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Gary Vercruse, a gentle and kind-hearted man, passed away on his farm in Durham on Tuesday, February 2, 2010. He was 62.

Everyone's friend, and known as "Mr. Nice Guy", Gary spent his life helping, serving and encouraging others. His ready smile, gentle manner, and quiet strength gave hope and comfort to so many, as he came along side them to work, pray, and enjoy their company. He genuinely loved people, and anyone who knew him, knew that. He "walked his talk" in Christian faith, believing God's best for each person, and encouraging the gifts and talents he saw in them. In turn, people loved him for it, and treasured his friendship.

Gary touched hearts and lives in many circles of the community: as a student at Chico State in the 60's, as an orchardist at M&T Ranch in the Œ70's, as manager of Chemtec and later their Specialty Products Division for 24 years, and in the 90's, he served as a horticulture instructor at Butte College. In recent years, Gary served as the Grounds and Facilities Manager of CSUC, and in the faith community of Chico for 35 years, most recently at Neighborhood Church. He was active in the California Nurserymen's Association, North Valley Property Owners Association, and member of the Chico Natural Foods Co-operative.

Gary was born in Omaha, Nebraska October 23, 1947. His parents, Al and Sylvia Vercruse, moved to the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California shortly after he was born, where they settled in Arcadia. Gary grew up there, graduating from Arcadia High School in 1965. He graduated from CSUC in 1970 with a degree in Industrial Technology. He married the love of his life, Karen Shanks on June 19, 1971, and moved to Southern California where he earned his secondary teaching credential at Cal State L.A. They were able to move to their beloved Chico again in 1975, when he went to work at M&T Ranch, and have been active in the community ever since.

Gary is survived by his loving wife of 39 years, Karen; a daughter after his own heart, Jaime, and her husband, Randy Forslund; his mother, Sylvia, and his brother, Rod and wife, Suzanne. Gary was a beloved cousin of a large extended family, including Jerry Vercruse and wife, Jan, Kent Vercruse and wife, Suzie, Tom Vercruse and wife, Mary Ann and Linda (Vercruse) Babb and husband Doug.

A Celebration of Life will be held for Gary on February 27, at 2 p.m. at Neighborhood Church, 2801 Notre Dame Blvd, Chico. A reception in the church fellowship hall will follow.

Arrangements will be made through Newton-Bracewell Funeral Home, where more information is available on their website at: www.NBCFH.com or call (530) 342-9003.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Women's Resource Clinic or Jordan's Crossing Ministries. Please send donations to Newton -Bracewell Funeral Home, where they will be collected, acknowledged, and forwarded to the respective charities.

Published in Chico Enterprise-Record from Feb. 22 to Feb. 23, 2010
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