Gary A. Wimberley passed away peacefully on Nov. 11, 2017, his family surrounding him in prayer.
He was born July 12, 1926, in Church Point, Louisiana, to Eddie and Doris Wimberley.
He grew up on the family farm with his parents, grandparents and eight younger brothers and sisters.
Gary attended school in Church Point and worked on the family farm with his father and grandfather. As a little boy, he rode his pony alongside his grandfather to check on the crops and workers in the fields. As a teenager, he learned farming skills, including cropping, livestock care, maintenance and construction.
In 1945, during the height of World War II, he joined the U.S. Navy. After training as an aircraft mechanic, he was based in the Hawaiian Islands and San Diego, California, until his discharge when the war ended.
During his military career he met Elizabeth “Liz” Bowlin and married her in 1947 after corresponding via letters for a year. After the war, he attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in horticulture.
Following graduation, he and Liz began their life together in Church Point. They later moved to Monroe, Louisiana, where Gary taught horticulture at the university. Five of Gary and Liz’s children were born in Louisiana, two (twins) passed away at birth. The family eventually grew to 10 children: five boys and five girls.
In 1954, the family moved to Brookings, where he purchased a commercial greenhouse and started Brookside Nursery, growing and hybridizing hydrangeas and Easter lilies for stores throughout the United States. The nursery business was later sold and Gary started a successful family construction business, Brookside Construction and Landscaping. He built and was involved in several major construction and landscaping projects throughout Southern Oregon and Northern California.
Gary’s children learned good work ethics by working alongside their father in the nursery and construction businesses. Gary and Liz (bookkeeper) ran the company until their retirement in 1988.
One of Gary’s greatest passions was his abundant garden. He loved sharing the strawberries, blueberries, garlic, cabbage, beans, lettuce and other crops with everyone, and found solace in tending to his garden even after working long days.
His love and understanding for gardening, plants and horticulture added yet another layer to his overall wisdom.
Gary had many interests over his lifetime, but what never wavered was his respect for a strong work ethic, dedication to family, his faith, respect for his fellow man, as well as the self-discipline in practicing the simplest and most fundamental acts of human kindness and gentle humility.
His smiling face and genuine friendly self was a constant for everyone he met. His guiding daily principle was to serve God and his fellow man through devotion to the Catholic faith. He regularly was there to help the church, a friend or family member in need. His love for his church and religion showed in his role as a founding member of the Knights of Columbus Council for the Star of the Sea Catholic Church and his efforts over the years to help maintain, build and support the church in whatever manner he could.
He was instrumental in purchasing the property for the current Star of the Sea Catholic Church and donated many hours of labor and equipment for construction of the church.
Gary also was active in the community, serving on the Chetco Federal Credit Union board for 35 years in various positions and capacities. His efforts helped to build a strong local credit union and expand the institution through opening branches in Gold Beach and Port Orford.
Gary was also a member of the Brookings Chamber of Commerce in the early years and worked on many local initiatives. In the 1960s he worked with the chamber to host the Japanese soldier who bombed the wilderness east of Brookings, donated time and resources to plant the local Christmas tree in the 1970s and volunteered many hours to the Azalea Festival providing shop space and equipment to build and transport floats for the annual parades.
His family meant the world to him. His children were his pride and joy, and he loved them unconditionally. While busy running his construction company, he and Liz always found time to be at sporting events to watch the games or transport animals to 4-H activities. His time and involvement, including constant encouragement, was greatly appreciated by his children.
Gary is survived by his wife Liz; sons Don Wimberley, wife Elissa, Ron Wimberley and John Wimberley; daughters Joan Seda, Karen Megorden, husband Randy, Robin Sanders,husband Kolin, and Susan Wimberley-Glazebrook, husband Marty; grandchildren Kent Wimberley, wife Brittany, Michelle Wimberley, Brandon Megorden, Kyle Sanders, Pat Shannon,wife Jennifer, Scott Sanders, wife Sarah, Jaime Sanders, and Lacey Megorden; great-grandchildren Zane Wimberley, Reagan Shannon, Nolan Sanders; step great- grandchildren Chloe James, Naomi James and Ethan Seda.
He was preceded in death by his parents Eddie and Doris; twins Gary and Mary; son Brian; brothers Jimmy and Tommy; sister Eloise; brother-in-law Ivy; grandson Brent; and daughter-in-law, Elissa.
A Rosary service will be at 8:25 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, to be followed by the Mass of Christian Burial, at 9 a.m. at Star of the Sea Catholic Church, 820 Old County Rd. in Brookings. Interment will follow at WJ Ward Memorial Cemetery.
Redwood Memorial Chapel is assisting the family. Memories and condolences may be shared with the family on Gary’s memorial webpage at www.redwoodmemorial.net.
Submitted by Redwood Memorial Chapel.