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There was nothing Marty wouldn’t do to support costumer’s of all shapes, sizes, skill, or age.  I remember the Balticon I showed up and begged him for just five minutes on the stage.  I came that year as “The Firebird” with a self-choreographed ballet piece from the ballet.  At that time, the first time you stood on stage was the actual performance.  Unfortunately for me, the stage was all carpet and I needed to change choreography to compensate.

Marty made it happen.  He even got my music to the tech crew so I could hear it as well as a little more than five minutes. He later added tech rehearsals to a part of the masquerade prep work.

A Marty Gear Masquerade is a Masquerade of its own caliber.  Nothing can compare.

When I took up needle and thread with the most outrageous costume ideas far outside my realm of capability, Marty just grinned at me and told me, “That’s my girl!”  He never questioned my ability to work with utterly stupid fabrics and the craziest of designs.

It is entirely because of Marty that I tried half of what I tried… but I’m not sure I can blame any swearing at my machine and fabric on him.

Marty lived larger than life and is the type of person I hope to grow up to be like… giving, encouraging, and joyful.

After my first (and thus far only time) competing in the Master Division, he came up to me and gave me a hug and told me it was about time.

I’m so very glad he was alive to see that.

When I showed up to Balticon with kids, his first question was: Well, do they have costumes? His second: And what about you? He scolded me, kindly, for not preparing my own costume but was pleased to hear I’d spawned a whole new generation of costumers.

He took to my kids as only Marty Gear could.  Taking them under Uncle Vlad’s cape and loving them unconditionally. As Joram progressed down his own path, making more and more of his own costumes, Marty was always there in full support not knowing how important a role model he was for my son. Joram’s proudest achievement, winning a Bobby Gear award for his workmanship on his last Young Fan’s costume.  He never knew Bobby, but he knew that she had to be nothing short of amazing if she was Marty’s wife. And there was Marty, our Uncle Vlad, with bright eyes and a wealth of supportive words.

I’ll never forget my last conversation with him.  It was on the end of a very terrible six months for me, six months of stress and heartache.  Six months of turmoil.  He gave me an extra big hug and reminded me that all things pass because the moon would rise soon. He let me know I would never be alone because if nothing else, I always had my Uncle Vlad to watch over me. I always had my friend, Marty Gear.

Life will never be the same without him. I have a huge Marty Gear sized hole in my heart, but I’m so thankful for it because I am a better person, mother, seamstress, thespian, fan, and all around human being for having Marty in my life for nearly three decades.

Farewell to the best vampire friend a girl could ask for, my costuming mentor, my stage buddy, and my dear Uncle Vlad.  My A+ is always yours…

–Lady O

PS For those who want to see a video of that Charlie’s Aviators skit from Balticon 2012 here’s the video: