Gay Tapley Carbonneau, 95

Gay Tapley Carbonneau, musician, educator, and long-time resident of Quincy, died soon after her 95th birthday on Thursday, March 28th, surrounded by her family and close to her home in Quincy, MA.

Gay Tapley Carbonneau

Over the course of her 21-year career with Quincy Public Schools, Gay taught music at more than seven of the city’s elementary schools with as many as 1,500 students each year. She had a memory for names and families and could often recognize the talented 9-year-old in the face of a 40-year-old waitress saying, “Hey, you were my music teacher at Hunting School when I was in third grade!” Prior to teaching, Gay worked at WNAC radio as a copywriter and at one point had her own music radio show. She also had an extensive career as a church soloist and choir director and taught piano privately for many years.

Gay was born March 3, 1929, in Portland, ME, the only child of Olive (Barker) and Justice Water M. Tapley, Jr. As a child she loved to perform and became an accomplished pianist and vocalist who went on to study music at Eastman School of Music and the New England Conservatory. In 1948, she was selected to travel to postwar Europe as a representative of the U.S Federation of Music Clubs. During this trip she discovered her ability to connect with people through music and developed an interest in travel and other cultures that shaped her perspective throughout her life.

Gay met her husband Maurice Carbonneau at the Conservatory, and they married in 1958, first settling in N. Weymouth. In 1961 the couple moved across the bay to Houghs Neck in Quincy and started a family. When her children reached school age, Gay started teaching in Quincy where her husband was also teaching music at North Quincy High School.

Gay retired from teaching in 1991 and took advantage of her “free” time to pursue her many social, cultural, and creative interests–as a founding member of the Houghs Neck Garden Club; member of Quincy Choral Society, ADK international sorority for women educators, and two book clubs; subscription holder to Boston Symphony Orchestra, Huntington Theater, and the Museum of Fine Arts; regular participant in OLLI courses at UMass; and traveler in Europe, Asia, and South, Central, and North America. She continued to teach piano into her 90s and was deeply involved with the raising and care of her grandchildren. But most of all, she was a caring and valued friend, neighbor, and family member whose bright perspective and sense of humor made the world an easier, better place.

Gay is survived by her son David, his wife Kristine and their children, Madeleine and Lucien, of Melrose; daughter Danielle and her husband Joshua Roberts, of Washington, DC; daughter Dianne MacDonald, her husband David and their children, Maura and Collin, of Quincy; and a loving extended family of cousins, nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband.

Visiting hours will be held at Keohane Funeral Home, 785 Hancock St., Quincy, Saturday, April 13th, 2:00 to 6:00. A memorial service will be held at Bethany Congregational Church, 18 Spear St. Quincy at 1:00 April 27th.

In lieu of flowers please consider donating to the Houghs Neck Community Council Scholarship Fund, the Houghs Neck Garden Club, Quincy Choral Boosters or Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). See www.Keohane.com for directions and online condolences.

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