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Gary Apsit


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Gary Apsit Obituary
Gary Apsit January 12, 1940 - August 6, 2011 Gary was born on January 12, 1940 in Glendale, California to Marger and Janet Apsit. In 1949, his family moved to Bakersfield when his father accepted a job as the football coach at East Bakersfield High School. Gary graduated from East High in 1958. During his years at East, he played left end for his father and was twice named to the All-South Yosemite League Team. He was a two-year starter in basketball and also lettered in baseball. Gary continued to play football at Bakersfield College and received a scholarship to play for his father's alma mater, the University of Southern California Trojans. In 1962, he met Staci Sorci and they were married a year to the day later on August 31, 1963. In 1969, Gary and Staci moved to Old Stockdale, where they raised their three daughters, Jill, Julianna, and Jori. In 1970, together with his brothers, he founded Apsit Brothers of California, which designed and manufactured decorative statuary. For years, Gary and his brothers had a plant and an adjacent retail store on Kentucky Street, where they would produce and sell plaster plaques, statues and lamps. At first, they hand-painted and signed every single piece. Eventually, it became a hobby for people to purchase the plain white plaster cowboys and clowns and nautical-themed items and paint them themselves. Many of these pieces can still be found in homes today, with "APSIT BROS. OF CALIF." stamped into the plaster. In 1977, Gary opened Gary Apsit Studios and began making cement garden pieces. He had a small plant on Antonino Way where he'd build a fire on cold mornings, and spend the days making molds and producing cement bunnies and turtles and angels and saints. When he closed his plant a few years ago, he joined Sorci Construction as a facilitator, where he treasured his daily interactions with vendors, clients, and coworkers. Some of the happiest days of Gary's life were the summers spent on the beach in Carpinteria. Many will remember him affectionately as "The Kite Man" because of his vast, unique, and colorful collection of kites he would fly on the beach. If you were anywhere in the vicinity of Carpinteria in the late 70's and early 80's, chances are you saw either his kites in the sky, or the throng of children that would follow him on the beach, waiting for him to drop toys and treats from parachutes that ascended the kite strings and dropped from the sky. Over the past several years, Gary rediscovered archery, which he learned as a child spending summers on Catalina Island. He was a member of Kern River Archers and participated in shoots in the beautiful mountains of Lake Isabella, a place he adored, with fellow archers who became some of his dearest friends. Perhaps what people will remember most about Gary is that he had the ability to bring a sense of magic, whimsy, humor, and wonder to everything he did. Whether it was building a treasure chest and filling it with the things he culled from junk stores, flying a kite the size of a car, spending months designing one statue, creating Christmas magic for his children, running a model train on beams above his family room made of actual old railroad ties, or just telling jokes and stories, his unique and artistic expression was his alone. Gary is survived by his wife, Staci; brother, Migs; daughters Jill (Craig) Fordyce, and their children, Jennie, Jack, Daisy, Will and Hope; Julianna (Rafael) Alonso, and their children, Garrett, Jesse, and Luke; and Jori (Jeff) Jellison, and their children, Maryjane, Jake and Suzy. He was predeceased by his parents and his brother, Peter. The family would like to extend its deepest gratitude to Dr. William Baker and his staff for years of kind and compassionate care and to Brian and Laurie Sorci for always being there with love and support. Services will be held at St. Francis Catholic Church, 900 H Street, on Friday, August 12 at 1:00 p.m. A gathering will be held at Luigi's, 725 East 19th Street, immediately following the service. We would love for all of his friends and family to come and share their favorite stories about Gary. We know there are many and we want to hear them all! Gary adored his eleven grandchildren and was so beloved by each and every one of them. He was a grandfather who cheered at sporting events, could and would build anything with his own two hands, read goodnight stories, and rocked babies to sleep. Because of Gary's special connection to and care for all children, we ask that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Discovery Depot Child Care at the Bakersfield Homeless Center, 1600 Truxtun Avenue, Bakersfield, California 93305. (Checks payable to Bakersfield Homeless Center Memo: Discovery Depot - Pied Piper). www.bakersfield.com/obits

This obituary was originally published in the Bakersfield Californian.
Published online on Aug. 10, 2011 courtesy of Bakersfield Californian.
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