John Charles “Jack” Gary was born August 21, 1947, to John Thomas and Joanna Harvey Gary in Wichita Falls, Texas. His father was an engineer for Conoco Oil, so he grew up in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.
John grew up driving and camping across the country with his family, where he gained a deep love and appreciation for the beauty of God’s creation. He graduated from high school in Ponca City, Oklahoma in 1965 and Oklahoma State University in 1969 with a Bachelor in Hotel and Restaurant Management. While at OSU he was in ROTC and served in the Army from 1969 – 1971 and then in the reserves until 1974 finishing as a Captain.
His career after the army was as an assistant innkeeper at Holiday Inns from Long Beach, California to Arkansas where he met a Sonic owner/operator. In 1975 he bought interest in the Levelland Sonic and ran it until he opened the Levelland Mr. Gatti’s in 1985. Later owning the franchises in Lubbock, Plainview, and Brownfield as well.
In 1981 he committed his life to Jesus and met Carol Drerup. They were married on November 7, 1981, in Nazareth, Texas. He would say those were the most significant decisions in his life. He and Carol had three sons, Sean in 1984, Scott in 1987, and Joshua in 1992.
One of his great delights was to take his family to places he loved as a child and add in new memories and locations. He believed that a year was not complete without a trip to Colorado. He took great pride in his boys. He loved them following their passions.
He loved Sean following his music and sound production career and liked knowing everything about it and would follow Sean all day at a concert setup. He would totally support him in a career change and be excited about the next chapter and want to know the details.
He was thrilled for his Lego engineering Scott to grow into an Aerospace Engineer at the Skunk Works at Lockheed Martin. He would go on as many tours of Lockheed as he could. He was a lifelong learner and asked a lot of questions. He loved to ask Scott if there was anything he couldn’t tell him. He was so proud of how Scott and Whitney parent.
Joshua, in the storage building business, was also often asked about his career and how and why they did things, and what would determine a decision on where to build. Josh was his buddy for gun shows, car shows, and of course Friday night dirt track races. In his last 2 hours of life, he would tell Joshua, “Go to the races for me.”
His love of having people in his home and cooking was passed on to his children. He felt like God had been so generous to him and loved to bless not only good causes but people he saw with a need. For many years he had a section in his wallet that he said was God’s money to use as he saw fit and would pull from there when he felt the Lord’s leading.
In 2010 John came to work at Dayspring Design to do the books. He requested a painted sign on his back-office door with a gopher that said “Gopher Hole.” He spent the next 12 years being a servant to whatever Carol and her team needed.
He was a member of Church on the Rock for 21 years. He loved his men’s group and his life group. Out-of-town trips were generally scheduled around not missing either of those groups. He volunteered in the accounting department at Church on the Rock for a number of years.
His love in life was his wife Carol, his boys, the two girls God gave him through marriage, grandchildren, his friends, and God had been merciful and good to him. He would often say despite himself.
John is survived by his wife, Carol Gary of Lubbock; children, Sean (Hannah) Gary of Nashville, TN, Scott (Whitney) Gary of Fort Worth, TX, Joshua Gary of Lubbock, TX; Grandchildren, Megan, Emily, and Michael Gary; mother, Joanna Gary of Ponca City, OK; siblings Janet Gary of New York, NY, Jim Gary of Snowmass, CO.
He is preceded in death by his father, John Thomas Gary.
The Family would request in lieu of flowers that donations be made to the Lubbock Dream Center in his honor.
The family will have a private burial later.
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