Thad M. McGar 1927-2013

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MCGAR THAD 4833853_4833853_AuthorPhotoThad Martin McGar died peacefully at home on December 30, 2013 at the age of 86.

A long-time resident of the Chelsea neighborhood, Thad was active in his block association and with Chelsea Community Church where he managed the Candlelight Carol Service Choir for 25 years in addition to serving as a Trustee and Chair of the Board.  He also revived and ran the Music in Chelsea concert series from 1991 to 2002. Proceeds from the series benefited the restoration fund of the host St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Chelsea.

He volunteered for many years at Brooklyn Botanical Garden, working in the Bonsai collection and serving as interim keeper of the collection when the Bonsai master died unexpectedly.  He was also active with the New York Community Chorus and the Hudson Guild writing class.

Thad self-published Florida’s Way (and other stories), a collection of short stories, in 2012.

Thad was born in 1927 in Houston, Texas to Mike Martin and Nettie Odessa (nee Hare) McGar and grew up in East Texas, England and Venezuela.  He served in the U. S. Army just after World War II and earned a BFA at the University of Texas in Austin on the GI Bill. 

He came to New York City in 1952 and trained in the then new technique of color transparency retouching under Estelle Friedman.  He became one of the top retouchers in the city and worked on the images of some of the most famous models of the ‘50’ s through ‘80’s. In the 1960’s, he introduced transparency-retouching technology first to London and then to Hamburg, Germany, creating Creative Colour companies in both cities with his associates from Creative Color in New York.  In the early 1970’s, he opened Welbeck Studio in New York with partner Shelly Clayman.  He retired in 1989.

He touched many people with his light.  He is survived by his husband, Paul Bodden, his mother-in-law and sisters-in-law, 5 nephews and 8 great-nieces and nephews.

A memorial service is scheduled for April 5 at Chelsea Community Church at 346 West  20th Street, New York, NY 10011 at 12 noon.  Donations may be made to Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Habitat for Humanity or to Chelsea Community Church at the address above.


St. Peter’s Dedicates Historic Painting

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UnveilingofWWIIpaintingatSt crpd & rszdWWII veteran Rick Carrier, center, was invited by St. Peter’s new Interim Pastor, the Rev. Stephen Harding, right, to participate in the unveiling of this historic  painting above its side altar. The painting is entitled “Our Lord Blesses a Soldier and Sailor” and was done in 1946 by retired U.S. Army Colonel and former St. Peter’s member Theodore Witonski, who donated it to the church and whose later work was collected by major museums and galleries.  In the 1950s St. Peter’s congregation felt it was too militaristic for a church and decided that it would be covered.  The unveiling, held during St. Peter’s worship service on November 10 in honor of Veterans’ Day, drew media interest. Peter Witonski, the artist’s son, left, attended, as did several dozen members of the NYC Fire Department.  Rev. Harding also serves as the Protestant Chaplain for the first responders.

Musician Jerry Scott: Memorial Service, May 4, 2013

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SCOTT Jerry Memorial Photo 0001 crpd & rszdJerry Scott, extraordinary Manhattan entertainer whose stellar renditions over a span of 40 years encompassed every genre of music from show tunes to standards to pop to operetta to ragtime, died peacefully on April 4 at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx after a valiant struggle with cancer, at age 67.  On any given night, his repertory might range from versatile interpretations of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin or Gershwin to tearing down the rafters with a raucous sing-along in an over-packed, noisy room. He had a repertoire of more than 2500 songs. Jerry considered Chelsea Community Church “his NYC church” and in addition to accompanying various Church soloists numbered many CCCers as friends.  At Jerry’s request, his memorial service was held at  Chelsea Community Church in St. Peter’s Church, on May 4.

CCC to Host Memorial Service for Neighbor John Johnson

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JOHNSON John Johnson

John Johnson at his tree pit garden on West 22nd Street (photo: Andra Gabrielle)

On March 3rd at 2 p.m. Chelsea Community Church will host a memorial service for long-time Chelsea neighbor John Johnson, who died January 19 at the age of 88. The service will be at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 346 West 20th Street. All are welcome. A retired seaman originally from New Jersey, Johnson was a decades-long resident of West 22nd Street. Read more


Merle Lister Honored by Hudson Guild

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LISTER Merle 2012 headshot

Hudson Guild award recipient Merle Lister

CCC member and trustee Merle Lister received Hudson Guild’s Senior Service Award at the Guild’s 2012 Dr. Elliott Celebration awards dinner on December 6th. Merle, a long-time community activist, moved to New York City from Toronto in 1962 and opened a dance studio in Chelsea. The following year she began teaching dance for the Guild on the first floor of the original settlement house building. In 1987 the Guild’s senior services director hired her to share a programming position, and she became involved in teaching dance and exercise classes, worked with the ticket club, ran birthday parties and led trips for the Guild’s senior center. Her seniors dance company performed throughout the City. She also joined Jim Furlong’s Community Theater Group, performing in a number of plays — once on a Chelsea pier in   celebration of the Guild’s 100th anniversary.


Bible Challenge

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The “Challenge” Part of the Bible Challenge – Rev. John Magisano, Pastoral Counselor, Chelsea Community Church

The truth is that the surface of the Bible is not always even interesting.  And yet when one does finally get into it, in one way or another, when one at last catches on to the Bible’s peculiar way of saying things, and even more to the things that are being said, one finds that he is no longer questioning the book but being questioned by it.” – Thomas Merton, Opening the Bible.

Our Bible Challenge group is proving to be an experience like no other.  Our reading program is based loosely on the curricula developed at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Austin, TX and is currently in use in hundreds of churches throughout the country. We are endeavoring to read the Book from cover to cover.  While none of us are total Bible neophytes, we are discovering a great many things we never knew before. Read more


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