Gary Wayne Gaintner, 66, a longtime Fort Sumner businessman, died Wednesday, May 2, 2012, in Fort Sumner following an illness. His family was at his bedside.
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Gary was born December 10, 1945, in Chester, PA, to the home of George W. and Dorothy (Maki) Gaintner. His family moved to Jal, NM, where Gary attended school until the second grade. The family moved to Odessa, TX, where Gary finished school, graduating from Ector High School in 1963.
Following graduation, Gary served in the U.S. Air Force for four years. He was stationed at Mountain Home AFB, ID. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant on September 22, 1971. Gary made his home in Tucumcari, NM, where he owned and operated the Redwood Restaurant for four years. He later moved to Carlsbad, NM, where he was employed for NASCO until 1977. In 1977, he moved to Fort Sumner with his father and grandfather and built the Oasis Motel on East Sumner Avenue. Gary married Elaine Vansickel in 1986 at Las Vegas, NV. The Oasis Motel was renamed Billy The Kid Inn and Gary and his wife, Elaine, own and operate the business.
Gary was a 32nd Degree Mason and member of Mount Moriah Lodge #5; a charter member and served as Treasurer of the Billy The Kid Aerie of the Fraternal Order of Eagles for many years; member of the Tuesday Night Men's Bowling League; a Boy Scout Master for 12 years; and served on the Fort Sumner Village Council for 11 1/2 years.
Gary was an avid Dallas Cowboy fan, he enjoyed camping and fishing, loved to watch Western and Sci-Fi movies, and was the best Tic-Tac-Toe player with his grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his parents; maternal grandparents, George and Alma Macki and paternal grandparents, George W. and Myrtle Gaintner.
He is survived by his wife, Elaine Gaintner of Fort Sumner; three sons, Gary W. Gaintner and wife, Angelica of Tijeras, NM, Brian Gaintner and wife, Jennifer of Tacoma, WA, and Michael Gaintner and wife, Nilda of Patterson, CA; three sisters, Kathy Hase and husband, Fred of Commerce, TX, Linda Kuzniar, and Nancy Piaz and husband, Jerry all of Las Cruces, NM. Also surviving are six grandchildren, Everett and Garrett Gaintner of Tijeras, NM, Jeramy Gaintner, Kyle, Kristian, and Sebastian, Gaintner all of Tacoma, WA.
Funeral services led by Mount Moriah Masonic Lodge will be held at 9:00 AM Saturday, May 5, 2012, at the Chavez Funeral Home Chapel in Fort Sumner, interment will follow at Fort Sumner Cemetery.
Arrangements are under the direction of Chavez Funeral Home, 830 N. Fifth Street, Fort Sumner, NM, (575) 355-2311. To place an online tribute or sign the guest book, visit www.chavezfuneralhome.com
Published in the Clovis News Journal and Portales News-Tribune on May 4, 2012