Gary Lee Arbaugh
1948 - 2020
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Gary Lee Arbaugh
December 11, 1948 - June 13, 2020
Gary Lee Arbaugh passed away at his home on Saturday, June 13, 2020 after battling Parkinson's disease, Multiple Myeloma and in May, suffering from a stroke.
Gary was born on December 11, 1948 in Twin Falls, Idaho to his parents, Bill and Helen Arbaugh. Gary "Shorty" and his older brother, Larry "Butch" grew up in King Hill, Idaho playing in the desert, shooting, hunting and playing sports. Gary graduated from Glenns Ferry High School in 1967.
He married Kathy Ponder in December 1981 in Mountain Home where they had their daughter, Laura. From there, they moved to Twin Falls and then to Boise in 1987 where they welcomed their son Tyler.
After closing his clothing store "The Bottom Dollar" in Mountain Home, Gary sold advertising for over 30 years working in newspaper, radio and television. He made many friends out of coworkers and clients over the years.
Family meant so much to Gary. As a family the Arbaughs spent weekends camping, boating and having fun together. Gary coached multiple sports teams so that he could spend more time with his kids. He had a passion for hunting and the outdoors that he passed on to his children.
Gary loved people and was a member of many different groups throughout his life. He was a lifelong member of the Boise Noon Optimist Club and spent many hours volunteering for the organization including the Youth Football Program as well as selling programs at many BSU sporting events. He was also a member of The Pantry Bun Runners, a running group that participated in multiple relay races throughout the northwest. He did the Sawtooth Relay nine times and the Hood to Coast relay twice. He ran the Race to Robie Creek 13 times.
Gary loved to water ski and did so every week for a total of 861 consecutive weeks in a row year round. Both of his kids participated in the ski streak over the years along with his good friend Larry. Together, they came up with the idea for, and co-founded the Make a Wish Polar Bear Challenge. This event was something Gary was very proud of.
Gary was an avid BSU fan and for the past 10 years, had a large tailgate or "hoodgate" to celebrate games with his beloved neighbors and all of his friends. Gary and his neighborhood co-conspirator Mark, worked diligently every away game to set up, throw and take down the party. Most of the time they started and ended the day sitting around the outdoor fireplace in the road between their homes.
Gary never met a stranger and made friends wherever he went. He cared for everyone and made everyone he met feel special. He had numerous lifelong friends and wanted to spend time with all of them right up to the end of his life. Many of his friends came over for coffee during the last couple of years and took him to his doctor's appointments and lunch. He had a special bond with all of his neighbors and enjoyed getting together with them often as a group. He made many custom walking sticks for people and enjoyed sharing them with his friends.
A big thank you to everyone who was his friend, all of his doctors and nurses at St. Luke's Cancer Institute in Meridian and everyone at the YMCA Healthy Living Center for helping him feel like he was part of such a fun group and The Optimist Club. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to one of the above mentioned groups in Gary's name.
Gary is survived by his wife of 38 years, Kathy, daughter Laura (JJ) O' Dell, son Tyler (Cierra) Arbaugh and grandsons Finley and Stokely O'Dell.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Please send an email to so we can communicate a date and time with everyone who would like to help us celebrate Gary's wonderful life.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Idaho Statesman on Jun. 28, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
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5 entries
June 28, 2020
Gary has provided means others a lifetime of adventures to remember as we tell stories to each other about , those were the days my friend, I thought they would never end..... D.J.
D. Jett
June 28, 2020
So sorry Kathy to hear of this. Gary's laugh was infectious as was his smile. He was a genuine person as shown through his caring and kindness. Thoughts and prayers to you and your family. He will never be forgotten.
Toni (Jordan) Woodland
June 28, 2020
We are sorry to hear about the passing of Gary. He was a great neighbor ,very friendly and engaging. We would run into Gary as we walked through the neighborhood. He will be missed for sure.
Praying for you and the family as you go through this hard time.
Gary and Kathy Wiedemann
June 28, 2020
Thank you Gary for allowing me to be a part of your world. I miss our coffee at Panera, enjoying our hunting talks, your creativity in the unique things you made and just being around you. You made the most of your time here and made the world a better place. A successful life well lived.
Ken Wall
June 28, 2020
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