East Whittier, California
Back in 1967 . . .
Gary attended Fullerton J.C. from 1963-1965 while working for Sav-On Drugs, where he is presently floor manager. While in college he was Student Body President. He was married to Pat in 1962.
Future plans include obtaining a BA degree from Cal State and joing merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith as a stockbroker.
Gary saw all the members of the A Cappella choir when they toured Southern California. he extends a big “Hi” to everyone and wishes God’s blessings to the class. He is anxiously looking forward to the first reunion.
Danville, New Jersey
I joined most of you at CTC in the Fall of 1961. Higher education at CTC
lasted all of one semester for me...and that was just the beginning of
my cramming four years of college into eight. Yep, five different colleges...two
times of dropping out...finally limped across the BA finish line in '69
(I've used that story many times to offer some comfort and hope to parents
whose kids have fallen behind in the college treadmill by a semester or
There were a number of very significant things that happened during those years. I married Pat, a woman who loved Jesus and really lived out her faith. God called her home in 1968 two years after she had a car accident...which seemed to be the trigger for multiple sclerosis...which eventually led to her death. That Fall (1968) I spent a semester of college on board Chapman College's World Campus Afloat. A month into the semester, the Lord had wooed me and convinced me to take my relationship with Him much more seriously. The process of getting to know Him better and letting Him be the change agent in my life has gone on to this day...and I hope will continue until the last breath is drawn.
Also on that semester at sea, Jan Kiburz became a good friend and on March 26, 1970, we were married. We're pretty excited to be celebrating the 40th anniversary in a couple months.
After escaping Cal State University Fullerton with that elusive BA in 1969, education continued at Talbot Seminary in California. Once again, being a firm believer that they didn't really mean it when they said the curriculum could/should be completed in such and such number of years, I crammed the three year program into five. 'Course that might have had something to do with the fact that the Lord was blessing us with children right away and therefore, somebody had to work, even if it was part time.
Jan and I continued in church ministry (any of you who have served in formal ministry know that it truly is a partnership) until 1984. I served as a youth pastor and then in 1977, we planted a church in Chino Hills, California. We loved those seven years...still have a lot of contact with folks whose lives and love were woven into the fabric of our lives as we grew and saw God do some pretty cool things.
God blessed us with three wonderful children:
Rob, 38, is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army. He is currently serving as a JAG (yep, that's a lawyer) officer for the First Infantry Division at Ft. Riley in Kansas. I'm hoping to do some pheasant hunting with him out there later this year. Rob is married to Anne Pettijohn. They have three awesome daughters...Katie's 11, Ellie is 7 and Meredith is 1.
Meridee, 36, is married to Major Dave Bowlus. You think the Army might have had something to do with Mer and Dave meeting each other? Yup. Dave and Rob were classmates at the United States Military Academy...the romance started at a homecoming weekend. Dave is the Chaplain for the Army's 75th Ranger regiment. They are stationed at Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA, right now. Two precious grandchildren...Andrew, 11, and Savannah, 5 (and a half!).
Heather, 34, is married to Harvey Ignacio. What, no Army? Well, they're soldiers of the Lord...that counts, right?! They live in Burbank, California...close enough to some of the major studios...Heather and the two oldest boys continue to pursue film and TV and commercial opportunities. We love those three grandsons, Robert, 15, Ryan, 14 and David, 7.
After leaving the pastorate in 1984, I transitioned into serving clients
as a financial planner...something I've been doing the last 26 years. Jan
has served our clients right by my side for the last 16 years. We moved
from Southern California to NewJersey in 1992. We have really loved living
in the Northeast, but, yes, I'm truly ready to part with the snow blower!
We have set up the sale of our business and will be retiring by October this year. Once the house is sold, we'll be moving down to Dave Felten's state, North Carolina. Out of Jan's heart came the dream of settling near a large Army post so that we would be able to serve Army families. So, the plan is to locate on the West side of Ft. Bragg...in the Pinehurst area...and become involved in a chapel on the post. There, we can let chaplains, and others, know that we are available to help young families when the men are deployed. 40,000 soldiers and airmen (Pope Air Force base) there...reckon we might be able to find a family or two to help, don't ya think?! Of course, we are also quite excited about having lot's more time and flexibility to visit our children and grandchildren (the Army keeps movin' 'em on us) and soak up all the festivities of our class reunion.
When I reflect on the two years spent with all of you at CHS, I have such warm memories. You were all caring and fun classmates...every one of you! Being invited home for weekends with Dave Block and Tom Sass, crisscrossing the Eastern part of Nebraska with many of you men on sports teams, two choir tours... on and on, the memories really are special!
See you next year!
1) Retired again? Actually, I've un-retired. And this time, my heart's desire is to continue working until The Lord calls me home. Very happy seeing heaven and eternity as a far better retirement plan than we could have concocted. So, I'm part time pastoring a little church in Spring Lake, NC...First Presbyterian. Yeah, I know...how many different denominations is that for you, Gary? The answer is six. Some folks can just never get focused or figure out what they want to do when they grow up, huh! :-) So, 20+ hours a week plus periodic ministry with Ransomed Heart's Wild at Heart Boot Camps keeps me busy enough but not too busy. Jan and I still do plenty of relaxing things. In fact, the church is giving me six, count 'em, six weeks of paid vacation per year. Yeah, they were that hard up!
2) Relocated? We moved 30 minutes from the Woodlake community to the Carolina Lakes community. Decided we are staying in NC for sure. Had a home built. 166 Summer Creek Lane, Sanford, NC, 27332. New home phone is (919)498-0082. My cell phone remains the same (973)978-7658.
3) Traveled? Sure, to wherever the kids and grandkids are...loving every visit!
4) Lost a loved one? Aunts and uncles and friends, but no one in our immediate family.
5) Watched the next generation move on to other pursuits? Actually, they're all doing the same work that they were at the time of our 50th. The Army men change locations. Our son, Rob, and his family are now here, at Ft. Bragg, for at least three years. It's the first time in 25 years that we've lived close to Rob and Anne and their three girls. So, we are just thrilled! We figured if we located here by Bragg that eventually they'd come to us. :-) Dave and Mer and their son and daughter are Ft. Campbell in Kentucky. We are hoping that his next assignment will be here at Bragg.
6) Reconnected with a classmate? Not since the reunion but I still love the fact the Dave Felton and I got to reconnect shortly before our 50th!
7) Done anything exciting? Sounds hokey, perhaps, but I feel this deeply...life with and in Jesus for Jan and myself seems always exciting. There's a bit of excitement and anticipation each morning to see what he's got on tab for that day...well not every day, no...but most of 'em. Most of the excitement centers around family and ministry happenings.
8) Had a God moment? Standouts include his calling back to pastoral ministry (I so look forward to preaching each Sunday...God has lit a fire there that I never experienced in the seven years of pastoral ministry in California) and helping to facilitate Wild at Heart Boot Camps (a ministry of John Eldredge and Ransomed Heart) for men...mostly soldiers. We've done a few here at Bragg and done some mentoring of men by way of follow up. This year, I'm really excited to be going to Korea (in late June) and Alaska (second week of September) to work alongside Army chaplains in putting on these four day 'boot camps'. So many men have experienced true heart rescues by God through this ministry. One of them, who became a friend, recently was found guilty of charges in a court martial and is now serving 20 years. He was baptized in prison last week and is excited about doing all he can to help bring the healing ministry of Jesus to other prisoners in the years to come. He'll be 56 when he gets out and his heart desire now is to serve God as a pastor from then on. God is so amazing!