Jerry Gary passed away at Tacoma General Hospital on February 17, 2018 surrounded by loving family and friends. He was born October 24, 1939 to a West Texas cotton farmer and his wife. He is survived by his devoted wife of 54 years, Alta, two daughters, Vawna Gary and Sally (Gary) Helland, son-in-law Michael Helland, sister, Lou Ella Hubbard of Roswell, NM, brother, Alvin Gary of Lubbock, TX, five grandchildren and many nephews and nieces. He was preceded in death by his father, JL Gary, and mother Elizabeth Gary.
Jerry would say that the most important lessons he learned from his parents about life were: to love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength, and to maintain a good work ethic. He demonstrated his love for Jesus by following the call that God laid on his heart to become a minster of the gospel-the good news that Jesus has paid the debt of sin that mankind owes, thereby providing salvation and restoration to God through his work on the cross and resurrection from the dead. Jerry was a faithful pastor for more than 40 years. He did not seek fortune or fame; however, seeking God’s will and pleasing Him were always foremost in his mind. This exemplified itself in his love and care for his family, and for others.
Jerry’s love for others was shown through the time he invested in their lives. Jerry and his wife spent untold hours with those who were sick, or hurting, or in prison. They dropped what they were doing day after day to go and comfort those in need. Jerry never had much in his bank account, but he was quick to give to any need. He knew that God provided for him and would take care of him, and that care was demonstrated over and over to him. He was a humble man, who knew how much God treasured him, and he desired to allow that love to flow through him to those around him.
Jerry demonstrated his commitment to the second parental lesson, maintaining a good work ethic, by working hard all of his life. From hoeing in the cotton “patches”, to serving in the US Navy, to rising early every morning of his adult life to study and pray, there was no question about Jerry’s willingness to work hard. He would take on whatever job was necessary, in addition to pastoring, to support his family. Construction laborer, grocery shelf stocker, gas field maintenance, school bus driver-he wore many hats. After retiring from the pastorate in 2009, he and Alta moved from Texas to Washington State to be with their daughters. There he continued to work to provide for his wife until 2017. He lived a simple, unselfish life, but one with noble goals.
The burial service for Jerry will be held Thursday, March 1 at 1:30 at Tahoma National Cemetery. A memorial service is planned for Saturday, March 3 at 10:00 at Discovery Baptist Church in Gig Harbor, WA. There will be a reception following this service.