Gary Bean
{ "" }
Share
Share Gary's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
Gary Bean

Knoxville - To the owner of the big skinny dog that disappeared from your North Knoxville front yard where you had chained her to a picnic table:

Gary Bean stole her.

He was working in your neighborhood and would slow down and look every time he'd drive past your house. He considered talking to you about it, but you were never around, and it didn't take him long to decide that anybody mean enough to treat a dog like that wasn't worth talking to anyway, so he applied bolt cutter to chain, loaded her into his truck and went on the lam.

She had a home and a new name by the weekend. Her new people called her Maggie and loved her for the rest of her life, which was doubtless way longer than it would have been if she'd stayed chained to your picnic table. That was many years ago, and the dog stealing statute has long since run, so there's nothing you can do about it now, if you're still around.

And even if you are, Gary's out of your reach. He died last Thursday without ever once regretting setting Maggie free. Truth to tell, you probably weren't his only victim. Gary never met a critter he didn't love and wasn't about to let technicalities stop him from acting on his convictions.

Gary Michael Bean was born on the 4th of July 1954 at St. Mary's to Mercedes and Albert Bean. A country boy and an avid reader, he went to school at Ritta Elementary and Gibbs High where he made many friends, played football, butted heads with teachers and was named Senior Class Favorite. He studied forestry at UT before heading out to try life in New Orleans and Houston before returning to Knoxville. He was kindhearted, funny, friendly and generous past the point of reason.

He was predeceased by his father, grandparents Ralph and Marion Bean and Luci Gonzalez, and brothers John and Butch. Survivors include brothers Richard and David, sisters Jeanette and Betty plus numerous nieces and nephews, companion Becky Sharp and many friends.

There will be no formal funeral service, but Gary's friends and family will be welcomed to an evening of remembering at a later date.




To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Knoxville News Sentinel on Aug. 14, 2019.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
102 entries
December 2, 2019
A fine man, glad he blessed us with his time on earth!
December 2, 2019
We never met but reading your obituary, I know I would have really liked you. It's so hard to see those with hearts the size of Texas leave us, while those who have none at all stay behind. However, I know you will be rewarded for your humanity and remembered here always. On behalf of this precious dog and all you saved, THANK YOU! My prayers and love, go out to all who knew and loved you.
Sherry Ledford
December 2, 2019
I didn't know you but, you sound like fine folk to me. Anyone that saves an animal is a hero, at least to that animal, some people don't like to be called a hero, in my book. I have a feeling you didn't go alone across the rainbow bridge. Not just your babies but the babies you've helped over your life. A rescuer is allowed one final act of rescue, I'm sure there were many animals he escorted. Peace to your family and friends.
December 2, 2019
Thank you Gary, we haven't met, but I bet we'd be friends.
Thank you for giving a prisoner her freedom, a new life and me, the answer to a dilemma I've had for a while.
Annana Muss
December 1, 2019
The world is a sadder and darker place without Gary Bean. What a phenomenal person with a huge heart.
Pat Johnson
September 3, 2019
Gary Bean you were a wonderful human being and it is my belief that the world is poorer without you in it! Now you are reunited with your beloved Maggie where you will live forever in love and happiness with your furbaby and other family who went before you! May you RIP
Mary Florio
August 28, 2019
Gary, you left the world too soon. A hero to so many, in the rescue world, and a true champion for the animals. There is a special place for you in heaven, but forever, a special place for you in the hearts of animal lovers and rescuers who would have loved to spend time with you over coffee or wine, and share with you their own rescue stories. Thank you for being you.
Vera van Diepen
August 23, 2019
Rip king
August 22, 2019
Never heard of you before this beautiful story of your dedication to the welfare of animals in general, and to Maggie in particular. You are definitely someone I would have liked to call "friend." May you be surrounded throughout eternity with sweet, furry souls and the sounds of their soft, loving voices.
Carly Chichester
August 22, 2019
You did a good thing, Gary.... wish we had more people like you in the world. These poor creatures cannot speak for themselves and we all need to step up! RIP, Gary, you at least made a difference for one dog.....
Donna Carmichael
August 22, 2019
Bravo, Gary! What a hero you are! Enjoy your place in Heaven!
donna commey
August 22, 2019
I never met Gary but I wish I had. The world and Tennessee lost another kind soul much too soon.

Rest in Peace Gary.
August 21, 2019
Jesus prepared a place in Eternity before your life on earth had ended. Sympathy to your family and Prayers to comfort them, and you will see Gary again.. GOD Bless you.
Barbara Marcello
August 21, 2019
Gary Bean, You are amazing! Our Lord and your beautiful Maggie welcomed you into Heaven with endless love. I am reading your meaningful obit with tears in my eyes and joy in my heart. I am being blessed with reading about your earthly send-off on my birthday. Praise God for letting me acquire more knowledge about someone who exemplified the beautiful gift of kindness!
Cindy Wisnieski
August 21, 2019
I didn't know Gary personally, but that is a beautiful story about Maggie.Sounds like he was an amazing person.Rip Gary.with deepest sympathy to his family.Patricia Ellis
Patricia Ellis
August 21, 2019
Gary. I never knew you but wish I had. You were a hero and clearly an exemplary person. I hope your compassion can inspire others. Rest In Peace Gary.
Hilary Machan
August 20, 2019
A life well lived. I never knew you, but you made the world a better place. Mggie was a lucky dog.

- Heide
August 20, 2019
I never met you, Gary, but I feel my world is all the poorer for not having done so. I read about you on my Facebook page and I do believe, as it says, the world is a diminished place without you in it. Go in peace. And linger as long as you like, at the Rainbow Bridge. I am positive there are many friends of your's there.
MaryAnn Olleck
August 20, 2019
Janice Henderson
August 20, 2019
Thank you for being such a good man!
Sharon
August 19, 2019
You were taken from this earth much too young, much too soon. Though we never met, my day was made richer by reading about you today. God speed, Gary.
Terry T
August 19, 2019
We lost an American hero. God speed, Gary
Lucrecia
August 19, 2019
Gary Bean, safe travels. By now you know if it is true, that your spirit dog really does walk with you through the valley of the shadow, and whether all the animals you've ever known really do get to decide whether you enter the Kingdom. If so, my friend, you are now enjoying the love fest you deserve. Thank you for showing that it is really all about the love, regardless of species. The next dog I "liberate" will be named in your honour, with gratitude for your example.
BL barnett
August 19, 2019
I don't know you . I read about you on a FaceBook post. My love and comfort go out to your family. And, wherever you may be now, thank you from the bottom of my heart, for what you did to help the dog. You are an Angel.
August 18, 2019
Had I known Gary, I would have wanted to be friends. Animal lovers are usually the kindest and best of the human species. Sending sympathy to Gary's family from North Platte, Nebraska
Jo Mayber
August 18, 2019
All the way from the Netherlands, I give you my deepest respect Gary! I hope many animal lovers will follow in your footsteps, to make this world a better place for humans and animals. I wish your family and friends strength in this difficult times,
Willl van Hoof
August 17, 2019
I wish I had known you; we are about the same age. Your family wrote such a touching and lovely tribute to you and your acts of kindness. Hopefully, others will be inspired to do the right thing and help our fellow creatures.
Suzanne Russell
August 17, 2019
Hi Gary,
You are a beautiful man to do what is right, those people probably didnt even notice for awhile after they got back from there trip that she was even gone! I thank you for your kindness that not alot of humans have anymore! I would have loved to have met you, I have rescued many animals, but this rescue was point blank, in your face, justice!!!
God bless!
Lynda
Lynda Francisco
August 17, 2019
RIP
August 17, 2019
I never had the pleasure of meeting Gary, but certainly wish I had. He obviously was an Angel here on earth to animals who don't have a voice to speak with. His story inspires my heart in this world filled with so much mean and evil, selfish and cruel. So like I said, I never had the pleasure of meeting him, but I certainly won't forget him.
M Palmer
August 16, 2019
I give thanks to God for gentle reminders of His existence. I never met Gary, or knew of him. But yet his story prevails across the miles, to someone that he never met, or knew, and lightened his heart. I pray that more hear his story, and live his example and are affirmed in the belief that the GOOD fight is worth fighting, and we are meant has God's gardeners and the tenders of his flock. Thank you for sharing your story, your loved one, and your life with so many.
Dennis Betzel
August 16, 2019
I have very fond memories of Gary from long ago high school days. It doesn't surprise me in the least that this story is his legacy. He was always gentle and kind. RIP friend.
Kay Ramsey
August 16, 2019
You, sir, are my hero. May you rest in peace and know that I will never forget this story. I have a big, silly Mastiff named Maggie- she's never known suffering but if I ever see an animal suffering, I will act, and I will think of you whilst doing so!
Kelly R
August 16, 2019
I never met Gary, and after reading his obituary, I regret that. He sound like someone to be admired, and as a fellow animal rescuers and avid book reader, I would have enjoyed knowing him.
L. M. Ashley
August 16, 2019
Thank you for saving Maggie. When you get to heaven look up my beloved old friend Mike Supple, you are kindred spirits.
Virginia
August 16, 2019
Although I never had the pleasure of your company I am sorry for your loss. You are obviously a good man . Thank you for making Maggie's life better and I would venture to guess she was one of many humans and soft furry souls who've loved you in your lifetime. Thank You from a world in need of more goodness.
Dachel Crossland
August 16, 2019
I didn't know Gary, but it sounds like he was an incredible man. Anyone with enough conviction to do what he did for Maggie should be celebrated. My condolences to those who loved him.
Chris Hall
August 16, 2019
I don't know you-but I am sure you and Maggie and many other furbabies are dancing over the Rainbow Bridge.
God bless his family and friends.
Lori Baker
August 16, 2019
Your the man every man should be Gary Bean. Thanks for saving Maggie.
Katie Billings
August 16, 2019
Chris Stormer Grew up with the Bean family as neighbors. Didn't know about the dog story till I read the obit. Betty, thanks for sharing. Wayne, Debby and I share your grief. The Beans were always special to our family, never forgotten.
Chris Stormer
August 16, 2019
Grew up with the Bean family as neighbors. Didn't know about the dog story till I read the obit. Betty, thanks for sharing. Wayne, Debby and I share your families grief. The Beans were always special to our family, never forgotten.
Chris Stormer
August 16, 2019
Chris Stormer
August 16, 2019
Gary was a man that had a conviction that all humans should aspire to. In his memory we all should do what we can to save any poor suffering animal. Thank you Gary for saving Maggie and I am sure countless others. May you rest in peace knowing that so many others may follow your lead. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.
Maria
August 16, 2019
I never knew Gary but he sounds like someone I would have liked very much. Peace to his family.
Crystal Siegel
August 16, 2019
We rescued 150 dogs today from a hoarding case today... definitely planning to honor you and your legacy with naming pups Maggie, Bean, Gary and Knox. I hope you would like that. Thank you for being Maggie's hero. My heart is with those who were lucky enough to know you in life.
Lexi Pace
August 16, 2019
God Bless you Gary for saving Maggie & probably others. Obviously, you r a kind hearted & caring soul. I know you'll be missed. Enjoy your new life & we will try to take care of the other Maggies out here.
Kathleen Robertson
August 16, 2019
Thank you for being so awesome to Maggie (and others!) We lost a hero but know you're up with all your doggo friends who crossed the rainbow bridge and waiting for you to boop their little snoots!
l v
August 16, 2019
After reading the story about Gary - I feel like I missed out of knowing a great guy! I hope he and Maggie are spending time together now! I am sorry for those who no longer have him in their daily lives. Thank you for sharing a piece of Gary's heart with us.
Suzanne
August 16, 2019
To Gary's family, I never had the pleasure of meeting Gary. I wish I had. I believe we would have been friends. What a wonderful human being! Thank you for sharing Gary's story! He died way too soon. :'(
Susan Mahoney
August 16, 2019
Rest In Peace. Gary I did have the pleasure of knowing you in our high school days and a few years after we lost touch. You were so kind to everyone and always had a remark or to that could make someone laugh on a bad day. Debbie Sheppard Prince
Debbie Sheppard Prince
August 15, 2019
Thank you Gary Bean. Sounds like the world lost a good soul. I love that you are back with your Maggie. I imagine she was thrilled to see you. I'm sorry for your family's liss.
Deb Lay
August 15, 2019
Never knew you but anyone that would be so kind as to improve the life of a dog is a friend of mine. May you and Maggie spend your eternity's together.
Jason Buchanan
August 15, 2019
What a wonderful man. I am so sorry I didn't know you, but I won't forget your loving soul. RIP Gary and Maggie.
Jean Brewer
August 15, 2019
Wish I would have known you! Thank you for rescuing the dog you named Maggie!!!
Toni Bennett
August 15, 2019
Gary, I never had the opportunity to meet you, but wish I could have met you. Bless you for your kind heart. No doubt you were reunited with Maggie on the other side.
Cecile
Cecile Cherry
August 15, 2019
My mama stole a dog once. Climbed a chain link fence and brought home the skinniest, scared-est Dalmatian you've every laid eyes on. I like to think there's a very special place where people who give animals a better life get to spend eternity. I didn't know your brother, but he did a wonderful thing for Maggie. I wish your family peace, comfort, and light.
Sharon Barrett
August 15, 2019
I too stole a dog once. Best thing I ever did and that good boi was forever grateful. We loved him, for the short time he was with us, until his very last breath. No doubt Kenai greeted Gary when he got there.

Heaven certainly gained one of the better ones. I can only hope that my obit is as cool as Gary's some day. I too want to leave the world with laughter instead of a tears. God Bless you and yours.

From an animal lover
an animal lover
August 15, 2019
I'm so sorry for your families lose, I never knew Gary Bean but he did nothing to apologise for , he saved a life and gave her a good home, so I honor him, rest in peace Gary Bean,you we're a man of men, thank you.
Donna Manning
August 15, 2019
Gary, I never met you, but we are kindred spirits. Your love of animals and kindness toward them shows the world what kind of person you were. I'm sure there will be a meeting of rescuers and the animals they have saved in heaven. See you there.
August 15, 2019
Gary Bean. I didn't know you, but I knew and loved your soul. No doubt Maggie and the countless other animals you saved over the years were there, along with your father and brothers, to welcome you to the other side. Y'all have a wonderful time running and playing over there while you rest in peace here. I look forward to meeting you. God bless you for leaving this world a better place.
Lisa Pittman
August 15, 2019
As I am sitting here feeling sorry for myself, I came across this story on facebook. This has shown me that I cannot be sorry for past grievances and to let go and just live life to the fullest. Thank you Gary Bean for this lesson & may the Lord bless you with your mansion on high. Pet Maggie for us all.
Rest In Love and Peace
B Mooney
August 15, 2019
Betty, we've never met but I am so sorry for your loss, & I had to let you know how much the obituary you wrote has touched us. I feel it will do the same to many, many people for years to come. I never met your brother, but now I will never forget your brother.
Debra Tonks
August 15, 2019
Barbara Hickman
August 15, 2019
I'm sorry for ur loss. I didn't know him but I would have love2 made him my friend. This is the BEST obituary I HAVE EVER read. Idk who came up with this who ever did it was the BEST THING EVER. u spoke the truth & let others know how kind he was & loving. I hope u don't get mad but I'm going to show the world they miss out on meeting him. Once again I'm sorry 4 ur loss & mine 4 not getting 2 meet him.
Mary Gorman
mary Buhl gorman
August 14, 2019
I wish I could have had the honor of knowing you, Gary Bean ... and Maggie too. She sure hit the jackpot when you cut that chain. You must both be in heaven now - I'm positive you are because anyone with a heart as big as yours with that much love & kindness in it has to be. Thank you for having graced earth with your presence. R.I.P.
N.M. Curtis
August 14, 2019
Gary, thank you for releasing the dog, no dog should be tied to a picnic table or a tree. R.I.P.
Janis
August 14, 2019
I am sure Maggie will be glad to be reunited with Gary.
Erlinda B
August 14, 2019
Stuart remembers you and your family, but I enjoyed reading about your love. May you be remembered for the caring you showed and I hope you're reunited with your loves in peace and joy.
Lisa Collins
August 14, 2019
I never met Gary, but after reading his obituary I wish I had. We need more people like this man on Earth.
Rest easy, friend.
Jessica Shipp
August 14, 2019
Sounds like an awesome man good for him free in that poor dog and giving that dog a happy life!
Janney Carter
August 14, 2019
I'm sorry to hear this. Though I did not have the honor of knowing his personally, I am certain he made this world a better place. Please accept my heartfelt condolences.
August 14, 2019
Rest In Peace Gary Bean. You touched so many lives as a testimonial to your sisters kind words. We all hope to make a difference. You sir certainly did!
Jane Craig
August 14, 2019
There is a special place in Heaven.
Mary
August 14, 2019
I didn't know Gary, but, he was a kind soul.
He did a beautiful thing, I am sure Maggie was loved
Vicky Kohn
August 14, 2019
Wish I would have had the pleasure of knowing this man. Seems like a very wonderful human being. May he be at rest.♥
Chelsea Ice
August 14, 2019
I wish we had been friends, Gary, because you sound like one of my people. Anyone who can care for a helpless creature like that Is truly a compassionate soul. Fly high and remember, Heaven contains all that completes our happiness, which, I surmise, includes puppies as far as the eye can see
Dawn Moore
August 14, 2019
Shocked to learn of Gary's passing....
He will be in our hearts forever....

Vicki N. Esponge, Maryville, TN
August 14, 2019
Sorry for your loss.
Donna (Hatley) Corum
August 14, 2019
Good man
August 14, 2019
Deepest Sympathies From An Animal Lover In Ohio! What A Beautiful Legacy And Mark To Leave On This World! I'm Almost Certain That Maggie Was Waiting For Gary Just On The Other Side Of The Rainbow Bridge. Thank You For Sharing Such A Beautiful Story.
Erin M
August 14, 2019
Mr Bean what a heart you had. When I first started reading your obituary I didn't know what was going on. I am so glad I continued reading about your heartfelt journey. I know by your character that your family is so proud of you. I like so many on here wish I would have known you. May you and Maggie be reunited and May your sweet soul RIP.
Nancy Wright
August 14, 2019
I did not know Mr. Gary Bean but I am so glad he saved this poor little dog. May God comfort all his fur babies he had in his life and his family and friends in this hard time of their loss. I am a cat lover by heart but no animal deserves to be treated like this.

A resident of the Gibbs Community
August 14, 2019
Sorry for your loss, Betty. Our condolences.

Randy & Michele
August 14, 2019
The world needs more souls like Gary. I know him only from this post and his love for a doggo in need.
August 14, 2019
May God Bless Gary, Family and Maggie! Steven Cupp Atlanta,Ga.
STEVEN Cupp
August 14, 2019
I did not have the pleasure of knowing Gary Bean but what a tribute and testimony to his character. Well done, sir.
Michelle C
August 14, 2019
Gary sounds like a top-notch human. Condolences to your family.
Erika N.
August 14, 2019
So sorry for your loss of this , I am sure wonderful man. God has a special place for kind hearted humans. I am sure that Maggie and many others were there waiting to greet him. God bless you all.
JoAnn Daniel
August 14, 2019
I wish I had had known Gary. We need more people like him who will do the right thing for those who are helpless.
G Dyer
August 14, 2019
R.I.P Gary. I've never met you but after reading your obit I know you were an awesome human being.
Godspeed....
Angela Ownby
August 14, 2019
Thank you, Gary, for being a wonderful human being! Anybody that would rescue a dog is a stand up person. I didn't know you so well; but I spent a lot of time at your house. Betty and I were great friends in high school and the whole family was a pleasure to know. May God bless your family during this time. RIP.
Mary Lou Childress Morell
August 14, 2019
And now Gary and Maggie are together again.
P Webb
August 14, 2019
I am sorry I never met you. You sound like an amazing man.
August 14, 2019
Gary obviously knew what was right and how desperately animals need all the friends they can get. We hear he was one, indeed. What a loss to them and to the world which sorely needs kind souls in it. With respect, and condolences to all who knew him.
Ingrid Newkirk
August 14, 2019
Just from reading your obit, my life is poorer for not having known you. Rest well, Gary Bean.
Anonymous
August 14, 2019
This is the best obit I've ever read! The legacy this man left behind should be the footprints we should all try to walk in everyday.
Take care of ALL God's creatures and just be kind! Thank you Gary Bean for your kind and caring service you shared with us today
L McGill
August 14, 2019
RIP Gary!
I wish I had known you, but as a dog lover I know your heart! Thank you for your kindness to all the animals out there that you spoke up for. Best obit ever!
Kathie Birdwell
August 14, 2019
I didn't know Gary Bean but after seeing this I wish I would have known him. The way a man treats animals says all I need to know about their character. Sorry for the loss of a wonderful man.
Leann Cabage
August 14, 2019
Leann Cabage
August 14, 2019
What a guy he must have been. Same age as myself, 2 years younger than my husband.
Thanks for rescuing the dog.
Would love to have known Gary Bean.
Joe & Katie Russell
Could not load more entries
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences