Thad 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.