Gail Harper, a Sayville icon and portrait painter for six decades, died on Christmas Eve. She was 80 years old.
Harper painted portraits professionally for six decades and taught art and music to generations of children at her studio, Gail Harper Art & Music, on South Main Street in Sayville.
“Gail Harper was the most talented and creative soul,” the Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce said in a statement posted on Facebook. “An incredibly creative and skilled artist and musician.
“For many years she taught and instilled music and art to so many local children who have grown into confident and accomplished young adults,” the statement continued.
The chamber said funeral services for Harper are planned for this Sunday and Monday, and are as follows:
Sunday, Jan. 3
Wake services will be held at Overton Funeral Home, 172 Main St. in Islip, from 2-4:30 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.
Monday, Jan. 4
A funeral Mass will be celebrated to honor Harper’s life at
St. John Nepomucene Roman Catholic Church, 1140 Locust Ave. in Bohemia. Burial services will follow at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Bay Shore.
“I’m heartbroken … We texted emojis and notes daily up until she joined the angels,” Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce President Eileen Tyznar said. “Gail was one of my dearest friends, and I’m eternally grateful to her for giving my son the gift of expression and communication.”
Tyznar noted that Harper taught her now adult son Matthew music lessons for 22 years, including most recently, guitar lessons. Harper also taught piano and violin to Matthew Tyznar.
“He will continue to play and compose music as you always said, Gail,” Eileen Tyznar said in a Facebook post, “but now in your honor.”
Harper worked in Old World style and was lauded as a rare talent in her field.
View the YouTube video below to watch her share her broad range of artistic talent in her own endearing way.