Funeral services will be 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012, at Collier-Butler Funeral Home for Gary E. Muskett, who passed away Sept. 25 at 2:48 a.m. after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. Visitation will be from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday. Interment will be in Rainbow Memorial Gardens. Service will be conducted by the Rev. Tammy Jackson and the Rev. Harvey Beck.
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Gary was confirmed in the Alabama City United Methodist Church and was a member there for most of his life.
Gary was preceded in death by his parents, the Rev. Tom and Lucile Muskett; paternal and maternal grandparents; many aunts, uncles and cousins.
Survivors include son, Kevin (Paula) Muskett; brothers, Don (Joyce), David (Pat) and Ralph (Carolyn) Muskett; granddaughters; several nieces and nephews, aunts and cousins.
Gary was a standout athlete at Emma Sansom High School, where he graduated in 1957. He was chosen most valuable player in the Etowah County Basketball Tournament in 1956, his junior season. During his senior year, he was elected Captain of the Emma Sansom Rebels' football, basketball and baseball teams and helped lead the baseball team to the 1957 state championship. He attended Tennessee Tech University on a baseball scholarship, where he was an Ohio Valley Conference All Conference Player and later earned graduate degrees at the University of Montevallo and UAB.
Gary spent 30 years in education in Etowah County. He was the only person to ever coach at all three of the old city schools, Emma Sansom, Gadsden High and Litchfield. He was basketball coach at Hokes Bluff from 1961 to 1963 and then returned to his Alma Mater, Emma Sansom, where he coached until 1975. He became head baseball coach in 1966 and led the rebels to the 1970 Class 3A-4A State Championship and the 1973 baseball team to the 4A State Championship. He coached the Rebel Basketball Team to a 17-8 record during the 1971-72 seasons, his only year as Emma Sansom's head basketball coach after eight seasons as the Assistant Coach. The Emma Sansom Yearbook was dedicated to Gary in 1970. He is also a member of the first class of inductees to the Emma Sansom Wall of Fame.
He moved to Litchfield, the city's newest high school, in 1975. He stayed there through the 1981-82 season, coaching both basketball and baseball. He led the Eagles to a 96-89 record in seven seasons as the basketball coach, and their first State Tournament appearance in 1980. He also coached the baseball team to the school's first State Tournament in 1982.
He moved to Gadsden High School in 1982 to coach basketball and serve as Assistant Principal. In his first season, the Tigers reeled off a 30-4 record capped by a 64-51 victory over Guntersville in the 1983 State Championship game. His Gadsden teams compiled a 141-67 record in eight seasons, won five area titles and made four State Tournament appearances. He was named the Alabama 3A Coach of the Year in 1983.
Gary was a player and Captain on one State Championship team and the Head Coach of three others representing the city of Gadsden, truly allowing the city to lay claim as a "City of Champions."
Pallbearers will be: son, Kevin Muskett; brothers, David and Ralph Muskett; nephew, Mark Muskett; Carey Mayes, Snooky Burgess, Hoody Tyler and Jim Snow.
Honorary pallbearers will be: members of the Class of 1957 Emma Sansom Baseball State Championship team, members of the 1970 and 1973 Emma Sansom Baseball State Championship teams, members of the 1983 Gadsden High School Basketball State Championship team, brother, Don Muskett, Eddie Entrekin, Aaron Walker, Max Davis, Hal Davidson, Rickey Arthur, Joey Neal, Jimmy Thompson, Pat Thompson and Max Watson.
A special thanks to Landeria Gladden and her staff at the Meadows in Rainbow City, to Hope Hospice and Nurse Shirley Headrick, and Bradlie Bowlin, who is like family and was with Gary when he passed. They all took special care of Coach Muskett.
Thank you also to Dr. Kevin Windsor, Dr. Leonard Outim, the staff of the fifth floor at Trinity Hospital and the seventh-floor staff at Gadsden Regional Medical Center.
Online condolences may be made at www.collier-butler.com.
Published in The Gadsden Times on Sept. 26, 2012