Last weekend my Uncle Gary gained his ultimate reward after living 65 years humbly touching and blessing many of us with the joy of his life. As it turned out he had been sick for quite a while but didn’t find out until about 6 weeks ago that he had stage 4 lung/brain cancer. By the time the cancer was discovered it was pretty much too late to treat with any degree of success. His last few weeks were spent in hospitals and finally a nursing home. When we all met last week in Paintsville Kentucky to celebrate his life there were lots of wonderful memories and a lot of laughter among the tears.
My cousins put together a lovely pictorial display bringing back a rush of memories for each of us. I thought I would share a few along with some memories to honor his life. These first few are copies of some old pictures that my cousin found. They will give you an idea what kind of person he was.
No fear – I have had a little chat with my mom about wearing those white socks with sandals. LOL!
This is my grandmother, Uncle Billy, Uncle Johnny, Uncle Gary (with the bike), Aunt Brenda (chewing on her fingers), Aunt Carol (picking at my mom’s hair) and my mom. My grandfather passed away while my grandmother was pregnant with my Aunt Carol (the baby).
Mom said that Uncle Gary “baptized” cats often. So I’m curious about what happened with that particular cat after this picture was taken…..
The point is that they were typical country kids running around and playing outside. They enjoyed life. They had plenty of playmates. Mom was #6 in a line of 9 siblings. Uncle Gary was #7. My favorite picture is one that mom couldn’t locate but I have seen many times over the years. He and Mom are doing the twist. Now that is a funny one.
My uncle was a humble man who never tried to appear to be something he wasn’t. He was a faithful Christian who loved his Lord. He carried his Bible as if it were just an extension of his arm. He was the first one to say he’s pray for you. He was the first one to make you laugh.
Dad told me that while he was in the hospital one day Mom asked him if he knew who my dad was. He said “That’s Mike”. Then she asked him if he knew who she was. He said no but then he looked dad’s way and winked with a smile. Even in his final days he was picking on his big sister.
In the last year my mom’s other brother and a sister died and she and I spent some time with Uncle Gary in his home. He had a dog that was his faithful companion. She is a little dog like Faith. He loved that little thing. Her name was Lacey. After going into the hospital and first coming around he asked for 2 things – his Bible and a picture of Lacey. He loved wrestling with her. Watching them together touched my heart because he loved her as much as I love Faith. That’s the kind of person he was. Gone were the days of childhood when he “tortured” the poor strays in the holler.
He loved his church. He loved his Lord. When I think of how sad all of us have been in the last week I just picture him in heaven with his Savior and the rest of his family. It helps it to hurt a little less. When mom told me that he died in his sleep I imagined what he must have thought when he woke up to the glory of Heaven surrounded by his brothers and sisters and parents – and most of all, his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What a way to wake up.
I’ll close with a few more pictures. Thank you for letting me share my uncle with you. I wish you could have known him. You would have loved him just as we do.
This was taken after the oldest sibling, Aunt Richard (Dolores) and the youngest sibling, Aunt Carol had already passed on.
His site is all the way on top . You can’t even see the green tent covering the grave site. You have to park on the street and walk up. My grandparents are buried up there. We were glad it wasn’t raining the day of the funeral.
Uncle Gary, you will be missed. Thank you for being such a great uncle. You made the BEST homemade pizza and peanut butter fudge. We were all blessed to have you in our lives. Enjoy your brothers/sisters, parents and the presence of Christ. We’ll see you again someday! I love you!
Gary Michael Daniels
August 18, 1946 – December 10, 2011