Chicago gay activist Gary Skala passed away Nov. 6 in his late parents' home in Hampton Bays, NY. In Chicago, he was active with the Metropolitan Community Church, the Night Ministry, and theaters including Bailiwick Repertory.
Skala maintained residences in both Hampton Bays and Chicago and spent his winters in recent years in Florida. He was planning to drive from Hampton Bays to Florida Nov. 15. His death was sudden and unexpected and he died in bed of natural causes. Ironically, within the last year, Skala had lost 70 pounds or so and was feeling really good about life. He visited friends, including Chuck Phelan in Los Angeles the second week in October and was "at the top of his game."
There will be visiting on Friday, Nov. 30, from 2-4:30 and 7-9 p.m. at Overton Funeral Home at 172 Main Street in Islip, NY. RSVP to: Phelan at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Skala's funeral service will be at Bay Shore Congregational Church at 1860 Union Boulevard in Bay Shore, NY on Saturday, Dec. 1, at noon, officiated by Rev. Pat Baumgardner of MCC New York, with burial at Oakwood Cemetery in Bay Shore.
As Skala wanted, after the service we will have a party to celebrate his life at the Irish Coffee Pub at 131 Carleton Avenue in East Islip, NY, about two miles from the cemetery, with music, pictures and more.
Anyone who would like to make donations in lieu of flowers may do so to Skala's favorite charity, Sylvia's Place for Homeless Youth at Metropolitan Community Church of New York, online at mccnycharities.org/donate.html or by mail at MCCNY Charities, Inc., 446 West 36th Street, New York, NY 10018. MCCNY Charities, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit, so all donations are tax-deductible. Please mark your donation to Sylvia's Place in Memory of Gary Skala.