Gary George Williamson, 75, of Howey-in-the-Hills, FL, passed away on Thursday, September 20, 2018. Gary was born on January 5, 1943 in Binghamton, NY. He was on the varsity football team at Vestal High School and graduated from there in 1960. He went on to graduate from State University of New York at Oswego in 1964, where he was an avid wrestler. After college, Gary taught Industrial Arts in Mexico, NY, for almost 20 years and stayed involved in wrestling as a coach and referee. While in college, he married Joyce and they had one son, Don. He also tried to find happiness with his second wife, Linda.
In 1983, Gary moved to Florida to be near his family. He married his forever wife, Jackie, in 1986. They lived and worked in Palm Beach County for 20 years, enjoying the South Florida lifestyle, especially boating. They bought a house on a canal off the Intracoastal Waterway so they’d have “a home for the boat”, a 34 foot sport fisherman appropriately named “Nest Egg” that they often took to the Bahamas.
Upon their retirement in 2003, Gary and Jackie wanted a quieter lifestyle, so they sold the boat and bought a house and 9 acres in quiet and peaceful Howey-in-the-Hills. They soon discovered the Mt. Dora Lawn Bowling Club and Gary found his sport for retirement. He became passionate about it, playing in and winning tournaments at the local, divisional and National levels. People loved to bowl on his team because he was so patient and encouraging. He was an umpire at the Mt. Dora club and a Councilor for the SE Division.
Gary also loved travelling. He and Jackie traveled extensively both in the US and abroad. He was also an excellent card player and he loved Pepper nights with Tom and Gail. Gary was a member of several community organizations, including the Elks, Moose and the Sons of the American Legion.
Gary’s illness began in January 2018. He was hospitalized with low hemoglobin and the testing began. In May, he was diagnosed with MDS – Myelodysplastic Syndrome, a cancer of the blood, and after consulting a doctor at the Bone Marrow Center at Shands Hospital, University of FL Gainesville, he began drug therapy/chemo. He was told it would take 4 rounds of treatment (4 months) to know if the treatment would work. Just as he completed the 4th round and it seemed that it might work, he developed sepsis, a staph infection in the bloodstream. He was hospitalized for 3 weeks while they treated the infection with antibiotics that affected his already low blood counts. He fought valiantly, he so wanted to get better, but he was fighting a losing battle.
Gary is predeceased by his parents, Donald and Zelda Williamson, and several beloved rescue dogs, Ginger, Scooter, and Beau. He is survived by his wife Jackie, son Don, brother Ron, nieces Michele and Megan, nephews Chip and Steve and several cousins.
Those who knew Gary know that he was a very private person so it should be no surprise that he requested privacy in death. In accordance with his wishes, there will be no public services, memorials or gatherings; the family will grieve in private.
Gary was above all a good man – kind, intelligent and soft-spoken. May he rest in peace.
Donations may be made in Gary’s memory to Cornerstone Hospice or the MDS Foundation.