Surrounded by his family and in the presence of the Holy Spirit, Harry Quayle died peacefully on Sept. 29, 2020, at the age of 79 in the home he built in Steuben.
He is survived by Joanne, his loving wife of 57 years, his two sons Matt and Dan Quayle, his two daughters-in-law, Becky Quick Quayle and Patty Quayle, and his four grandchildren, Kimi, Natalie, Kyle and Kaylie, along with his sister Lory Lockerbie and his brother-in-law Bruce Lockerbie.
He was born on Christmas Eve 1940 in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Harry and Alice Quayle. His father died when he was 11 years old. His mother Alice then married George Ogilvie, and they both were driving forces in his life. He grew up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn (82nd Street), and graduated from Bay Ridge High School, before earning a full Pulitzer Scholarship to attend Columbia University. (Yes, he was a brainiac.)
He emerged from the Ivy league with a lifelong mission to educate others and began that journey by teaching science for seven years at Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn and then for over 30 years in the science department of Randolph High School in New Jersey.
Soon after accepting his first job, he popped the question to the love of his life, Joanne Bennett. A love affair that started in a church youth group when they were teenagers was made official on Oct. 19, 1963. The wedding ceremony was performed at the Bay Ridge Baptist Church. They cut the cake at the reception held back at the house and then never left each other’s side for the next 57 years.
Harry loved life. He loved learning, he loved his family, and he loved God.
His love of life often came out through his passion as a science teacher. He was driven to be outdoors and among the beauty of God’s creations, which always left him in wonderment. Family vacations to the national parks in the Mercury station wagon (“Betsy”) left us all with a lifetime of memories. Weekend hikes in the mountains of New Jersey and in his beloved Acadia National Park are now being repeated by his kids and grandkids. Kayak and motorboat adventures, biking trips (the “Tour de Schoodic”) and hours spent on our hands and knees “tide pooling” along the rocky coast of Maine looking for marine creatures all brought us closer together as a family with God’s natural canvas as the backdrop. Hiking trips up Cadillac Mountain, the Precipice and the Beehive taught the family the importance of endurance, safety and how to “take in the view.” His love of birding was the ultimate example of what he loved most, spending the day with his wife, out in nature observing God’s greatness. (The family even officially competed in The World Series of Birding one year.)
Harry craved learning. Teaching was his profession and he never stopped honing his trade, keeping up to date and relevant through his reading. The more he read, the more he learned, and he passed as much of that knowledge as he could to his students, his sons and his grandkids. He also taught himself how to build or fix just about anything. It started small with a toolbox, but it became a lifelong passion and an incredible example of self-sufficiency. He taught himself how to be a woodcrafter, an auto mechanic, a plumber and electrician, a roofer, a mason and more until finally he was able to build his own retirement home and family compound. He loved his tools and painstakingly labeled, organized and maintained them in a way that made perfect sense, at least to him.
Harry loved his family. He and his wife were always within sight of one another. Every meal, every night. You could count on one hand the days they may have spent apart. He built his life around supporting his family. He crafted all life decisions around the impact it would have on his kids, and later his grandkids and even the family pets. He also dearly loved his sister and her entire family — the Lockerbie Clan and the Quayle Clan share a bond that will never be broken. Holidays with the Lockerbies on Long Island were paramount events each year. His lifetime friends Frank and Karen Gibbs also were like family to him.
Above all, Harry loved The Lord. He committed his life to Jesus Christ as a teenager and was born again. From that moment on, his love for his Savior was a constant and unbreakable force. It led to a lifetime of service through faith and the fellowship of his church, starting with Bay Ridge Baptist before moving on to his beloved First Baptist Church of Newton, N.J., and finally at the First Baptist Church of Cherryfield. A church deacon for decades, his service to God’s house was unending; Sunday school teacher to church handyman, fill-in preacher to treasurer, usher to emergency organist — yet another skill he taught himself. His devotion to learning more about his God drove an effort to teach himself Hebrew. He wanted to read God’s Word as it was originally written. In his retirement he also became a Gideon. He brought his Bibles to hand out to everyone who would take one. From the gas attendant to the toll takers on the turnpike, from the hotel managers to the hospital workers who took care of him in his final days. He never stopped handing them out. The Bible was his life blueprint, he shared it with everyone he could.
For those who wish to honor his memory, his preference would be that you make a donation to charity. His favorites were The Gideons, The First Baptist Church of Cherryfield, World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Bragdon-Kelley Funeral Home, Milbridge, where online condolences may be shared: www.bragdonkelley.com.