Gary Ray McKissick, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, husband, artist, madman-adman, phone collector, historian, and friend, passed away peacefully on May 10, 2022.
Gary was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 21, 1947. He graduated from Granite High School in 1965 and enlisted in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War in 1966, where he trained as a Radio Mechanic. He served as a Petty Officer (2nd class) on the Oriskany aircraft carrier (also known as "The Mighty-O"). His natural ability for electronics and the skills he learned in the Navy was always present. He never lost his talent or enthusiasm for gadgets and gizmos and always had a new toy he could tinker with.
Becoming a father was one of his greatest joys in life. He began this journey with his first wife, Paula Mckissick. They both loved their children unconditionally. Gary was always a kid at heart. From doing backflips across the front lawn to having a sporty little car in the driveway. Some of his children's favorite memories were listening while he played his guitar, singing "Froggy Went A-Courtin," and watching him make creative dinners to feed all of his children. He continued to feed his family even as it grew immensely over the decades by having barbecues at his house.
Gary leaves behind the love of his life, Freddie McKissick. They were married in 1991 and celebrated their 31st anniversary shortly before his passing. Their home in Canby, Oregon, has become a staple of their life together.
Gary is best known for his artistic talents. One of his greatest joys was sketching art, and you could always find him with a pad and pencil nearby. When he wasn't putting pencil to paper, you might find him creating graphics on his computer. His ability to design everything from newspaper advertisements to wedding invites, birth announcements, company logos, and everything in-between was unmatched.
In addition to his artistic talents, he also had a hobby of collecting telephones. He had many different models on display, ranging from a collection of the first telephones invented, all the way up to modern smartphones. He turned part of his art room into a hobbyist museum with all of his phones lined up and neatly labeled. The grandkid's favorite was his collection of wacky phones, which includes telephones modeled after hamburgers, golf clubs, coke bottles, Garfield, an 8-ball, and many other fun telephone types.
This phone museum was just a tiny part of how he always made sure to keep his house fun and welcoming for everyone. He also built a home theater which he stocked with movies, and maintained a candy bowl that seemed never to end. He is also remembered for his ever-so-famous soda magnet, the sign with everyone's birthdays, the cool basement hideaway bed, and all of his and his family's art hanging up around the house.
Gary is preceded in death by his parents, Emmett and Zelpha McKissick, his sisters, Beverly Mellus & Geraldine Heiner, and his step-son, Jeffrey Thomas Wood.
Gary is the father of four children, Wendy (Bryan), Kimberly (Phil), Gary (Jennifer), Cory (Kristina), and he is step-father to Dianna (Craig) and Jeffrey (Konnie). From both marriages, Gary has twenty-four grandchildren and twenty-one great-grandchildren.
A celebration of Gary's life--one that was full of generosity, non-judgmental love, and acceptance--is scheduled for Saturday, July 02, 2022, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. This celebration will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, located at 1285 South Elm Street, in Canby, Oregon. 97013-3937
Gary and I attended U of U early 70's. Got to be good friends as we both struggled with school and family stuff. Lost track of him after a while but he has been on my mind a number of times over the years. Sorry he is gone so soon, but glad he has the beautiful treasure of a great family and posterity. God bless!
My Navy buddy (since 1970) , my neighbor, my friend. I'm sadden of your passing and content that you no longer suffer. I pray that your next journey is to paint beautiful skies as a sign, for those of us who are left behind. A blessing of love and gratitude to your family in that that I new such a gentle spirit.