Navy veteran, businessman, educator, entrepreneur, and long-time Federal Way resident—died on Sunday, July 21, after a year-long battle with lymphoma. He was 81 years old.

Gary was born on October 14th, 1937 in Rapid City, South Dakota to Lloyd Ellsworth and Mildred (nee Ruby) Mesick. He grew up in South Dakota and later moved to Washington state, where he attended Bethel High School and met his future wife, Pamela Fix.

Gary left high school at 17 to join the Navy, and he and Pamela were married two years later.

Gary attended the University of Puget Sound on the GI bill, majoring in business. He bought a home in Federal Way in 1966, and has lived in Federal Way ever since.

After spending several years at General Motors and Boeing, in the early 1970s, he became a school teacher and eventually a high school principal in the Bethel School district, where he was principal of Challenger High School, the alternative high school for the district. When he retired from teaching, he started a printing business, which he later sold.

For the last several years, Gary has been an active member of the St Vincent de Paul Knights of Columbus.

He loved the outdoors, especially Mount Rainier. When the family wasn’t backpacking, they were taking family vacations in the Oldsmobile station wagon, visiting relatives in South Dakota and all 50 states. For the past several years, he and Pamela spent part of each summer at a cabin in British Columbia.

He was an avid traveler who visited every continent.

He loved sports, and he always encouraged his children to participate. When he wasn’t coaching, he was standing on the sidelines cheering, even if he was the only parent there during a rainy spring track meet.

Gary was never so content as when he had an audience for his stories. He had a sharp sense of humor and an infectious laugh.

Gary is survived by Pamela, his wife of 62 years; his children Gary, Michael, Teresa Larson, and James; his siblings Rita Glenn, Mary Ann Mahurin, Patricia Hague, Melvin Mesick, Archie Haase, Robert Niehoff, and Barbara Niehoff Smith; eight grandchildren, six great grandchildren, two aunts—and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A funeral will be held at St Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Federal Way on Friday, July 26th, at 11:00 am. A rosary will be said Thursday, July 25th, at 7:30 pm at St Vincent de Paul. A private interment will follow the funeral mass at Gethsemane Cemetery. Donations in Gary Mesick’s name can be made to the Knights of Columbus and the Bethel Education Scholarship Team (BEST).

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