Gary Lynn Averill

Nov. 2, 1932 – Feb. 22, 2018

We are forever grateful for those who make it their life’s business to see that their family, neighbors and nation are safe.

Gary Lynn Averill, born in Cleveland, Ohio, Nov. 2, 1932, was such a person. Surviving Polio as a young child, he lived in many different towns in his grammar school years, as he and his dad, Kenny – a lineman – and mom, Margie, followed the work of stringing electrical lines across the American Midwest.

Gary Lynn Averill

By high school, he was a stand-out baseball player for the Ashland Arrows (A’s), Ashland, Ohio. His teammate and best friend, Johnny Roseboro, would go on to be an All-star catcher for the Brooklyn/ LA Dodgers. As a young man, Gary was invited to join the Chicago White Sox farm team, and also had full scholarship offers from many universities, but chose to enter the U.S. Airforce during the Korean War, and married Carol JoAnne McHenry, also of Ashland.

After his Air Force service, civilian Gary continued to serve the U.S. Navy, U.S. Department of Defense and contract with others (like NASA) to develop our nation’s protective and reconnaissance aircraft. He was on the design team for the Air Force’s Predator.

He was gifted by God with a brilliant mind and used his gifts and resources to help many throughout his 85 years. He once as a child gave away his shoes to a boy at church who had none and went home barefoot himself. A follower of Jesus Christ since he was a teenager, he knew much of the Bible by memory and helped many individuals and causes for good, such as Operation Christmas Child.

Gary deeply loved his wife, Carol, and was very proud of his four children and the spouses, children and grandchildren they added to the family. He always anticipated the next time they would be gathered from across the miles.

Gary recently moved from the town he and Carol retired to 21 years ago, Mountain Home, Arkansas, to Niles and lived near several family members, including seven of his eight great-grandchildren. He passed quickly and peacefully to heaven due to cardiac arrest on Thursday, Feb. 22, at his home in Niles. He is deeply loved and will be greatly missed by many.

Gary is preceded in death by his father and mother, his wife, Carol (McHenry) Averill; sister, Juanita (Paul) Baker of North Carolina; brother-in-law, George (Joy) McHenry of Edina, Minnesota; brother and sister-in-law, Tom and Bev Craig of Ashland, Ohio; and grandson, Andrew Mark Wuthnow of Niles. He is survived by sister-in-law, Jean McHenry of Dayton, Tennessee; brother-in-law, Paul (Dorothy) Baker of Burlington, North Carolina; sister-in-law, Joy McHenry of Edina, Minnesota; daughter, Stephani (Mark) Wuthnow of Niles; sons, John (Melissa) Averill of Nikiski, Alaska; Paul (Barbara) Averill of Yardley, Pennsylvania; Jim (Andrea) Averill of N.Whitehall, Pennsylvania; grandsons, Matthew (Jenna) Cohen of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Jordan Cohen of New York, New York; Stephen Wuthnow of Niles; Isaac Averill of Nikiski, Alaska and Zack Averill of N. Whitehall, Pennsylvania; granddaughters, Melanie (Ron) Gramza of Mishawaka, Indiana; Merrilee (Kenneth) Powell of Osceola, Indiana; Melissa (Rafael) Mendez of Berlin Heights, Ohio; Sadie Averill of Nikiski, Alaska; Addison Averill of N. Whitehall, Pennsylvania; and great-grandchildren, Chase, Luke, Barrett, Braydon, Claire, Leigha, Alexander and Mila. Your family thanks you, Gary, for a life lived extremely well.

Visitation for Gary will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 2, at Fulkerson Park Baptist Church, 1234 Fulkerson Road, Niles, MI 49120. Funeral service will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 3, at Fulkerson Park Baptist Church. Interment will be at Ashland Cemetery in Ashland, Ohio, at a later date. Arrangements have been entrusted to Hoven Funeral Home Inc, Buchanan. Donations in Gary’s memory may be made to Operation Christmas Child, sent to Samaritan’s Purse, c/o Grace K., PO Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607. Online condolences may be made at hovenfunerals.com.

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