Gary was a man of many talents. Most of all‚ he was a teacher. He taught firefighting for over 25 years at Bowling Green State Fire School. Gary believed that CPR was the most important thing every person should know to save a victim. He taught CPR to hundreds of people‚ including the teachers and bus drivers at Anthony Wayne High School‚ his alma mater. At his funeral‚ several people informed me that Gary had saved their lives. Though he despised cold weather‚ Gary attended a cold-water rescue class. Scuba diving and rescue training became one of his many passions. When the Ohio Turnpike needed someone to train their personnel in rescue‚ they turned to Gary. He was the training officer at Whitehouse Fire at the time of his death. He wanted to give something back‚ which he did more times than can be counted.
A firefighter/paramedic with Life Squad 9 since 1997‚ Gary was a 30-year member of Whitehouse Fire Department‚ a part-time paramedic at Swanton Fire Department‚ and a former volunteer firefighter for Providence Township Fire & Rescue. He was chairman of the Lucas County Local Emergency Planning Committee‚ a member of the Ohio Society of Fire Service Instructors and the Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association‚ and a lifetime FFA alumnus. He had an associate’s degree in fire science and safety from Owens Technical College and was pursuing a degree from the University of Cincinnati.
Prior to becoming a paramedic‚ Gary worked for Toledo Edison for over 24 years.
Gary was one great mechanic‚ and it was common to see him in our driveway working on one of his friends’ vehicles. If someone needed help‚ Gary was going to be there. On his days off‚ he was at the station working on the trucks‚ repairing the chief’s car‚ stringing Christmas lights‚ unclogging the sink or spraying for weeds. He rebuilt farm tractors and worked on antique Ford Model T’s and Model A’s in his ‘spare’ time. He built a beautiful Model T Speedster from the frame up‚ which was his pride and joy. His love of antique automobiles was a passion he shared with Jeanette‚ his wife of 29 years‚ whom he referred to as ‘the love of my life.’
A proud military veteran‚ Gary served his country for over 23 years. He retired as senior master sergeant and fire chief of the 180th Ohio Air National Guard. He served as the commander of the American Legion Post #384 Honor Guard. Every Memorial Day‚ he led his fellow honor guard members in the 21-gun salute at Whitehouse Cemetery. Gary is now buried at this cemetery‚ and the well-earned salute is for him.