Gary Thomas Keating was born on December 30, 1949 in Lawrence, MA, where he lived almost all of his life. He proudly referred to himself as a 6th generation Lawrencian. He loved his city deeply as he did his family and friends and they him. He was educated in the public schools, graduating from Lawrence High School in 1967 with his twin brother, whom he often teased was 4 minutes older than him. Gary went to graduate from Northern Essex Community College, where he was editor of the school newspaper, and did additional work at C.W. Post in New York, where his concentration was theater. Being close to NY City for a lover of theater was pretty special to him.
The theater remained dear to his heart throughout his life. He was an early member of Garrett Players and performed and participated in countless plays and productions and was a founding member of the Merrimack Repertory Theater in Lowell. He had a flair too for set design and costumes. Gary was an equity actor and his theater career took him literally across country where he performed in California.
Of all the work Gary did, he was arguably most known for Charles Dickens’s Christmas Carol, which he performed many, many times for decades, both in full productions and in one- and two-man shows. He truly knew Charles Dickens, and Scrooge and Marley were given life not just at Christmastime but throughout his life. Gary knew the powerful social justice message of Dickens speaking out against the oppression of worker in mid-century England as he knew of the ongoing struggle of his fellow Lawrencian workers and the richness of the diversity of cultures, religions, and languages they represent.
Gary’s working and range of passions stretched far beyond the theater. He was a music teacher, a preschool teacher, Secretary for Public Affairs to Lawrence Mayor Le Febre, and worked in retail. His avocation was history, and he was active in understanding Lawrence and promoting Lawrence’s history. He had a particular focus and fondness for Lawrence’s own Robert Frost and had produced a pamphlet for a walking tour of Robert Frost’s history in Lawrence, still available today. He became a friend of Frost’s granddaughter Leslie and was scheduled to visit her in the DC area and pay a visit to the Frost archives in Virginia in January on a trip to Virginia to celebrate his 70th birthday with his twin brother Glenn, his brother Bob, and his sisters-in-law Kay and Hilary. Gary was so looking forward to this trip and it kept his spirits up as his physical health declined.
Gary lived a full and rich life. He was a deeply sensitive, courageous, and passionate man who overcame many challenges and lived his life caring about others. He’ll be deeply missed by his twin brother Glenn Keating and sister-in-law Kay of Lexington VA, his brother Bob Keating and sister-in-law Hilary of Nashua NH, his nephews Morgan Keating and his wife Jennifer of Milford NH, his nephews Joshua Campbell of Lexington VA and Rob Campbell of Cambridge OH, and 9 grandnephews and grandnieces. He was predeceased by his parents Rob and Barbara Keating of Lawrence whom Gary would probably want you to know were WWII vets who met in Europe as part of Patton’s 3rd Army. The rest is history.
Visitation hours will be Saturday December 28th from 10-11:30 at Dewhirst & Boles Funeral Home at 80 Broadway in Methuen, with the service to immediately follow. Burial will be at Bellevue Cemetery in Lawrence.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be given to the Point After Club, 15 Union Street, Suite 70, Lawrence MA 01840, the Lawrence History Center, 6 Essex Street, Lawrence MA 01840, or to a scholarship for the arts to be established for graduates of Lawrence High School in Gary’s name at LHSAA, c/o Lawrence High School, 70-71 North Parish Road, Lawrence, MA 01843 (please note Gary T. Keating Scholarship in the notes section of the check).
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