Dec. 22, 2012
Gary R. Mathers, 70, a resident of Trucksville, passed away peacefully early Saturday morning Dec. 22, 2012, at Hospice Community Care, Inpatient Unit, Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre.
His loving wife is Christine (Puchalsky) Mathers. Together, Gary and Christine celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary on Aug. 21, 2012.
Born on June 3, 1942, in Kingston, Gary was a son of the late Richard and Mary (Heltzel) Mathers.
Raised in Trucksville, Gary attended the former Gate of Heaven grade school, Dallas, and the former Westmoreland High School, Trucksville.
After high school, Gary enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, serving for four years during peacetime. During his time with the Air Force, Gary was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award and the Good Conduct Medal. Upon his honorable discharge, Gary had attained the rank of Airman 3rd Class.
After discharge from the Air Force, Gary went on to further his education at Millersville University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in industrial arts. Later, Gary attended The University of Scranton, where he earned his master's degree in guidance.
Gary started his teaching career at Tunkhannock Middle School, where he was employed for 10 years as an industrial arts instructor. He also served there as a football coach for some time. After leaving Tunkhannock Middle School, Gary was employed for 22 years as an industrial arts instructor for Dallas High School, retiring in 2002.
Throughout his teaching years, Gary continued to serve his country as an Army Reservist with the 322nd M.P. Det. (CI) in Ashley. Within the detachment, he served as special agent/criminal investigator and was assigned as the operations officer. In 1991, Gary was called back to active duty during Operation Desert Storm, serving with the U.S. Army. Throughout Desert Storm, Gary was extremely proud to serve on the protective detail for Gen. Colin Powell. In 2001, Gary retired from the 322nd Criminal Investigation Detachment, having attained the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 4.
Gary was the type of educator who completely immersed himself in his profession. To that end, he became a member of the Student Assistance Program at Dallas High School, which is designed to support students and families experiencing behavioral and/or academic difficulties.
For eight years, Gary served on the Dallas School Board. His proudest achievement while on the school board was serving as chairman of property. In this capacity, he was instrumental in overseeing the construction of the new Dallas High School, which opened in September 2011. Additionally, he served as chairman of the Policy Committee, which is responsible for the revision of school policy, and served on the Joint Operating Committee, which is the overseeing body of the West Side Career and Technology Center. He also was an ardent supporter of the Dallas High School wrestling program.
Active within his community, Gary was elected to the Kingston Township Board of Supervisors in 2012.
A proud veteran, Gary held membership with the Military Officers Association of America and the American Legion. As a further demonstration of his support for the military and advancing his interests in military history, Gary recently contributed to the foundation formed for the construction of the National Museum of the U.S. Army at Fort Belvoir, Va.
Gary held great interest in anything relating to the Civil War. He was a member of the Civil War Round Table and had a vast collection of books and memorabilia pertaining to the Civil War.
An avid and well-skilled woodworker, Gary took great pride in making various pieces of furniture, wood carvings and detailed wooden toys for his family and friends.
He enjoyed many things in life. As a young man, he enjoyed motorcycle racing. Later, his interests turned to golfing, reading and taking every opportunity to join his friends for coffee and breakfast at their favorite gathering spots.
Gary loved spending time with his family. He always held a special place in his heart for his beloved granddaughters. Gary will forever be remembered as a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend. He will be greatly missed by all those who knew and loved him.
In addition to his parents, Richard and Mary Mathers, Gary was preceded in death by his father-in-law, John E. Puchalsky.
In addition to his wife, Christine, Gary is survived by his children, Michael Mathers, at home; Nina Van Mater and her husband, Steve, of Lansdale; his granddaughters, Mia and Claire Van Mater; his brothers, William Mathers of Littlestown, Daniel Mathers of Trucksville, Philip Mathers and his wife, Sharon, of Trucksville; his mother-in-law, Lena (Orlandini) Puchalsky of Trucksville; his brothers-in-law, John Puchalsky and his wife, Beth Ann, of Trucksville, David Puchalsky and his wife, Jane Ashton, of Harveys Lake; numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
The family would like to express sincere gratitude to Dr. Greenwald and his staff for their care, kindness and compassion throughout Gary's treatment.
As per Gary's wishes, his body was donated to The University of Scranton Medical College.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend a Memorial Mass on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 10:30 a.m. in St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church, 585 Mount Olivet Road, Carverton, with the Rev. Vincent Dang, pastor, officiating. The family will receive friends on Saturday immediately after the Memorial Mass.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Wroblewski Funeral Home Inc., 1442 Wyoming Ave., Forty Fort.
For additional information, or to send the family an online condolence, visit the funeral home website, www.wroblewskifuneralhome.com.
The family kindly requests that flowers be omitted and memorial contributions be made in Gary's memory to NAMI-PA, Wilkes-Barre Office, 100 E. Union St., Second Floor, Suite #6, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702; or to Hospice Community Care, 601 Wyoming Ave., Kingston, PA 18704.