“Gary” Gerard Grant Kerkvliet was born in Billings, Montana on March 13, 1949 and passed on December 28, 2016 in Turlock, California. He was preceded in death by his father Bernard Kerkvliet. He is survived by his mother Stella Kerkvliet, her partner Bob Gugler, his three younger siblings: brother Bernie and his wife Marianne and sisters Carol Kerkvliet and Dona Kerkvliet-Varin. He is also survived by his nieces Carla Garcia, Andrea Francis, Kyle Kerkvliet, Caleb Kerkvliet, Vanessa Varin and Elizabeth Varin. He is also leaves behind a growing number of great-nieces and great-nephews as well as numerous longtime friends.
Gary’s early life was spent in Butte, Montana but his family moved to Lake Arrowhead, CA in his teenage years. He graduated from Rim of the World High School and went on to attend UC Riverside where he received a B.A. in Urban Planning. Soon after graduating, Gary found his true passion and went into construction and carpentry work and eventually settled in the Bay Area. He spent most of his adult years in Oakland and Berkeley and enjoyed the action and diversity of the area. He appreciated and explored different cultures and ideals without judgement.
In his later years, Gary settled in Turlock, CA. He adopted a Jack Russel Terrier named Jake and the two became inseparable. He would faithfully take Jake to the local dog parks almost daily and soon made a group of caring friends. Gary may not have been famous in world terms but he was famous and immediately loved by everyone he met. He never cared much for material things and led a pretty simple life. His unflinching faith, positive attitude, empathy and humility saw him through everything tossed his way; and through his examples the world is a better place. He was also in every sense a survivor who faced many challenges with courage and dignity.
A service will be held at 11:00 am on February 11, 2017 at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Lake Arrowhead, Ca. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to your local SPCA or Habitat for Humanity. In celebration of his life, a memorial bench will be placed in the Centennial Dog Park in Turlock, CA.