Gale Scalzi, RIP

Last night my cousin Sarah let me know that my uncle Gale, my father’s brother, had passed away. This hit me pretty hard. Growing up, Gale was the closest of my non-immediate family, literally, as he and his family lived in a house that I walked by every day to and from school. I would frequently just drop in on him and my aunt Karen and my cousins, just because I was in the neighborhood. They always let me in and Gale and I would talk about whatever I felt like talking about. It was a very normal, familial sort of thing, which was a thing I needed back in those days, when so many other things about my life were skewed pretty far off from normal.

Later on, in adult life, Gale acted as my backstop in two pretty important moments: When I was just getting started and I needed to buy a car, and about a decade later when Krissy and I were buying our first house but I had rather inconveniently been laid off from my job. Both times, Gale (and Karen) acted as co-signers to the loans, putting their faith, and their credit, in me. Both times without complaint or hesitation; he knew I was good for it, and also that this sort of thing was what family was for. It was a lesson and a kindness that did not go idly by me.

Gale did not lead a dramatic life. He worked the same job for decades, was married to the same person for decades, had the same hobbies (music and computers and motorcycles) for years and years. But in all the ways I knew him, and knew of him from others, he was a decent and kind person, good to friends and family, the person on whom people relied, because he could be relied upon. He was the sort of friend that everyone wished they could have, and he was the uncle that I needed growing up.

Our adult lives did not have us keeping close, other than the occasional wave on social media. It was not estrangement but merely the day-to-day run of life; he was in California and I was in Ohio and we had our own immediate families to tend to, which in his case included grandchildren. But it was a good thing to see him pop up in updates, being part of his family life, Gale just being Gale. My affection for him never waned, and I always smiled thinking of him. Here was a good man.

I will continue to smile when I think of him. His life is complete, and it was a life we would all be lucky to lead; one of love and friendship and generosity and kindness. I learned a lot from Gale over the years, and when I strive to be the better version of myself, he is one of the models I take from to get there. He had my love, and has it still.

My condolences and love to Karen, his wife and my aunt, and to my cousins Justin and Sarah, their families, Gale’s friends and loved ones, and all who knew him. My heart aches for them all. May his memory be a blessing. I am certain it will be.

— JS

56 Comments on “Gale Scalzi, RIP”

  1. What an amazing tribute to a “good man”, family and friend. My heart aches for your loss however you are so fortunate to have amazing memories and milestones to talk about. Thank you for sharing with us.

  2. Reminding me that there’s only one left from the previous generation in my family. Fortunately my aunt lives close enough that we can get together for dinner every few weeks.

  3. You have my condolences. I recently lost an aunt who had been significant to my life when I was young. Absolutely, may the memory be a blessing.

  4. My condolences to you and all who loved your uncle, John. You’ve been hit hard recently with losses. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and wishes, for peace and strength. ((HUGS))

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss, John. IMO, the world doesn’t show enough appreciation for our Aunts & Uncles. My uncle Rick was like a father to me, fed me SF books, & taught me so many skills, including carpentry & photography. Here’s my photo of him & my little sister, just before he passed away from cancer:

  6. I’m so sorry for your loss and that you are having such a tough week. A beautiful remembrance of your uncle.

  7. Oh John, I’m so sorry for you and the family. He was a wonderful man and clearly one of the reasons why you became who you are. Hats off to him!

  8. My sympathy to you, and to your uncle’s family. He sounds like a good person, and we all need good people on our lives.

  9. Heartfelt condolences to you and the family, John. May we never take good aunts and uncles for granted.

  10. Thank you cousin. What a beautiful tribute. He loved you so much and was so proud of all your accomplishments. He talked so highly of you all the time and loved your books.

  11. My uncle Oscar and his brother Lou stepped in after my father died to help my mother (their sister) and me. Oscar paid the mortgage until Mum got the estate in order, Louie did the yardwork and helped with our dog, and Oscar later paid for my education. They were good men (Oscar in particular was the finest man I’ve ever known), and I miss them terribly.

    May the memory of the good times lighten the grief at your uncle’s passing. Please accept my condolences on your loss.

  12. So sorry on your loss. I think you nailed it when you said, “Here was a good man.” Those are words we should all strive for.

  13. I’m so sorry, John. Condolences to you and all of Gale’s family and friends, on the death of a good and kind man. We should all have a Gale in our lives.

  14. “But in all the ways I knew him, and knew of him from others, he was a decent and kind person, good to friends and family, the person on whom people relied, because he could be relied upon. He was the sort of friend that everyone wished they could have, and he was the uncle that I needed growing up. ”

    That is the way to be remembered.

    His (even closer) family will know that but your ability to express how amazing a person can be is brilliant.

    It’s no consolation now but I hope that in time people can realise how blessed they have been having someone like this in their lives.

  15. As my life continues, I’ve found the people who were there for me, who I looked up to and were role models are my greatest blessings. My condolences to you. He sounds like a man who was glad to have you in his life.

  16. There are men and women whose passing do not rate front page stories or breaking news. They don’t even make the front page of their local paper. But they are the ones, like your Uncle Gale, may his name be a blessing, who are decent and kind and faithful to their family and friends, whose leaving this earth leaves a hole that cannot be filled, but whose presence in the world made their small corner of it a better place.
    May you and your Uncle Gale’s family and friends be consoled in your grief.

  17. Our deepest condolences. I know how important aunts and uncles can be. My aunt was more like a mother to me most of my life. It sounds like your uncle was a wonderful figure in your life, and I’m sure he knew just how much he meant to you.

  18. Sincere condolences. Clearly his presence in your life was a blessing – may your memories of him continue to sustain and inspire you

  19. So sorry for your family’s loss. I love what your wrote here about him. I’ve always enjoyed hearing of the “quiet good ones” in folk’s lives. They are everywhere but as a society their stories too often are overshadowed by others. I’m happy you (and others) had him in your lives.

  20. I am so very sorry. May Death leave your family alone for a good while.

    Uncles are special. My uncle Steve helped Dad feed my fantasy and science fiction cravings.

  21. Your Uncle Gale was a Mensch — it sounds like he was supportive to everyone he knew, all his life. Our condolences for your family’s loss.

    I’m old enough that all my parents’ generation are long gone now, and some of my favorite cousins as well. But you never get used to losing family and friends. Again, condolences!

  22. Deep condolences to you and your family. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and remembrance of Gale. I am glad he was part of your life.

  23. Big hugs to you and your family during this difficult time.

    What a lovely tribute to what sounds like a supportive and formative guiding force in your life. We should all be so lucky as to have someone like him in our lives.

    For what very little it is worth, I am very sorry for your loss.

  24. If he had a favorite charity, I would like to make a donation for remembrance, to love, to kindness.

  25. Dear John, May you and your uncle Gale’s family find peace and be given strength by Lord Almighty to cherish and remember him. It is family like this that always makes us who we are. Not daily reminders and calls and contact. That silent strength reassures us that they have our back. May your uncle’s blessings always be upon you, and may you continue his tradition of being the strong, supportive uncle, son, brother, father, to the rest of your family in the true tradition of the dear departed soul. RIP Uncle Gale! A special thanks to him for backing you at the right time, which in turn gave the world this brilliant sci-fi writer!

  26. He sounds like one of those people who make the world a better place–the sort we need more of, not one fewer. My sympathy to you and your family.

  27. Thank you for telling us about him. Kind people are the most important people in the world. I’m sad to hear there’s one fewer today, and I’m sorry you have to say goodbye to him.

  28. Just got back from a family funeral and found this in my inbox, I’m blessed to have spent IRL time with family members I sort of keep in touch with via social media. Once a callow youth and now a full-fledged callow senior, I’m only starting to learn how much of a blessing it is to be able to help those who need it. “Not leading a dramatic life” can be an awesome achievement! My sincere condolences.

  29. I’m sorry for your loss; how wonderful to have had such a lovely uncle nearby when you were growing up.

  30. I’m so sorry for this loss, too… your uncle sounded like he was (in my Kansan grandma’s words) ‘good people.’ These folks are the true, unsung daily heroes of the world; I’m sure you’ll find ways to ‘pay it forward’ in his memory.

  31. Nice tribute.

    I’m at the stage now (70+) where the entire older generation buffer between me and the abyss is gone, I think more about those who are gone. I still have older cousins and one uncle (we don’t speak) but after my father’s sister died at 98 a couple of years ago, that was it.

    Best to his family, including you.

  32. Sending peace through the grief of losing such a good man. I’m glad he was in your life when you needed him, and I hope his memory will continue to sustain you.

  33. Tough, tough week for you and your family. So very sorry for your loss. As you said yourself, may his memory be a blessing.

  34. Sincerest condolences to you and your family. Your uncle sounds like the kind of person we all strive to be.

  35. A beautiful tribute to the kind of elder that everyone needs. Deepest condolences to you and everyone else mourning for Gale.

  36. “They come not in single spies but in battalions”, it seems. Very sorry to hear about the loss of your wonderful uncle. Condolences also for the passing of Zeus. Sounds like they knew you loved them, and I hope that helps.

  37. What a beautiful tribute to your Uncle. He will be truly missed & loved forever by all who knew him. Rest In Peace Gale