Obituary: Gary Squier

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“One of his true talents was teaching. He was a great teacher,” said Phillip Squier of his father, Gary Squier, 72, who died peacefully on Saturday night, Nov. 24, in his daughter’s home in Solana Beach after battling pancreatic cancer. Phillip and his sister, Laura Baugh, and other family members were by his side.

Gary was best known to people in Idyllwild as an English literature and history teacher, and assistant editor/reporter/photographer and columnist for the Idyllwild Town Crier.

He grew up in Minneapolis and Heartland, Wisc., Phillip said. He went to Pasadena City College and later California State University, Los Angeles. His first teaching job was at Franklin Roosevelt High School in a tough L.A. neighborhood in the 1960s, Phillip said. “He wasn’t afraid, but I don’t think he had much of a choice back then.”

His first big teaching job, however, was at Marina High School in Huntington Beach. Gloria Roberts, of Nevada City, who knew Gary for 40 years, said it was a big step for him to sell his house there and move up to Idyllwild. They had met at Pasadena City College where Gary had just gotten out of the service and was earning a teaching degree with the G.I. bill, she said. He and her late husband, Anthony “Kal” Roberts, were Zeta Sig fraternity brothers together and shared a love of photography.

Roberts had invited Gary to a Thanksgiving holiday in Idyllwild. He walked around a bit, then said, ‘I think I could live here,’” she recalled.

“Keep in mind that wherever we lived was generally tied to my dad’s being able to write,” Phillip said. For instance, he took a caretaker’s job at Pathfinder Ranch in Garner Valley without knowing much about farm work. “We had cows, horses, chickens and sheep. After a few chores and mending a fence or two, my dad could sit down and write,” he said.

He and Laura grew up in a creative atmosphere, Phillip said. “Everything was creatively driven. Once we drove up to a San Francisco Peace March and picketed Richard Nixon,” he said. “Of course, we drove up in a VW bus, picking up hitchhikers along the way.”

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