Gerald Guiel
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With feelings of profound sadness and loss, my brothers Jon, Michael, and I must announce the recent passing of our beloved father, Gerald E. Guiel.
We certainly will try--out of unconditional admiration, love and respect for our father and because of the full and wonderful life he lived--to be as uplifting as possible here in conveying the depth and breadth of his importance to us and to all who knew him. At the same time, we are acutely aware that no words can mask our sorrow right now.
Gerald E. Guiel (or “Dad” or “Father” or “Jerry” or “Chick” as he also was commonly and affectionately known) was born in Holyoke, MA on May 25, 1941. He died on October 8, 2020 at 6:54 am at the Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA. During those 79 years of life, our father did so much. He also did for so many. Most importantly, he married the one and only true love of his life, our mom, Linda M. (Sands) Guiel. As if from a movie script, our parents met in 8th and 6th grade, dated exclusively for many years, and then were married on July 10, 1965. They could not wait to start a family, and they soon had four young boys, Jeffrey, James, Jon, and Michael. For nearly 55 years until our mom’s passing in October of 2019, our dad and mom were inseparable, constantly engaging as devoted husband and wife and supporting each other unequivocally as best friends and confidants. As a young man, our dad performed well academically and graduated from Holyoke Catholic High School. He was widely-regarded as a local basketball legend, perhaps known most famously for leading his team to a raucous, nail-biting overtime victory over perpetual rival Holyoke High School his senior year. He was also voted Class President at HCHS, a testament to his kind, genuine humorous and engaging nature. After graduating from HCHS, our father attended Westfield State College, majoring in education. From there, he achieved his masters and earned his doctorate. Our father started his teaching career in the Belchertown, MA school system, first for many years as a well-respected English teacher and then as a guidance counselor until his retirement. It would be an understatement to say that he not only taught--but truly inspired and guided--hundreds of students in his long career as an educator. Dad poured most of his unlimited focus and energy into his family, our home and his dozens and dozens of close, trusted friends. The old saying “to know him is to love him” could not be more true about our father. He spoke so well but also listened intently, always waiting for the most opportune time to provide his unconditional support or his glaringly obvious--but still loving—disapproval. He did not have the capacity to be fake. You knew in an instant if he was happy or sad. In many of those happier times, he often masterfully offered a quick-witted joke of his, to bring levity to any situation for all involved. We are biased of course as his sons, but we suspect MANY others would also attest that there simply was no one who could deliver a punchline like our father. Dad enjoyed many pleasures in his life for sure, but not the superficial or material kinds. Raising four sons--essentially only two years apart each--on an English teacher’s salary was not easy. However, our father would make EVERY sacrifice necessary to ensure we had a safe roof over our head, a modest but nice yard to play in, and plenty of food to eat…especially pizza, by far his all-time favorite food!! (Did we say he liked pizza??) Our father reveled in hosting birthday and Christmas parties at our house. He relished every round of golf with his buddies and perhaps even more, the beers and friendly banter that often followed. Dad also was a true Renaissance man. He excelled at almost everything he did or tried, not just in his studies, but also in basketball, lawn darts, horseshoes, ping-pong, tennis, golf. He could also repair cars, do plumbing, build and fix things with his hands, etc. etc. etc. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention our father’s lifelong love of music. He spent countless hours in his favorite chair in the living room of our home in Chicopee, passionately and meticulously learning the guitar chords and the lyrics for dozens of songs. My mom, my little brothers and I listened intently to those songs. We were amazed at how—with no disrespect intended whatsoever for our mom—the undisputed leader and unquestioned disciplinarian in our home could suddenly start singing with such a warm and soothing voice. Similarly, we marveled at how such a strong and vibrant man could so delicately finger pick the tiny stings in such a harmonious way. It was blissful to listen to him play and sing back then. In recent years especially, our father faced many life-altering challenges and hurdles. As he always had done throughout our entire lives, he tried to maintain for all of us the appearance of inner and outer strength, even when he was hurting inside. In addition to his own ever-accumulating set of medical issues, he had to watch nearly helplessly when our mom took ill, four long years before her passing in October of 2019. He did everything—literally everything—in his power for those long and difficult years to support her, cheer her on, and care for her. He loved her to the very end. During that same time, our father dealt with the unimaginable loss of his son, Jimmy in January of 2019. Those heartbreaks took a massive toll, to be certain. When the global pandemic set in and the lock-down ensued in March of 2020, effectively depriving our dad of the socialization that a person with his engaging spirit needed, his heart was broken even more deeply.
On Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 6:54am at BMH, his heart broke all the way, and he was gone. Gerald E. Guiel leaves Janice Mastaj of Holyoke, who is not only his cherished older sister, but a lifelong friend and role model to him as well. He also leaves her three children, his nephews, Joseph Jay and James Mastaj and his niece, Lynn Ann Lee, and all of their children. He leaves his beloved granddaughters, Alyssa and Katelyn Guiel of Chicopee and his beloved grandsons, Luke and Levi Guiel of South Hadley.
He leaves his son, Jon J. Guiel of Chicopee and Jon’s wife, Brenda Guiel. He leaves his son, Michael E. Guiel, also of Chicopee. He leaves his son, Jeffrey M. Guiel of South Hadley and Jeffrey’s wife, Davi Guiel. He leaves many dear friends—too many honestly to name them all-- who meant so very much to him. He also leaves former students like Alma de Maria (Matos) Dolan. Alma was in our father’s class in 6th grade in 1974. The two ultimately became and then remained lifetime friends. Alma not only cared for our mom before she passed, she continues to care for Michael to this very day. On behalf of our family, we invite all of you to a celebration of our father’s life on Friday, November 20, 2020 from 4:30pm-6pm at the Cierpial Funeral Home on 69 East St. in Chicopee, MA. That same day is also our mother’s birthday, when we will celebrate her life as well, and the life the two of them made together…as it should be. As for me, in closing…
Dad, I can only say that a person who was so blessed to have you in his life for over 54 years should not feel deprived…but I do. You not only were my father, you were my best friend, my absolute role model, and the person on this planet I have most aspired to be since childhood. That feeling will never change, it will never go away…I know that with every fiber of my being. Of all the thousands of life lessons you passed along to me in our time together, two stand out the most. The first was that you told me you believed a person didn’t always have to say they loved someone…it was better simply to show them—always and unconditionally. I am a grown man now. Even still, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I LOVED it when you told me you loved me. But, you were right, I always just knew you did anyway, because you showed me every day of my life, in some form or another. Dad, I would give ANYTHING to hear just one more of your classic jokes, to play just nine more holes of golf with you, to shoot just a few more baskets in our driveway together, to get you just one more beer while we watch boxing together with your friends, to hug you just once more after a South Hadley basketball game, to sit and have one last piece of pizza together…or to just sit—like recent world events have forced us to do—in our two cars parked side by side in your driveway, having a drink together and talking about our family, life, politics and religion. We made so many forward-looking plans during those talks, like going to Holyoke Country Club and the Holyoke YMCA together after your heart surgery and enjoying more time with Davi, Luke, and Levi and I on our back deck, where our two puppies always raced to you every time you did come to visit, because they knew what a kind soul you were.
I guess “Men plan and GOD laughs,” as the other old saying goes… Although I never doubted you when told me, you were right when you said that if you are a good person, you don’t need to tell other people that you are a good person—they will just know. Just so YOU will know, every single person who has reached out to me since your passing not only said how sorry they were for our loss, they made it a point also to say how much they always enjoyed your company and what an AMAZINGLY GOOD PERSON AND FRIEND you always were, Dad. Every…single…person… told me that about you, Dad…every…single…one.
Enjoy Heaven please father, for all time to come.Cierpial Memorial Funeral Homes
413 598-8573

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Published in The Republican from Oct. 17 to Oct. 18, 2020.
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11 entries
October 22, 2020
I am so sorry for the loss of your father, but I wanted you to know that this is one of the most beautifully written tributes to a life well done I have EVER read. Sending condolences to your entire family. I did not know your dad, but I happened upon his obituary and your words brought tears to my eyes. What a testament to a fathers love.
Kari
October 21, 2020
Our true condolences. He will always be remembered as the great man he was. Always a pleasure to share a beer and conversation with. You'll be missed! JG and Rachel Williams
Jon-Gary Williams
Friend
October 20, 2020
Jeff, Jon, Michael and the Guiel family - we are so sorry to here of your Dad's passing. Our hope is that the prayers of all those that knew and loved your family will sustain you through another unexpected loss in your lives. One day in the presence of our Lord, we will be reunited with our redeemed loved ones never to be separated again. We'll continue to keep your family in our prayers during this difficult time.

Skip and Janice Livingstone
Skip & Janice
Family
October 19, 2020
Alma Dolan
Student
October 19, 2020
Dearest Jeff, Jon and Michael. My heart broke and I know that your pain is so much more. I can’t imagine

Jefferey, thank you for your words that painted a portrait of my dear friend enough to resurrect him in some way, a way that made my heart swell with wonderful memories.

As close as I was to your parents, I know there was no question of their love for each other and for each of you. I’m so blessed to have you, my brothers of the heart, and thank you for how you shared them with the world.

To Mr. G, thank you for your never-ending patience in all the years you had to deal with me and so many others’ teenage angst in all those years you were such a support. I’ll so miss our heart to hearts on all things pertaining to life and, especially, the guitar. Be at peace, my wonderful friend. Say “Hi” to Linda and Jim.

Peace to you all, with all my heart.
Alma Dolan
Friend
October 19, 2020
Chick, one of the best people I have known in my lifetime. The last time I saw you was at the WMass Boys Basketball Tournament at the Civic Center. You were with your best friend, Joe Wall, another great guy! I have been saying this all my life, you had the best jump shot I ever saw, period. RIP, Chick, your gonna be missed. My condolences to the entire Guiel Family.
Joe Canata
Friend
October 19, 2020
So sorry to hear of your Dad's passing. My prayers are with you at this sad time.
Maureen Madden
Coworker
October 18, 2020
Jeff, Jon, Mike, I'm so very sorry to hear of the loss of your dad. He was a great guy. I will always treasure how kind and sweet your dad was toward me. My sincere condolences to you.
Riché`
Friend
October 18, 2020
Dear Jeff and family, we at the Chicken Queen Restaurant will miss your dad very much! He was always good for a talk or two! Your family has been hit pretty hard with the losses in your life, just know that we are all thinking of you and sending our deepest condolences! They each have touched our lives in their own way and we will miss them all! So very sorry for your loss!
Kathy Iwanicki
Friend
October 17, 2020
It’s often said that if you’ve had one or two great friends in your life that you had a good one.
My friend and his family were very kind to me.
I will never forget and send my heart felt condolences to his family.
Jeff Duclos
Friend
October 17, 2020
Jeff, I am so sorry for the loss of your Dad. I didn’t know him but he sounded like an awesome Dad. Take some comfort in the fact that he is with your mom and his son. You and your family will always hold him in your heart. He will be watching over all of you .
Donna Woods
Friend
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