Gail Johnson Beust

Date of Birth

September 8, 1932

Date of Death

July 17, 2021

City of Death

Santa Barbara

Mother, grandmother, volunteer, animal lover and former real estate agent Gail Johnson Beust passed away on Saturday, July 17th at her home in Santa Barbara. She was 88.

Gail was born, raised, and educated in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, attending Mary Baldwin College. The daughter of Gale Lloyd Leap and Rose Toscano Leap of Waynesboro, Virginia. At a very young age Gail developed a love of animals and nature often telling detailed stories about her pets and the time she borrowed her neighbor’s horse. Gail grew up surrounded by animals and was particularly fond of horses. She was fortunate enough to own several horses and was especially fond of “Wink” that she owned while in Concord living in the Annursnac Hill neighborhood. Mother’s Day 2021 was especially memorable, Gail planned a long weekend at The Alisal Ranch in Santa Ynez and Gail, Greg and Jay went on a 2-hour trail ride.

Gail moved to Plainfield, New Jersey with her mother, Rose, and sister, Angela, in the late 1950’s. Rose opened a dress shop and Gail had a dream of being a stewardess for United Airlines. She wore glasses which immediately disqualified her for the job but was encouraged to apply for a regional ticket office in Newark. She quickly demonstrated her natural ability for sales and customer service and was promoted to the Manhattan ticket office eventually moving to lower Manhattan. It was in New York that she met and then soon married Raymond Earle Johnson. They loved living in the “Village” and enjoyed all that New York had to offer. Ray was in advertising and was promoted and accepted a position in Houston, Texas. Greg Johnson was born in Houston in 1964 and soon thereafter Ray was asked to move back to the New York office and the family moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut. Jay Johnson was born in 1967.

The family then moved to Concord, Massachusetts when Ray was promoted to the Boston office. The family lived in Concord for 16 years enjoying the Annursnac Hill neighborhood and especially all the wonderful friendships that developed over the years. Gail started her 45-year career in real estate at Marden and Patterson in Concord in 1974 and recently retired from Village Properties in Santa Barbara in 2019. She enjoyed all her wonderful business partners at JM Barrett & Company in Concord and her great associates at Sotheby’s and Village Properties in Santa Barbara.

Gail moved to Santa Barbara in 1986 and soon thereafter married Walter Beust. They lived above the Mission in the foothills of Santa Barbara. Gail lost Walter to Lymphoma in 2007 and then lost her house in the Tea Fire in 2008. Gail demonstrated great resolve and determination and soon moved to the Riviera in Santa Barbara just above the Mission. Gail and Walter loved the arts and supported the Santa Barbara Symphony and Ensemble Players. Gail joined the Santa Barbara Club in 2009 and really enjoyed all the friendships that she made through the club.

Gail is survived by her sister Angela Leap, her sons Gregory Johnson and Jay Johnson and her granddaughter Susannah Rose Johnson who will marry Benjamin York in late October.

A Celebration of Life for Gail will be on September 16th at the Santa Barbara Club. Please contact Greg Johnson for details ( Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the Poor Clare Nuns of Santa Barbara.


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