, providing photo services and serving for a time as Photo Editor for the Postmasters Gazette.
He traveled all over the country, accompanied by his wife, for many wonderful shared experiences. They continued traveling during retirement to Europe and elsewhere – their adventures always, of course, well documented by his photos.
Gary and Anita retired to Hilton Head Island in 1992, landing in Sea Pines and spending the past 31 years together enjoying the mild weather, welcoming visits from their children and grandchildren, and being involved with their parish at Holy Family Catholic Church. Gary was passionate and proud to serve with the Knights of Columbus, including being elected to lead his council as Grand Knight.
Poppie loved getting to know all the dogs in the neighborhood, and always got a kick out of greeting them all as they passed by on their walks. His loved ones admire him for many things – especially his unique sense of humor and ‘words of wisdom’ that could always be counted on to bring smiles all around. He had an open, loving heart that was thrilled to embrace his sons- and daughter-in-law, and all their extended families, as his own.
Survived by wife, Anita Peal, of 67 years; his daughters Diana Dubbeling (Andre), Suann Moore (Dan), and their son, Gary Jr (Joni); grandchildren, Kaitlyn, Carl, James, Sophie, and Liam, and granddogs, Trixie and Moo; and his paternal aunt, Patricia Cornelius. Gary was preceded in death by his father, Jesse; and mother, Susie.
A mass will be said at Holy Family Catholic Church (24 Pope Avenue, Hilton Head) on Thursday, January 19, at eleven o’clock in the morning. A viewing for family and friends will be held at Sauls Funeral Home (90 Simmonsville Road, Bluffton) on Thursday at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, with a memorial service to follow at 4:30 PM.