Gil Wechsler died on Friday, July 9 at the age of 79 at The Solana Doylestown.
He was the eldest child of Arnold and Miriam (Steinberg) Wechsler.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY as a teen Gil delighted in directing and performing in theatrical productions staged at summer camps he attended in New Jersey. His interest in theater was formalized with a BS in theater from New York University and a MFA in drama from Yale University. Directly after graduating from Yale he toured Europe and the United States as the lighting designer for the Harkness Ballet. Gil went on to serve as the lighting designer for theatrical productions at; The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, The Stratford Festival in Ontario, The Lyric Opera in Chicago, The Chatelet Theatre in Paris and The Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires.
In 1976 Gil became the first resident lighting designer at The Metropolitan Opera. He retained that position for 20 years, lighting over 110 productions including; La Boheme, Aida, Turandot, Tosca, Carmen, The Ring Cycle, Billy Budd, Dialogues of the Carmelites, The Marriage of Figaro and many of the first televised Live From The Met broadcasts. His creativity constantly engaged by the stream of A-list set and costume designers and directors who collaborated to mount new productions on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House. It was in the opera house on Christmas Eve of 1979 that Gil met his future husband Doug Sardo. They moved from Manhattan to their home in Upper Black Eddy, PA in 2001.
Retirement allowed the full pursuit of Gil’s passions, travel and unusual means of transportation. From an elephant back tiger safari in the bamboo forest of India, to dog sledding in Montana, whitewater rafting in British Columbia; to parasailing in Tahiti, hot air ballooning over the Delaware River, Zodiac riding in the Galápagos Islands, sailing up the Irrawaddy River to Pagan, Burma and zip lining in Costa Rica, Gil and Doug made a dedicated traveling team. When asked what was his favorite journey Gil always responded, “Sailing from the southern most point of South America, through turbulent Drake’s Passage to Antarctica and standing on South Georgia Island with countless thousands of Gentoo penguins”. Gil was also especially fond of transatlantic crossings on the Queen Elizabeth ll.
Gil will be remembered for his creative perceptiveness, his dedicated work ethic and his handsome beaming countenance. He will be missed by all who knew him. Most relationships begin with marriage vows where promises are made, Gil and Doug married in 2017 celebrating a 40 year partnership of promises kept.
Gil is survived by his husband Doug Sardo of Upper Black Eddy, PA and a brother Norman Wechsler of Pocatello, Idaho.
Services will be held privately.
To send condolences to the family, please visit the funeral home website below.
Shelly Funeral Home, Plumsteadville