Born in Springfield and raised in Republic, Mo., Gary, a master potter, established the Spring Street Pottery in Eureka Springs in 1970, operating the business and creating elegant art pottery for the next 40 years.
Gary was the only child of Jo Ann and the late Howard "Wormey" Eagan of Republic. He shared his life in Eureka Springs the past 32 years with his partner, Steve Beacham, whom he adored.
A talented artist, Gary was also known for his kindness and generosity, supporting and sponsoring countless individuals and organizations over many years. His warm heart and kind ways earned him the love and respect of all who dealt with him. He was a mentor, teacher, inspiration and role model for many.
Moving to Eureka Springs when the town was nearly boarded up, Gary was a pioneer in the revitalization of the historic downtown, restoring both the commercial building where the pottery was established, and his Victorian home of many years, Fairmont Cottage. He was among early counter-culture arrivals who settled here, paving the way for generations of artists and alternative lifestyle folks who followed. He was a big part of establishing the Eureka Springs that has become a draw for so many.
Gary loved to travel, and, with Steve, explored much of the world. They made several trips to China soon after it opened to the west, and regularly toured in Europe and around the United States. He also made a pilgrimage to India. His experiences abroad were often reflected in his art.
Gary had a refined palate and savored the fine food and drink of many cultures. He appreciated and collected art and relished the beauty of the natural world. He also took pride in maintaining a beautiful home where he enjoyed entertaining his many friends. He was an avid supporter of local artists.
A graduate of Republic public schools, Gary went on to earn Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Missouri, and a Bachelor of Fine Art diploma from the University of Kansas at Lawrence. His pottery has been shown at many shows and galleries and is held in private collections around the world. One of his last commissions was an expansive dinnerware set for Alice Walton.
Gary is survived by Beacham, of the home; his mother Jo Ann and aunt Betty; several cousins, nieces and nephews and scores of very dear, longtime friends and admirers, all of whom will miss him terribly.
A memorial service will be held at the First Christian Church in Republic, Mo., Saturday, Sept. 17 at 10:30 a.m. with visitation to follow.
A local memorial celebration of Gary's life will be held Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 5:30 p.m. at The Space, 2 Pine St., Eureka Springs. Memorial donations in Gary's name may be made to the Good Shepherd Humane Society or Clear Spring School, two organizations which Gary regularly supported.