Gary Howse, salon owner, philanthropist and industry leader, passed away on August 3 in New York City. As a philanthropic leader in his community and the professional beauty industry, Gary personally poured his time, energy and love into causes such as North West AIDS Alliance and the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance. “Gary always set an example of how each of us should strive to be our best selves and positively contribute to good outcomes, ” says Gary Manuel employee and life long friend Kathryn Remijan. Gary’s exuberance and outstanding leadership created a salon community whose focus was more that just great hair and skin. Gary’s core belief was that with a little effort a small group of people could make an immeasurable difference. He was proven right year over year as his salons have become AVEDA’s largest contributor to earth month raising over $360,000 in the last 4 years.
Gary grew up in Nisqually, Washington where he attended High School and served as the president of the 4H club. His reputation for riding dressage was quickly eclipsed by his expertise in coloring the mains and tails of show horses. After attending Harvey Mudd College, Gary focused his career on his first passion, hair design. Gary co-founded the Gary Manuel salon with Manuel Benevich. Together they sought to elevate the expectation of the salon experience from technical skills to guest service. That commitment to excellence led to the development of Gary Manuel AVEDA Institute and Gary Manuel studios both recognized as leaders in the professional beauty industry.
Gary successfully met challenges head on, from living life as an openly gay man in the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis, to building a successful business and mentoring young talent. Challenges did not darken his spirit but rather made him a more caring, pragmatic and compassionate man. Gary’s passion for leading positive change was reflected in his commitment and action. When asked what Gary meant to his team, Manuel Benevich stated "he was light in our sky and the shoes on our feet."
Gary is survived by his husband Phillip, brother Dave, Sister Julie, nephews Cooper, Travis, and Matthew, nieces Mellissa, Bailey and Morgan, great niece Brooklyn, countless salon clients, and beloved team.