Teacher, avid traveller, business owner, author, interior design artist, mother and grandmother: Gail Harvey was farewelled, on Sunday, by more than 300 people.
Teacher, avid traveller, business owner, author, interior design artist, mother and grandmother: Gail Harvey was farewelled, on Sunday, by more than 300 people.

Loving mother and grandmother farewelled

A beautiful lady, loving mother and adored grandmother was farewelled on Hamilton Island by more than 300 people, on Sunday.

Gail Amy Harvey passed away on Saturday, February 8.

On what would have been her 72nd birthday, family, friends and colleagues came together to celebrate the life of a lady described as kind, loving and generous, who was always ready to help other people.

She was remembered in a service, in the Hamilton Island Church, followed by drinks and lots of sharing of stories, in the Bougainvillea Marquee function room.

“She will be missed for her smile and the twinkle in her eye,” eldest son Chris said.

Gail, or Gigi, as she was known, had four children – Chris, Mark, Andrew and Stacy – and seven grandchildren, aged from eight to 21 years old.

She was born in Footscray, Victoria, and studied to be a teacher at the University College, Melbourne, completing an additional fourth year to be a trained infant teacher.

She fell in love with her husband Richard for his ‘charismatic nature and thirst for adventure’, according to her children, and they were married, aged 21 and 20, in a simple ceremony, in the church where Gail taught Sunday school.

She taught at the local kindergarten – a job she loved – and her enthusiasm would spill into home life, often doing puzzles and crafts with her own children.

Richard had a dream to sail around the world, so the couple bought a yacht and packed up the house, keeping only the things that would fit on a 51-foot yacht.

Five years of sailing around the South Pacific – with the children doing their schooling by correspondence - came to an end when the Harvey family sailed into Hamilton Island Harbour, to buy milk and bread, and never left.

After doing various jobs – Gail worked for Fantasea Cruises and the ice cream parlour – the couple bought the watersports section of the Hamilton Island dive shop, in January 1987.

Over the years, Hamilton Island Watersports grew significantly, with Gail an integral part of the daily operation of the business, caring for guests as if they were part of the family.

In 1997, Richard passed away.

“Mum really had to keep the family going, and keep the business going,” her daughter Stacy said.

“My brothers and I all helped to keep the business running.”

Gail travelled as much as she could – she had a sense of adventure and loved to explore – and had visited most continents, including campervanning around Europe.

About 10 years ago, Gail started writing and illustrating books for her grandchildren, putting her own travel experiences into the books, which are about exploring different countries and cultures.

The ‘Angie’s Adventures’ books feature an angel, called Angie, who arrives to help people and animals at the exact moment she is needed.

In all, 10 books were written and four have now been published. The character Angie is partly based on Gail’s eldest granddaughter, Sailor, now 21, who she took to Disneyland one year.

Following Tropical Cyclone Debbie, in 2017, Gail felt a call to write another book, ‘Batten Down the Hatches’, to help people plan for, and stay safe in, a cyclone.

Recently, she had taken up painting again, which she loved to do in her spare time, and she spent many happy hours doing arts and crafts with her grandchildren, who she adored spending time with.

Stacy thanked everyone who came to the service on Sunday – as well as those people who couldn’t make it but held their own memorials - and she also thanked Hamilton Island for their support.