Gary Chandler, long-time Amherst, New Hampshire resident, died peacefully in Bedford, NH on July 10, 2023. He was 92 years old. Gary was born on August 19, 1930 in New Orleans to Madge and Herman Chandler. Following a Louisiana childhood in which pranks and misadventures threatened to lead him astray, Madge and Herman sent Gary to Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pennsylvania. By all accounts, he got his act thoroughly together, achieved the rank of Captain, was a three-sport varsity athlete, captained both the baseball and football teams, and graduated in 1949.
Gary spent one year at West Point and then transferred to Colgate University, where he was a standout multi-sport athlete; especially in football. He was named one of the ten best college tight ends in the country in 1953 and captained the Colgate football team in his senior year. The New York Giants invited him to try out for the team but a knee injury ended his football career. Since graduating in 1954, Gary had a love for Colgate that took a back seat to no other alumnus.
Gary met his wife Arthora (also known as Ann) in November 1948 on a blind date at the Valley Forge equivalent of his Senior Prom. They dated long distance for four years and married in 1953, between Gary’s junior and senior years of college. Gary joined the Air Force after graduation and became a fighter-jet pilot. He confessed to getting lost on one night flight and accidentally invading Mexico.
Gary went on to become a salesperson in various industries, including travel and transportation, a career that took him and his family on excursions to North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the South Pacific.
Gary retired at the advanced age of 52 and spent the next 35 years -- into his late-eighties -- skiing all over the world, playing golf, and following his beloved Colgate sports teams around the country. In 2003, he scored a hole-in-one on the 15th hole at the Amherst, New Hampshire Country Club.
Gary was the most cheerful, optimistic, charming, generous, and gregarious of men, making friends easily wherever he went and never losing touch with those he loved. He enjoyed gathering with his coffee group of retired friends. Most Saturday mornings throughout his adult life, he would get out his address book and call his friends to laugh, or to commiserate, or to reminisce about long-ago adventures, or to talk sports. He was in loyal, steadfast, weekly contact with scores of friends from childhood, Valley Forge, Colgate, and the Air Force until the very end of his days.
Gary is survived by his wife, Ann Chandler of Bedford, NH, daughter Casey Chandler and her husband Carl Salisbury of Westfield, NJ, son Gary Dean Chandler of Joshua Tree, CA, granddaughter Jill Chandler Salisbury of Denver, CO and grandson Cameron Salisbury of Toms River, NJ.
A gathering to celebrate Gary’s life will be held at a future date to be announced. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Gary’s memory in support of Colgate Football to Colgate University (“Maroon Council” noted on a check memo line), PO Box 313, Canajoharie, NY 13317-0313 or the Amherst NH Fire Association, PO Box 1199, Amherst, NH 03031.
Gary loved the band Earth, Wind and Fire. In 2018 he drove from his home in Amherst to Hamilton NY to see EW&F in concert at Colgate University’s homecoming. If you are so inclined, cue up a tune from EW&F, groove to some great 1970s pop, and think of Gary. He would love that.