1936 – 2016

AUBURN — Geoffrey Richard Shovelton, 80, of New Portland passed peacefully, in the company of a dear friend, in the evening of Monday, July 4, at the Hospice House in Auburn.

He was born on April 27, 1936, in Atherton, in Lancashire, England, the only child of Richard and Kathleen Shovelton. After attending the Salesian College in Bolton, he studied geography at Hull University. He became a teacher and a singer. He studied voice with Dino Borgioli, Roy Henderson and Denis Rowling, who developed his tenor voice and won awards in singing competitions at ’s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands and Verviers in Belgium, which spurred him to pursue a professional singing career.

He started in oratorio, then quickly rose to principal tenor with Scottish Opera and Basilica Opera, until he was signed as the principal tenor for the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company for their 1975 – 1976 tour. He was renowned for his work with them, singing Gilbert and Sullivan in the UK and on tour in America, where he inspired and entertained with, amongst others, his Nanki-Poo in The Mikado, Tolloller in Iolanthe, Colonel Fairfax in the Yeoman of the Guard and Luiz in The Gondoliers. When the company closed in 1982, he continued to sing Gilbert and Sullivan, both in the UK and abroad, until his retirement in 2005.

Geoffrey met his first wife, Margaret, while at Hull; they married and had three children in Pinner, Middlesex. Following the annulment of his first marriage, Geoffrey later married his soul mate, Deborah Anne Clague in Kingsthorpe (Northampton) on Sept. 25, 1993. In November 2001, they moved to Maine, to be close to Deborah’s mother, Nona, and stepdad, the late William Gardiner Young.

Geoffrey was an immensely talented artist, having many of his “Shov” cartoons published. His gift for drawing, lettering and cartoons was frequently used by the D’Oyly Carte, as he designed and drew many posters, flyers and pieces of artwork for the company. He also created the book covers and illustrated poem collections by his former tutor and friend Jay Appleton “Grains Among the Chaff” and “Enter the Fat Lady.” He was a talented raconteur, able to hold listeners rapt with stories of his youth and life on tour. His epic slide-shows when he arrived back from his American tours were the stuff of family legend.

He was a doting, if necessarily itinerant, father, endlessly patient and generous in his interest, his wisdom and his delicious birthday cakes.

Geoffrey’s beloved wife, Deborah, died on June 2, 2016, from non-smoking related lung cancer. He is survived by his children, Claire, Dominic and Bruno; their mother, Margaret; his grandchildren, Max, Leo, Jasper, Lydia, Daniel and Ivo; his cousin, Irene; and many dear friends.

Tributes and condolences may be shared on his memorial wall at www.wilesrc.com.

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