Gary was a very humble man; he had a quiet‚ gentle soul and led a very private life. He was a devoted‚ loving husband above all else. Gary’s passion was sailing his boat with his wife. He loved surf fishing‚ relaxing on the beach and playing with his many toys. Gary also loved spending time with his good friends and especially his nephew and nieces.
Gary was an Elizabeth native‚ second-generation firefighter and he loved his job. He joined the Elizabeth Fire Department in 1980. He was eligible for retirement in September 2005. His late father‚ Charles Stephens was also an Elizabeth firefighter from 1949 until his retirement in 1973. Gary always put others well being above his own. He always gave selflessly of himself to his family‚ friends and fellow firefighters.
Throughout Gary’s over twenty-eight year career‚ he held various Union positions‚ served on many boards and volunteered at numerous firefighter events. He was a member of the New Jersey State FMBA Local 9 and Vice President of IAFF Local 777. Ironically‚ his latest project was compiling a benefits guidebook for firefighters and their families. Gary received a valor award from the NJ State Firemen’s Mutual Benevolent Association in 1999 for saving the historic Second Presbyterian Church from destruction during a devastating fire.
Acting Captain Gary V. Stephens was killed at an early morning blaze‚ while directing the rig in backing up to establish a water supply. He was struck by the rig and killed. The fire‚ which was started by two homeless men‚ also spread to an occupied adjoining home. The arsonists have pleaded guilty to manslaughter and criminal trespassing in a plea bargain agreement and were sentenced to 3 years in state prison and deportation.
Gary is survived by his beloved wife‚ his mother‚ brother‚ mother in law and brother in law. Gary is sorely missed by his family and friends.
And the wind dropped‚ and there was deep calm. – Mark 4:39/40.