Gail D. MacArgel

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July 1, 1939 - July 5, 2020
Born in Lancaster, PA
Resided in St. Peters, MO

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Gail D. MacArgel, age 81 of St. Peters, MO, passed away on July 5th, 2020 after a long illness.

Most obituaries attempt to paint a snapshot of a person’s life. While a picture paints a thousand words this extended obituary is our attempt at using words to paint a beautiful picture of a wonderful, talented woman’s life.

Gail was born Gail Ruth Dochat in Lancaster, PA on July 1st, 1939.   She fell in love with horses at an early age and became a pretty good horse-woman in her early preteen and teen years, riding in some local area New Jersey horse shows.

She was a varsity cheerleader and played field hockey in high school. She was quite a swimmer in her teens, training for the 1960 Olympics in the 50 and 100 yard sprints with the Rutgers Men’s Eastern Sprint Champion.  She graduated from Highland Park, H.S., in NJ, and attended Rutgers University into her Sophomore year.

She married Robert MacArgel of Colonia, NJ on May 10th, 1958 in Highland Park, NJ and embarked, supporting her husband on a 23 year military career in the US Air Force. During this time, she received an Associate of Arts "AA" degree from Okaloosa Walton Jr. College in Niceville, FL with high honors.

Gail loved salt water fishing ever since she was seven years old fishing from the rocks at the Manasquan inlet in NJ for large 10 to 16 pound bluefish. She became an excellent fisher-woman on Chesapeake Bay during Bob’s assignment to Tactical Air Command Headquarters (TACHQ) in the early 70’s and enjoyed competing with Bob’s male fishing buddies, catching big bluefish and often besting the best of them.

Gail’s dad taught her police judo in her mid-teens which she employed in marvelous fashion in Squadron Officer School (SOS) at Maxwell AFB, Alabama during 1965-1968 as the primary demonstrator of defensive techniques for women on a team of SOS instructors, teaching over 700 SOS student officers' wives how to protect themselves in difficult and dangerous situations.

She had a special affinity for large dogs, especially German Shepherds. She raised Kurt, her first shepherd in the late 50’s. He became the largest German Shepherd in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Joey, her second shepherd, was raised in the late 60’s and became Gail’s faithful companion.  He showed his true worth as a family guard dog the very night Bob departed the states to fly combat out of Thailand.  Joey placed himself on guard in the hallway leading to the bedrooms every night, until Bob’s return a year later.  He scared away an intruder attempting to break in from the attic to possibly harm Gail and her children.  It wasn’t until the 1970’s when she decided to raise a purebred Shepherd, Mark, for show.  He won some awards in puppy and young dog shows but Gail found she could not continue training, showing him, and immersing herself in her art, so he became a wonderful family pet, especially guarding Kevin, her youngest son.

She started her art career in 1970 in Mesa, AZ, painting many desert and Native American Indian scenes. She continued painting fairly large canvases to include large beach and marine scenes while living in Fort Walton Beach, FL, in the late 70s.

Gail put down her paintbrush for several years to try her hand at writing short stories, a novel, and publishing a book of Haiku and many poems, receiving the prestigious Golden Poet award twice.

She then picked up palette and brush in the late 80s, but it wasn’t until 2002 when she completely devoted herself to exclusively painting miniatures in oils to begin a 17-year career in miniature art.  She became one of the foremost miniature artists in the U.S. and internationally.  She called her style “soft realism.”

Among her many awards, she won Best-of-Show in the 2006 Miniature Art Society of Florida (MASF) show, the largest and most prestigious miniature art show, and she won Best-of-Show in the 2012 Miniature Painters, Sculptors, and Gravers Society (MPSGS) of Washington, D.C. show, the oldest miniature art show in the U.S.

She won many Best-of-Show awards at other significant shows to include Parklane Gallery, Kirkland, WA; Sierra Artist Gallery, CA; Art Gallery of Fells Point, MD; Council for the Arts, Chambersburg, PA: Moncks Corner, SC; and St. Peters Cultural Art Center, MO. She won many other awards, well over 100, which are too numerous to mention.

Two of her favorite galleries to show her miniature works have been the Seaside Art Gallery in Nags Head, NC, and Gallery One in Mentor, OH, one of the largest art galleries in the U.S.  She also loved to participate in the Midwest Gathering of Artists (MGA) show in Carthage, MO, for many years.

Gail’s paintings have been on display in four World Federation of Miniaturists (WFM) exhibits: Smithsonian; Tasmania, Australia; Washington, D.C.; and Moscow, Russia.

Her fabulous works have hung in many prestigious galleries throughout the U.S.  She has paintings in Canada, Mexico, England, Scotland, Germany, Italy, and Australia.

She was a signature member of the Miniature Artists of America (MAA), Cider Painters of America (CPA), and the Hilliard Society of England (HS).  Gail was also a member of the Oil Painters of America (OPA), Miniature Art Society of Florida (MASF), and Miniature Painters, Sculptors, and Gravers Society (MPSGS) of Washington, D.C.

She appeared in the “American Artists Magazine” of April 2006. Gail is written up in the notable book “Modern Masters of Miniature Art in America” by Wes Siegrist, published in 2010.  She is considered to be among the top 50 miniature artists in the world and some placed her among the top 10 miniature artists during her fairly brief 17 years as a miniaturist.

She was one of the most prolific, if not actually the most prolific miniaturist, producing over 1,400 highly-detailed and complex works from 1 x 2 inches to a maximum of 5 x 5 inches, many times using a brush with one red squirrel hair. During her 17-year career as a miniature artist, Gail did find some time to put down her brush and relax; joining a women’s bowling league, building her average to a respectable 170.

During her art career she owned and operated two art galleries; one in Fort Walton Beach, FL, and one in St. Charles, MO.

She taught painting in Fort Walton Beach for several years and held several workshops in various cities.

Gail was predeceased by her father, retired Rutgers University Professor George W. Dochat, her mother Helen Dochat, and one of her beloved sons Scott R. MacArgel of Valparaiso, FL.

She is survived by her loving husband of 62 years, Lt. Col. Robert E. MacArgel, USAF (Ret.) of St. Peters, MO; her beloved son Kyle B. MacArgel of Lynn Haven, FL.; her beloved son Kevin P. MacArgel of Santa Cruz, CA; her loving sister Joan Valeri of Lakewood, NJ; six grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; three nephews; and a first cousin.

After cremation, a memorial service with family and close friends will take place in the Fall of 2020.

Gail loved people.  Her best artistic efforts went into her work, touching the lives of many, and providing them with a look at the beauty of the world.

She will be greatly missed as a valuable and insightful human being who envisioned the world as it could be by capturing and preserving its beauty for generations.

Guestbook Entries

  1. Honey July 7, 2020 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    Heaven took. A wanderful person fron us agreat mother and the best mother in law any one can wish for mom i love and miss. You so much we will meet again love you mom honey

  2. Bobby July 7, 2020 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    Gail was my grandmother she was a strong woman she showed love where ever she went she would help anyone she is now sitting in heaven probably in front of her eisel painting a picture as she is looking down through the clouds at her family with a smile on and a cup of coffee sitting next to her she will truly be missed I love you grandmom Alexis and Isabella sends their love

  3. Guido Macargel July 7, 2020 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    candle 1One of the Greatest and Strongest woman I’ve ever known. To call her grandma was and is an Honor. You will be greatly missed. Love and miss you
    Guido and Dakota

  4. Erin MacArgel July 7, 2020 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    My Grandmother was one amazing woman.She had so many accomplishments in her lifetime and saw Beauty in the simplest of things. She was someone I’ve always looked up to and envied. She was easy going but bless the heart that messed with her or her family. She will be greatly missed and will forever be in my heart. I love you Grams ! I bet those wings look beautiful on you !

  5. Melanie July 7, 2020 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    candle 8Grandmom was a beautiful smart intelligent strong women who would do anything for anyone. She has taught us alot especially to be strong and never give up on your dreams she always be in my heart. The day you left us God got a special angel around his throne.I know you are looking over all of us love you. Love your granddaughter melanie,Nick and great granddaughters Katylynn Gail and Amber marie

  6. Samantha macargel July 7, 2020 at 9:18 pm - Reply

    I was told she was a great woman and mother and wife and friend .she also was a great inspiration and painter and i wish i could have met her she will be missed.

  7. Don MacArgel July 10, 2020 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    Gail was my sister-in-law. She was the complete package – fun to be around, smart, pretty, talented – you name it. You know she had to be a really strong woman to keep my brother Bob reined-in. To say she will be missed is such an understatement…. The world will be a lesser place without her.

  8. Don MacArgel July 10, 2020 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    Gail was my sister-in-law. She really was the complete package – fun to be around, smart, pretty, exceptionally talented, and really strong. You know she had to be strong, the way she kept my brother Bob reined-in. The world will definitely be a lesser place without her gracious presence.

  9. Melanie Smith July 11, 2020 at 8:58 am - Reply

    We are heartbroken by your loss. Gail was such an amazing artist and we loved representing her. Her art has enhanced our lives – Seaside Art Gallery

  10. Honey July 14, 2020 at 5:59 am - Reply

    Mom no day goes by where i dont miss. You i love you

  11. Everett Matthews July 17, 2020 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    Was good having Gail for a neighbor. Injoyed visiting with her and Bob

  12. Kevin MacArgel July 20, 2020 at 5:01 am - Reply

    candle 3I came to you on an early morning the beginning of April …..I became your April Poet . Created from a real LOVE that only your words could describe ….. you taught me about devotion , of strength , how to walk through the rough patches , and that it was O.K. to cry …..just stand again and begin once more . Im doing this again Mama ….. this time it’s you I see off to finally rest after too much battle . You will always be the amazing person that spoke your mind and lived your way …there was never anything that was going to stop you ….and I would watch and learn . Your teachings of what lies ahead and how I must face my fears is why I still through it all carry on . So many obstacles stood in my way and each time you would point which way I should go and find my way . We never liked goodbyes did we …..and so we won’t start now . I always will hear your voice and the LOVE within the words you gave me , and cherish every moment we laughed . I must believe you were being tested here to be placed higher than most in the next place you arrive to provide direction there . Ill remember it ALL MOTHER ….. for as long as time exists in all I see and hear and touch because you were there and you are my UNFORGETTABLE REASON . Mama ….until we are together again I have your LOVE I keep with me ….. Ill never be lost . Your Loving Youngest Son ……. Kev

  13. Sandy J Higgins July 20, 2020 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    Beautiful Gail , an angel in Heaven now , yet she will always live on in my home with her beautiful artwork ! Gail was in Carthage Midwest Artists Gathering show and her art was so special and beautiful !! We will always think of her lovely lady , I always thought of her every day looking at her art hanging in my home !! Praying for all the family , Peace sweet Gail , Love , Prayers Bob and family !!!!

  14. Steve and Suzanne Rust July 24, 2020 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    Always a lady. Always shared a smile.

  15. joan valeri July 26, 2020 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    joan valeri july 26,2020
    I only knew you a short time before you “flew”away with your AIRFORCE love of your life and began your amazing life.

    I do remember you were a bit of a rebel-probably what got you to so much success .We have the same interests

    (EXCEPT THE FISHING) and probably would have been good friends .You have always been in my heart.

  16. Honey August 4, 2020 at 6:58 am - Reply

    Mom you allways in my heart i miss you honey

  17. Erin Macargel August 4, 2020 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    Thinking of you ❤️ And missing you dearly Grams
    I love you -Erin

  18. Honey August 12, 2020 at 6:28 am - Reply

    Mom no day goes by where. I dont miss you. Love you honey

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