Gale S. (Stubbs) McClung (1923 - 2014)

Obituary
  • "Just back from hospital myself for massive back surgery, so..."
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AMHERST - Longtime Amherst resident Gale S. McClung, 91, died Wednesday, July 30, 2014, at the Elaine Care and Rehabilitation Center in Hadley, with her loving family at her side.

Florence Nightingale "Gale" Stubbs was born July 1, 1923, in Akron, Ohio, to Elmer and Florence (Harris) Stubbs. From Akron, the family moved to Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

After graduating from Mount Holyoke College in 1945 she moved to New York City and worked as an IBM Systems Service Representative. Renting an apartment in Greenwich Village with a group who called themselves "the five lovelies," she shared many adventures with the young women who remained lifelong friends.

In 1949, she married nature writer Robert M. McClung. They had two sons, Bill and Tom, and lived in Harrison, New York, and Chevy Chase, Maryland, before settling in Amherst in 1962. As editor of the Mount Holyoke College Alumnae Quarterly Magazine from 1962 until her retirement in 1989, she used her position to give voice to students' needs and addressed the issues of racism, sexism, and gay and lesbian rights with an open and progressive attitude.

This spirit of openness was also an important part of her life as a very active member of the First Congregational Church in Amherst. A choir member for over 50 years, she was the first woman to chair the Board of Worship. She served as moderator and treasurer and organized the annual Cranberry Fair and Merry Musical.

She participated in community outreach, education, music, capital campaigns and clergy search committees. An avid snapshot artist, Gale also acted as historian and recorder of social events.

Accompanying herself on her baritone ukulele, she entertained many with her sing-alongs and program of "Nutty and Naughty" songs. Her talent for writing appropriately funny and touching lyrics to familiar melodies made her a hit at friends' birthdays, class reunions and retirement parties.

Gale edited and co-wrote two books for American History Research Associates, "The Book of Presidents" and "Distinguished American Women." With her husband Bob, she compiled and edited "At War and At Home," letters to and from members of the McClung family during World War II.

For a time she served as an Amherst Town Meeting member, often canceling out her husband's vote. She was a member of the Traveler's Club for which she made many presentations.

In 1968 the McClungs built a vacation home on Cape Cod where they enjoyed many summers and weekends. She loved to take walks, relax, read, engage in lively discussions, and play games, especially raucous card games of "Oh, Hell" with family and friends.

Gale was a member of the founding board of the retirement community, Applewood at Amherst, and moved in there one year after her husband died in 2006. She was active in the Applewood community and counted many friends there.

Ever the optimist, Gale was full of fun, bright and perceptive, with a great sense of humor. She radiated joy and smiled readily and was deeply loved by her family and friends. In reflecting on her life, she wanted everyone to know the joy she had felt.

She is survived by her two sons, William McClung and his wife Emily of Pelham, and Thomas McClung and his wife Anne of Normandy, France, and two grandchildren, Gregory McClung of Hamburg, Germany, and Melissa McClung of Hadley.

She was predeceased by her brother William Stubbs and his wife Ruth of Bath, New York.

Gale nurtured friendships with people of all ages and was a cherished adviser to many of her nieces and nephews, extended family and friends.

Memorial gifts may be made to Mount Holyoke College and First Congregational Church of Amherst.

A memorial service, which she wished to be a happy celebration of her life, will take place Saturday, Nov. 1, at 1 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Amherst.

Obituary and memorial register at www.douglassfuneral.com.

To sign a Guest Book, express condolences, share memories and read other obituaries, go to www.gazettenet.com/obituaries.
Funeral Home
Douglass Funeral Home
87 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01002
(413) 253-3407
Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on Aug. 5, 2014
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