Whether you called him Gary, Butch, Hoss, Mac, Dad, or Grandpa, Gary McNamara passed away on June 24, 2015. He was born on July 4, 1946, in the yet untamed wilderness of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the second son of Clarence “Scoop” and Freida (LaVance) McNamara.
Hoss attended Tahquamenon Area schools in Newberry where his involvement in sports and social activities were the only reasons he went. After high school, he moved below the bridge to attend Besser Technological School at Alpena Community College where he studied welding and machining.
Butch worked at various places as a welder, but it was when he worked at R.E. Olds Diamond REO that he lived in Lansing and ended up meeting the love of his life. Gary was a real piece of work and she had to put a lot of work into him. He had to learn how to treat a lady right, how to see things in a different light, and how to be a family man. He must have been a quick study, because in a little less than a year from meeting, Gary married Joanne Miller on September 17, 1966 in Fowler.
Soon after, Gary was drafted into the army where he trained and served as a Specialist in Explosive Ordinance Disposal. After his enlistment, he opened a business. He owned and operated McNamara’s Welding & Machining in Fowler, MI, where he was renowned for being able to fix most any item that others wouldn’t even attempt. He repaired every kind of farm implement. He designed and built wood stoves. He fixed everything from hitches to axles to furniture. And he never turned away a kid who needed a lawn mower blade sharpened or a bike tire inflated. In the late 1980’s, Mac closed the shop and took a job with the State of Michigan.
He was a Correction’s Officer at MTU in Ionia and later at DRF in Carson City. Curiously, he got great satisfaction from taking out work crews. Because he always treated others how he wanted to be treated, the inmates worked hard for him and never gave him any trouble. He retired from the state in 1999. Gary kept busy in his retirement by holding other jobs as well. He loved driving the blue bus for Clinton Transit. He also received great pleasure from driving all over the state as a courier for Fuji film.
Throughout his life, Gary was a total sports fan. He sponsored many local sports teams. He enjoyed attending HS football games on Friday nights, as well as watching every kind of sport on TV, especially the MSU teams. The Spartans will forever have a fan on high.
Gary’s family meant everything to him. He loved spending time with his brothers and sisters and their families in the UP. There were family reunions, birthday celebrations, holiday parties, deer camp, and the annual Labor Day Corn Roast. He enjoyed seeing his grandchildren play sports, perform in dance recitals, pageants, and school concerts, and celebrating all the holidays. He received special enjoyment from giving the grandkids rides on his electric scooter.
Gary is survived by his loving wife, Joanne; son, Patrick McNamara of Springport, MI; daughters, Julie (Kory) Gould of Lakeview, MI, Teri (Roger) Skaggs of Ithaca, MI, Susan (Burt) Ramsey of Maple Rapids, MI, and Cheryl (Scott) Kus of Perrinton, MI; thirteen grandchildren; one great-grandchild; brothers, Clarence “Mick” McNamara, and Richard (Marie) McNamara; sisters, Annie Holbrook, and Patricia (Jack) Thomas; brothers-in-law, Alan (Sheila) Miller, Martin (Luann) Miller, Charles (Joanne) Miller; sister-in-law, Lois (Richard) Rodgers, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Leslie Lyle McNamara; grandson, Spencer Ramsey; brother-in-law, Melvin Holbrook; sister-in-law, Beverly McNamara; and father and mother-in-law, Marvin and Julia Miller.
Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 am, Monday, June 29, 2015, at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Fowler. The celebrant will be his nephew, Fr. Mathias Thelen. The family will receive friends on Sunday, June 28 from 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm with a rosary at 7 pm at the Goerge Chapel of Osgood Funeral Homes in Fowler.