American Veteran 09

Gary D Helmick

December 6, 1938 ~ March 25, 2022 (age 83)


Gary D Helmick, 83, a United States Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War and longtime resident of Gig Harbor, went to be with the Lord on March 25, 2022. Gary was born December 6, 1938 to Delas and Lydia (Evans) Helmick of West Virginia. He attended Morgantown High School before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force. As an Airman, Gary was stationed in England where he met the love of his life Yvonne. Gary had 3 daughters, Maria, Suzie and Jackie. Gary had many amazing stories of his time in the military. He wrote incredible letters home to his wife, detailing the antics of his fellow soldiers, the scenery in the area, and a very edited description of the action he encountered.


The U.S. Air Force recognized Gary for his honorable service with a several medals including the Airman’s Medal, specifically for his heroic actions in Vietnam. Gary proudly spoke of his military service.


After retiring from the Air Force, Gary worked at Pan Am as a public works officer. He then went to Arkansas to work for AP&L, a nuclear power plant, as a manager for their planning and scheduling division. After 10 years Gary and his wife returned to Washington State where he continued his patriotism by founding the Peninsula Veterans Color and Honor Guard for the VFW Post 1854. He proudly marched in parades, sponsored presentations at schools to educate children and he performed 100’s of military funerals. His team gave tribute to veterans and their families by providing Military Funeral Honors, including a gun salute. He was continually active in the VFW, serving as Commander multiple times.

As a young man Gary was very active in the Boy Scouts eventually earning 21 Merit Badges. He graduated to Eagle Scout and eared the rarely achieved  Eagle Scout medal by demonstrating both leadership and a commitment to duty.

 Gary was a 32 degree Master Mason and a member of the Port Orchard-John Paul Jones Lodge.


Gary enjoyed hunting and fishing and reading in his leisure time.


Gary cherished his beloved wife Yvonne of 60 years. He was so grateful for the care she provided him, particularly in the last few years. He adored his daughters, Maria, Suzie and Jackie and all his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He spoiled all his girls and would do anything for them. He was the best husband and father and will be acutely missed.


Gary was preceded in death by his parents and 7 siblings. He is survived by his wife, Yvonne, daughters Maria (Lester Swinney) Higginbotham and Jackie (Anthony) Freed and Suzie (Mark) Hickey. His 7 grandchildren, Jason (Brynn) Higginbotham, Matthew (Meagan) Higginbotham, Cameron (Erin) Freed, Daniel (Nikki) Birge, Samantha (Angel Gomez) Freed, Gary Hickey (deceased) and Felicia Hickey as well as 9 great grandchildren.


His family has organized a memorial service to honor Gary’s life and military service, which will be held at Haven of Rest Funeral Home on April 2, 2022 at 2:00 pm, which will be followed by graveside military honors and then a reception in the Haven of Rest reception room.


Flowers to Haven of Rest or donations to the Peninsula Veterans Color and Honor Guard VFW Post 1854, PO Box 2282, Gig Harbor, WA 98335

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gary D Helmick, please visit our floral store.


Chapel Service
April 2, 2022

2:00 PM
Haven of Rest Chapel
8503 Hwy 16 NW
Gig Harbor, WA 98332

Reception Following Service
April 2, 2022

Haven of Rest Reception Room
8503 Hwy 16 NW
Gig Harbor, WA 98332

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