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Gilbert Markle

Gilbert Markle Obituary
Dr. Gilbert Scott Markle

SPENCER - Gil Markle passed away on March 20th at his home in Spencer after a brief illness. He was 74.

Gil enjoyed a distinguished and unusually multi-faceted career in academia, in educational travel and in the recording industry. He was a Fulbright scholar, a tenured professor of philosophy at Clark University, founder of the American Leadership Study Groups (ASLG) and creator of Long View Farm recording studio in North Brookfield, Mass.

Gilbert Scott Markle was born in Jersey City, N.J., on July 7, 1940, son of the late Gilbert J. Markle and Constance Gates Markle. Gil is survived by his loving companion of more than 30 years, Kathy Mueller; his daughter, Abigail Stayart, and her husband, Andrew, of Chicago, IL; his son, David Markle, and his wife, Karolina Markle, of Shrewsbury, Mass.; two grandsons, Benjamin and Roark Markle, also of Shrewsbury; and two grandchildren soon to be born to Abigail, whom he was looking forward to meeting. He is also survived by his ex-partner, Nancy Wilcox, mother of his two children; by his brother, William Markle, and his wife, Viki, of High Falls, NY; and by his sister, Janet Markle, and her partner Bryce, of Petaluma, Calif.

After graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1961 with a degree in physics, Gil went to France as a Fulbright Scholar to receive the first of two doctoral degrees, a Doctorat d' Universite from the University of Paris-Sorbonne. He later received his second PhD in the philosophy of science from Yale University in 1968.

To earn extra money in Paris, Gil took American students on tours through France. This experience convinced him that leading American high school students on educational tours of Europe might be a good business model.

Soon after his return to the US in 1965, Gil founded ALSG, which grew to become one of the leaders in the American educational travel industry. From the late '60s through the late '80s, ALSG's headquarters were at Worcester Airport, where over 50 people worked day and night to ensure the company's success. In the early '90s, Gil founded Passports, ALSG's successor company in the same industry. Passports continues to be a highly successful and innovative sponsor of educational trips overseas.

As a professor of philosophy at Clark University from 1966 through the mid-70s, Gil became famous for the size of his classes. This was a testament to his popularity and teaching skills, and, as was written at the time, to his "exciting and compelling approach to teaching academic subjects utilizing a mixed media compilation of tape recorders, slide projectors, live actors and a miniature computer." Gil was clearly ahead of his time. Several of his students, who later became well-established in the field of film and video production, remarked recently that they owe their careers to Gil Markle.

Perhaps the accomplishment of which Gil was the most proud, and for which he is best known, was his creation of the world-renowned Long View Farm recording studio. Gil purchased the 150-acre horse farm in North Brookfield as a residence in 1973. The recording studio began as a hobby, Gil remarked, "but then the hobby got out of hand." Surveying his newly-created, state-of-the-art recording facility, located on one the most beautiful pieces of real estate in central Massachusetts, Gil decided to make it available professionally. The rest is history.

Starting in 1974, many of the top recording artists in the world came to call Long View their home, including The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Cat Stevens, Arlo Guthrie, Aerosmith, Stuff, The J. Geils Band, Don McClean, Pat Metheny, Graham Nash and John Belushi. More at studiowner.com.

Gil loved the beaches of Tobago and Cape Cod; his many dogs and cats; black & white movies, and most especially, reading. At 74, Gil continued to be involved in his student travel business, and enjoyed re-mastering recordings for his many musician friends. Upon learning of Gil's passing, many of his friends have remarked that they had rarely known a more kind and generous man.

A few years ago, reflecting on why a hugely popular teacher would leave a tenured position at Clark University, Gil confessed to having become bored with teaching. "My career took a decided left turn after I bought Long View Farm," he reflected. "I rejected the warm, comfortable career offered by a tenured faculty position and hit the sidewalks again. Besides," he added, "ALSG was exploding into a multi-million-dollar company, and I was tearing apart a 100-year-old farmhouse called Long View. I felt I didn't stand to better my record by continuing, so I stepped off at the top of the curve."

Just as he did on March, 20, 2015.

There are no calling hours. Burial will be private, at the convenience of the family.

A celebration of Gil's life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 16, at the Castle Restaurant in Leicester, Mass.

Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Mar. 21 to Mar. 22, 2015
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