Gary Lawrence (Memory Maker) Willbanks
Gary Lawrence (Memory Maker) Willbanks, 67, of Aquilla, passed away on Jan. 8, 2014 in McGregor. Funeral services were held at 10 a.m., Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, at Marshall and Marshall Funeral Directors Chapel in Whitney with Rev. Ken Steffen and Rev. Jeff Stinson, officiating Interment followed at Old Lebanon Cemetery, near Aquilla, with the West VFW Post # 4819 Honor Guard providing military honors. Visitation was held from 4 to 6 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, at the funeral home.
Gary was born in Denver, Colorado, on March 3, 1946.
He was a truck driver for 45 years and the owner and operator of Willbanks Trucking for 20 of those years. During those years, he averaged more than a million miles per year in his truck and had no chargeable accidents during his career.
In October of 1963, he enlisted in the military with Armando Garcia of Cortez, Colorado, and served his country in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam Conflict with the 82nd Airborne patrol, the 101st Airborne and 1st Cavalry Infantry sniper school. During his service in the military, he received the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, National Defense Medal -Vietnam Campaign, the Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Bronze Star, U.S. Army Reserve Good Conduct medal and sniper badge. A member of the 157 American Legion, Field Artillery Division, Battery B, of Cortez, Colorado, and the Disabled American Veterans.
During the last three years, Gary called Latham Springs Camp and Retreat Center his home. At Latham Springs, he connected with the great staff and enjoyed every moment of his work at the camp. Gary was a child at heart who lived to make memories and have fun. He was a member of First Baptist Church of Aquilla.
Gary was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his spouse, Elaine Patzke; children, Shawn Bartley and wife, Libby, Eddy Harris, Clint Willbanks and wife, Amy, Tamie Samford and husband, Joe, Amy Moes and husband, T.J.; grandchildren, Kelly Juntunen and husband, Kyle, Tori Brown and husband Micheal, Michael Willbanks and wife Stephanie, Joshua Willbanks and wife, Crystal, Kassidee Willbanks, Brazos Willbanks, Nicholas Harris, Alex Harris, Ally Moes, Kate Moes and Grace Bartley; great-grandchildren, Raelynn Willbanks and Logan Juntunen; brothers, Randy Willbanks and wife, Caroline and Earl Willbanks; special nephew whom he considered his son, Byron Patzke and wife Dana; several other nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions for Gary may be directed to UT Southwestern, P.O. Box 910888, Dallas, TX 75391-0888 or online at www,.utsouthwestern.edu/donatenow to support brain cancer research conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Maher.