Gary Allen Person was born Oct. 18, 1938, to Carl Oscar Person and Ruth Viola (Stromberg) Person in Columbus (Platte), Nebraska.
Gary spent his entire youth on the family farm in Nebraska. Throughout his life, he never left the homegrown values of farming and ranching far behind. Gary graduated from Fullerton High School in Fullerton, Nebraska, in 1955. Shortly thereafter, Gary joined the United States Air Force, for which he proudly served over 22 years until his honorable discharge on Oct. 31, 1977, at which time Gary went to work for Lockheed-Martin in Sunnyvale. One of Gary’s fondest memories was having the opportunity to witness a Space Shuttle launch in Florida, as well as being able to show one of his grandson’s field trip class around the facility in Sunnyvale. Gary retired after more than 20 years with Lockheed. Not one to stay at home, he then spent a couple of days a week in his son-in-law’s Allstate Insurance office, answering phones and making new friends.
While in the Air Force, Gary worked as a communications specialist, which sent him many places during his tours of duty. Serving in Karamusel, Turkey; Chicksands RAF, England; Torrejon, Spain; Castle AFB, Calif., Depenjusmag, Thailand; Travis AFB (2 tours), Clark AB, Philippines; Hamilton AFB, Calif., finally retiring from Sunnyvale Air Station, Calif. While stationed in Thailand during the Vietnam War, Gary was sent to Cambodia and Laos. There, he and a select small group of individuals proudly and unceremoniously provided communication services to his fellow servicemen.
While being stationed in Spain, Gary met, and on Nov. 21, 1959, married, Amalia Fernandez-Valle Idigoras. Their marriage was blessed with a son, Carl Oscar Person. Gary met his second wife, Rosetta Mae Hawthorn, in 1967, and they were married on August 2, 1969. At that time, Gary became a dad to three daughters.
Our dad provided unconditional love, guidance, strength and safety, no matter what the circumstance. He was tough, gritty, wise, caring, with that country sense of humor. You could not have asked for a better role model. His life and passing have been a lesson in grace and dignity. One of Gary’s favorite quotes was, “Discipline, is just choosing between what you want now and what you want most.”
Gary leaves a family grateful for the privilege of being able to call him Dad, Grandpa, and Buddy. Those left to remember and cherish him are his wife, Rosetta of Fairfield; son, Carl of Laguna Beach, Calif.; daughters, Lee Hawthorn and Vicky Wright (Jim) of Fairfield and Gloria Hartley (John) of American Canyon; grandchildren, Richard Matthes (Donna) of Fairfield, Kendall Mainzer (Stephen) of State College, Pa., John Brandon Gutierrez of San Francisco, and Jimmy Wright Jr. and William Wright of San Luis Obispo. Gary also leaves his great-grandchildren, Renae Matthes and Sebastian Mainzer.
Gary was preceded in death by his mother, Ruth; father, Carl; brothers, Carl and Ronald; and sister, Norma.
Gary was a member of The Retired Enlisted Association and Air Force Sergeants Association Auxiliary. The family requests any memorial donations be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or any military organization of your choice.
The family wishes to give heartfelt thanks to all of the enlisted and civilian professionals at David Grant Medical Center, Travis AFB, the entire oncology department, and a special thank you to Dr. Jessica Powers and nurses Mackey and Mariza. You were a tremendous source of hope and comfort to our dad. We also thank the staff at Emeritus-Rancho Solano for their care and compassion.
Gary will be laid to rest with full military honors at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon. A reception will follow at the home of Jim and Vicky Wright, in Fairfield, Calif.
Arrangements are under the direction of Bryan-Braker Funeral Home, 707-425-4697. You may sign the guestbook at www.bryanbraker.com.