Longtime Kasilof resident John G. McGarry died in his sleep Tuesday, July 31, 2007, at home. He was 89.
Graveside services will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3, at Spruce Grove Memorial Park in Kasilof. Larry Huntsperger will officiate. A celebration of Mr. McGarry's life will be held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4, at Kasilof Community Church. Pallbearers will be Jeff McGarry, Ben McGarry, Mark McGarry, Bryan Hutchins, Curt Wagoner and Arnie Nelson.
Mr. McGarry, known affectionately as "Grandpa" in his retirement years, was born Dec. 4, 1917, in Toledo, Ohio. He graduated from Central Catholic High School in Toledo. He married his high school sweetheart Louise in November 1940.
"He surprised her with a dozen yellow roses, which were not only expensive but very hard to come by at that time of the year. Yellow roses remained her favorite flower throughout their 63 years of marriage and came to symbolize the sacrificial and devoted love they shared," his family said.
He entered the Army Air Force in 1943 and was sent to Italy with the 454th Bomb Group serving as a tail gunner on a B-24 bomber called the Liberator. They flew 22 combat missions over enemy territory. On May 8, 1945, the European phase of World War II ended with Germany's surrender and he was honorably discharged.
"At 26, 'Mac' was considered the 'old man' of the 10 member crew of mostly 20 and 21 year olds. He was always proud to have served his country and formed life-long friendships with his crew," his family said.
The couple lived in southern California for more than 30 years where they raised their four children and he worked as a transportation manager for McDonnell Douglas Corp. In August 1984, he retired and they moved to Kasilof.
"Thus began a new era of his life where he had the time and energy to devote himself entirely to serving others. His chocolate chip cookies, cheesecakes, caramel brownies and smoked salmon are legendary. But even more so was the great love he had for others always asking even up to the day he died, 'Is there anything I can be doing for you?' Grandpa's faith in Christ was the backbone of his life. Whether in joy or pain, he always ended the discussion with 'Whatever the good Lord has in mind. He's the boss," his family said.
Mr. McGarry was preceded in death by his wife.
He is survived by brothers, Edmund and Charles McGarry of Toledo; children and their spouses, Jack and Glynna McGarry, Mary Jo and John Davis, Jerry and Peggy McGarry, Patty and Steve Harnish; grandchildren, Dawn Jaynes, John McGarry II, Kathleen McGarry and Thomas McGarry, Bryan and Lindsay Hutchins, Lori Wagoner and Jeff, Ben, and Mark McGarry and Jennifer Rank and Jessica Beaumont; and 13 great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Kasilof Community Church for African Missions, P.O. Box 57, Kasilof, AK. 99610.
Arrangements were made by Peninsula Memorial Chapel.
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