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Thursday, October 25, 2012


  There is one less adventuress in the world. Our neighbor, Gay Ingram, passed away this morning.     Last month she learned she had a rare form of cancer.  For seven weeks she fought it bravely.
  Francesca and I were lucky to live across the street from this remarkable woman and her musician husband, Bobby. 
  We spent many evenings drinking wine and sharing stories. When Gay told us one of hers we'd be thinking, "Whoa, this mild-mannered lady did THAT?"  So many adventures as a sailor, stunt woman, and world traveler, she could have been Amelia Earhart's sister.   I once wandered into a Tai Chi class and should not have been surprised to see my friend leading it.
  She was born in '42 with salt water in her veins.  She couldn't swim enough.  In in the early 60's our tall, leggy, friend found work training Flipper.  When the Seaquarium acquired a killer whale she figured out how to ride on its back.
A few years later she became a staunch advocate of these magnificent mammals and the need to set them free.  
 The Ingrams befriended the many artists who passed through Coconut Grove years ago.   Bobby had a nightly gig playing at Monty's back then.  You'd see Gay cheering him on in the audience and visitors like Neil Young quietly accompanying him on stage.  
   She told us about sailing to Mexico with Joni Mitchell and David Crosby, and booking Jimmy Buffet and Steve Martin for $25 a night in the Grove night club she managed. She and Bobby were very close to the reclusive singer, Fred Neil, who lived cati-corner to them.
  Every year Gay and Bobby would meet backstage with their old buddies, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, after their South Florida concerts.  These people were not stars to them, just friends.
  Quite distant from showbiz, Gay found the time to raise two fine children and mother many of their friends.  At their parties I'd see so many young folks look around. smile, and say,"I almost grew up here!".
  She had a big heart and it was always open to help others. When my first marriage was tanking Gay was there to say, "Our little cottage is vacant.  Why don't you come live with us until you figure things out?"  I did.
  Her quiet wisdom was balm to many. For the last twenty-five years she worked at the UM helping students make their way through marine science grad school.  After work of course, she'd step outside and swim laps off Bear Cut Beach.
  A few nights ago Graham Nash and David Crosby performed at the annual BMI Awards.  Before Nash sang "Our House", he dedicated it to Gay.  
  It got me thinking about how most of us aspire to live in the warm, loving home the song describes.   For 45 years, Gay and her husband did just that (with a little extra music and raucous laughter thrown in).  We should all be so lucky.


  1. What a nice tribute Glenn. I went to school with her kids- both Liam and Bryn,and grew up to know both Gay and Bobby whom I adore. The Ingram family are like several anchoring threads that are interwoven in the fabric that makes the grove "the grove". Hugs to Bobby and Bryn. You two are in my thoughts.

  2. Thank you for writing such a wonderful tribute. My family has been friends with the Ingrams for over 40 years; my dad and Bobby played and sang together. When I lost my dad a year ago, Bobby and Gay came immediately to be by our sides. It was a shock to learn of her passing, and we will continue to pray for Bobby and Brynie. What a treasure they have in their memories of such a wise and gentle woman who cared so deeply about others.

  3. Thank you, so well written and all so true. I am one of those U. Miami students who were lucky to have Gay as a friend. 25 years later, still a beloved friend and so many memories of fun, wrapped up in deep wisdom. Gay was always ready to do things. Just a phone call and off we were walking to the Grove, saying hello to what looked like a thousand friends. Or casually stopping at the Mayfair hotel to have a beer with David Crosby. Or going backstage at a Bob Dylan concert. Or pulling out from the attic amazing Japanese kimonos to dress up for Halloween (first prize as samurai and geisha at a contest). Dancing at the Taurus. Swimming anywhere. And just talking. So much to talk about. She wanted to fight this. She was ready to win. But she was forced to swim away.

  4. Thank you for writing such a heartfelt note and thank you Villy for posting this to the UM RSMAS listserve. I always appreciated her help at RSMAS and will remember her for her soft-spoken kindness.