Mr. Gary E. Severson of Tunkhannock and Factoryville, PA died October 19, 2019 at age 77.
Mr. Severson is survived by the following family members: his wife, Judith Severson; his children, James Severson and his wife Tracy Severson of Columbus, Ohio; Lauren Peet and her husband Joe Peet of Old Forge, PA; and Eric Severson and his husband Larry Goff of Dallas, TX; his grandchildren Olivia Peet, Lily Severson, and Cole Severson; and his dog, Penny. He is preceded in death by his parents, Edgar And Grace Severson and his brother, Richard Severson.
Mr. Severson was born on November 2, 1942 in Binghamton, NY. He attended Binghamton public schools before graduating from the Stonybrook School in Sautucket, NY. In 1964, he graduated from Bucknell University with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration. He married Judith Scott Severson, also of Binghamton, in 1962, and the couple raised 3 children together during their 57-year marriage.
Early in his career, Mr. Severson worked in various management positions with the Lehigh Portland Cement, Binghamton Container, and Chesapeake Corporations in Illinois, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania before becoming an entrepreneur. While at Lehigh Portland, he was in charge of the operation that poured the first foundational concrete for Disney World in 1967. In addition to earning his contractor’s license, Mr. Severson opened his own retail business, Silver Spur Saddlery, in Clarks Summit, PA in 1981.
After several years as a retail entrepreneur, Mr. Severson’s longstanding love of horses led him to an almost three-decade career as a master saddler and equine physical therapist. Known affectionately as “The Saddle Doctor,” Mr. Severson was a healer, traveling around the U.S. and supporting thousands of horses and their riders in feeling and performing their best. During the course of his lengthy career, Mr. Severson supported some of the top equestrians in the country, including his service as the official saddler of the United States Equestrian Team (U.S.E.T.), consultant to the Canadian and New Zealand Equestrian teams, master saddler at Eiser’s Saddlery, and coach of the Keystone College Equestrian Team. Mr. Severson’s positive impact on the equine community was so significant that his work was featured in Equus Magazine, Horse Journal, Eventing Nation, Equine Ink, and Horse Nation, among others.
In addition to his love for his family, Mr. Severson possessed a deep affection for both the human and equine clients he served. He will always be remembered as a profoundly compassionate, caring, and intuitive healer who possessed a special gift for connecting with other beings and guiding them to their wellbeing. The following story from one of Mr. Severson’s longtime clients captures the impact he and his work had on the horse community:
“I will never forget the day I met Gary. He pulled up to our barn and got out and set up his table. It reminded me of a magician and man did he work some magic! I learned more about horses' bodies and saddle fit in that 4 hours than I had learned in my entire career. It truly was amazing watching his hands heal the horses right before my very eyes, seeing the relief and the pain drain from their eyes. Gary has such beautiful intuition and truly understands what the secrets are to the wonderful and crazy animal we are obsessed with.”
Mr. Severson had a powerful, transformative impact on those around him—including thousands of horses and riders and the friends and family who knew him as a selfless healer and teacher who dedicated himself to helping others reach their full potential.
A celebration of life will be announced in the near future. In the meantime, the family is sponsoring a memorial page, where friends, family, and clients may share memories, photos, and messages of remembrance. All are invited to contribute at forevermissed.com/gary-edgar-severson. Mr. Severson donated thousands of hours over the course of his career to support equine therapy programs. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Marley’s Mission, 2150 Port Royal Rd, Clarks Summit, PA 18411, an equine-assisted psychotherapy not-for-profit or Griffin Pond Animal Shelter, 967 Griffin Pond Rd, Clarks Summit, PA 18411. The family would like to thank the staff at Elmcroft Senior Living for their compassionate care in Mr. Severson’s final days, his friends for their generosity and support, and his clients for the outpouring of love and appreciation they have shown for Mr. Severson in his passing—and always.
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