NOTE: This article has been in process for too long! The Oregon Conference technically said "goodbye" to Gary in August 2021, yet we're still finding out just how much he did. We miss you every day, Gary! —The OC Communication Team
“I have so many good memories,” Gary says, “especially memories of camp meetings past. Until I was six, my family attended the old 10-day Gladstone Camp Meeting. I remember staying in a camper by Oatfield Road, then later we had a cabin on the left side of the road going up the hill to where, now, there is a caretaker's house. I remember the old grocery store that stood where the Holden Center is now, with the ice shack out front where you could get blocks of ice for your ice box. And, of course, the masses of people all over campus. Good memories.”
Everyone has a Gary story. There are tales of Gary saving people from embarrassment, how he helped fix a computer, how he transformed a poor Powerpoint into a masterpiece. And, there are stories of how he listened, understood, and provided just the right cable. Gary quietly adjusted the backdrop, moved the camera and fixed the problem before most even noticed something was breaking. He designed three different generations of websites for the conference. He worked behind the scenes to make everyone and everything look better.
To connect with Gary was to experience calm. He is kind, courteous, patient, focused, wise, willing and able. Gary’s door was always open, and he listened with understanding and calm. He assuaged fears, settled worries, focused toward the better. He also modeled the importance of scheduling wisely so that there would be quality time for family. We all felt safer with him working beside us.
Gary is a wonderful photographer and found many ways to use that skill in his work. He photographed and videoed so much that was going on in the conference. Pathfinder fairs, Hispanic ministries events, children’s ministries trainings, women’s retreats, four constituency sessions and 16 Gladstone Camp Meetings!
When Gary decided to leave conference employment to join his wife, Annette’s, web development company, the office staff held a farewell lunch for him out under the Gladstone oaks.
Dan Linrud, Oregon Conference president, described his experience of working with Gary. “Gary, for me, is a wonderful example of professional excellence. Gary is a team player, always there to help all of us lift together as one. Gary has always given his all, assuring that others received only the very best from our conference. His approach to communication has led the way for quality across the North American Division. Gary, you are a tremendous friend, a blessing to everyone who has had the privilege of serving with you. You made us better. We are going to miss you!”