In Loving Memory of Gary Neffenger, who passed away on September 3, 2023. He was born on February 21, 1939, in Detroit, Michigan, and his journey through life was marked by love, service, patriotism, and dedication.
After graduating from Ohio’s Elyria High School, he enlisted in the Navy, proudly serving his country for five years. Afterward, fate brought him together with the love of his life, Kathie, in 1964. Their love story endured for an incredible 59 years.
They raised their family in Amherst, Ohio: Gary, Jr. (Chris), Christine (Michael), Amy (Jim), Dave (Velvet), and preceded in death their beloved son, Michael. This family grew with 16 grandchildren. Gary worked for B.F. Goodrich for 35 years, retiring in 2001.
For many years, Gary and Kathie were members of Amherst’s St. Joseph Parish and contributed to the faith community through sharing their talents such as playing guitar at mass. They believed the core of a strong family is one that is rooted in both marriage and faith. They actively helped couples and families via various programs such as Pre-CANA, Baptism preparation, Marriage Encounter, and Retrouvaille. Gary also served as a Cub Scout leader and volunteer Red Coat at Cleveland Playhouse Theater.
Upon retiring, they moved to Englewood, Florida to care for his stepfather, Pete. In 2005, they moved to Sun Lakes, Arizona and soon became intertwined in the community. Gary was involved with the Desert Arts Group and Oakwood Art League and was one of the founding organizers of the annual Art at the Lakes Show. Gary enjoyed many trips together with Kathie, especially to lighthouses and National Parks.
Family was always first for Gary, as evident from the love he never hesitated to express, and music that he brought into the home. Gary was a warm, caring, and humble man. He was never the one to seek the spotlight, but his presence made everyone feel comfortable and welcomed. His smiles, laughs, and hugs were long-lasting.
In addition to Gary’s wife and children, also surviving are his siblings: Heidi, Gretchen, Peter, Todd, Carel, John and preceded in death, by his brother, Brian, and his parents, Carel and Janet.
A Memorial Service to remember and celebrate Gary will be held Friday, September 15th, 2023 at 10:00am at St. Steven’s Catholic Church, 24827 S. Dobson Road, Sun Lakes, AZ 85248. Navy Honors will immediately follow the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Matthew’s Crossing Food Bank, 1368 N. Arizona Avenue #112-115, Chandler, AZ 85225 or https://matthewscrossing.org/donate.