Gary James Windom
Gary James Windom
Gary James Windom (age 76) passed away on Sunday, October 21, 2018, in Newberg, Oregon, after having struggled for several years with complications from Agent-Orange-induced Diabetes.
Gary was born in Morris, Minnesota on July 30, 1942. He was the second son of Ed and Phyllis Windom and became inseparable from his older brother Harley. As years passed, the family grew with siblings Gayle, Neil, Ruth and Rita. Gary attended school in Alberta, MN, and graduated from Alberta High School in 1960. Throughout his teen years and summers home from college, he worked on his Uncle Les' and Uncle Orlyn's farms which led to very enduring friendships. Gary started his college studies at the UMM in Morris, MN, then transferred to Northwest Nazarene College in Nampa, Idaho, where he met the love of his life, Lydia Jennings. Gary graduated from NNC on June 5, 1966; he joined the military on June 6, 1966; and got married on June 7, 1966. Gary was stationed in Fort Bragg, NC, before serving a one-year tour in Vietnam in 1968-69. Upon his return, Gary and Lydia made their home first in Denver, Colorado, where their two children (Weylin and Cara) were born and lived there for about 10 years before moving to Colorado Springs to raise their family. Gary and Lydia retired in 2013 and moved to Newberg, OR, to be close to their daughter and family.
Gary spent his career in the insurance field, but his real love was cars. Gary's love of cars was unmatched and unfulfilled. Up until a year ago, he owned a 1963 Corvair which he drove 42 miles a year. At the time of it's sale, it had less than 6,000 miles on it. Once a year, he'd take it to the dealership and ask what they'd give him. It was all about the wheelin' and dealin' for him. He collected cars like some people collect hats. Gary also owned an old Buick, aka "Helen," a 2014 BRZ, a mini-Cooper, and a Smart car. Yes, all at the same time.
Gary's siblings remember him constantly entertaining people with his funny antics. He'd often tease his younger sisters by eating Graham Cracker crumbs out of the windowsill despite their protesting that those were not crumbs but fly poison! He and brother Harley would act out terrible accidents (with ketchup) in the front yard while their little sisters watched nervously.
His love of laughter continued in adult life as his daughter Cara remembers a time when once after church, some of the kids had pranked the youth pastor's car by licking marshmallows and sticking them all over like a Dalmatian. Gary walked out and started eating them off the car saying they were "manna!" -- everyone laughed and laughed. And then there was the time "Gary was making pancake batter in the blender (because why not?) and he forgot a lid. Batter went all over everyone's faces, covered the walls and dripped from the ceiling. We still laugh at that. We left the batter droplets when they moved to Oregon in 2013."
Gary's children and grandkids were his pride and joy! He spoke long and often about each one of them (including his daughter-in-law Amanda and son-in-law Andy). He was so proud of his son Weylin and his career as a Delta pilot, and his daughter Cara and her career helping women and families. He bragged of his granddaughters Anna Kay and Allie and their love of sports and knowing how to play football with the boys. He spoke fondly of grandson Jack and his love of trains and eating popcorn at the local car dealership, and of his grandson Henry and his talent and love for football and granddaughter Lily of her being able to prepare/cook a full meal and, most recently, her round-the-clock care/feedings of an orphaned newborn kitten.
Of course, he never got over losing the love of his life, Lydia. Some men can move on to find another love after their spouse dies, but Gary said Lydia was "one-of-a-kind" and he would never be able to replace her. We find great comfort in knowing Gary is with Lydia now. We will miss him dearly but are oh so glad to have had him as a brother and friend.
Gary is survived by his son Weylin (wife Amanda) Windom, Atlanta, GA; daughter Cara (husband Andy) Copeland, Newberg, OR; five grandchildren, Jack Copeland, Anna Kay Windom, Henry Copeland, Allie Windom and Lily Copeland; one brother Neil Windom, Boise, ID; three sisters Gayle (Roy) Hines, Ruth Bartlett and Rita (Jim) Heuring (all of Boise, ID); brother-in-law David Jennings (Anne Whitmore) and sister-in-law Becky (Dennis) Worthington. Gary was preceded in death by his wife Lydia, parents Ed and Phyllis Windom; brother Harley Windom; and in-laws Charles and Helen Jennings.
A private memorial graveside service will be held June 6, 2019, at the National Cemetery in Portland, OR.