Gary Lynn Vestal, age 66, passed away peacefully on Thursday, December 30th, 2021 at his home in Quapaw, OK following a short battle with cancer.
Gary was born October 8th, 1955 in Steelville, MO to parents Robert and Barbara (Mabe) Vestal. The family moved to Thayer, MO in 1961 and remained there until he graduated high school in May of 1973. The day after graduating from high school he joined the United States Air Force and served from May of 1973 until his retirement in April of 1994 as a Tech SGT. During his time in the USAF, he served as an Aircraft Maintenance Technician, Air Force Recruiter, and Assistant Chaplin. Gary served during Desert Storm and Desert Shield and received the Silver Star and was also honored with four Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters. While in the military, he received many decorations and commendations including the NCO Professional Military Education Graduate Ribbon, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, and AF Training Ribbon. Prior to joining the service, Gary was the Minister at Rose Hill Baptist Church in Thayer, Mo. and always took his faith in God very serious.
After retiring from the Air Force, Gary settled in Altus, OK. While in Altus, he served as an Altus Police Officer and a Jackson County Deputy. In 2004, he moved to Quapaw, OK and started his career driving over the road for CFI where he retired in 2011. In July of 2010, Gary married Karyl (Williams) Vestal and they resided in Quapaw until his passing.
Gary had many interests and was an avid hobbyist. Many of his favorite hobbies included, race car driving in which he won many 1st place trophies and 2 track championships, building and flying RC air planes, tournament fishing, and golf, where he won a few Base Golf Championships. He had a love for anything to do with animals of any kind: bee keeping, birds of prey, dogs, raising homing pigeons, chickens, rabbits, quail, and his bearded dragon, Gus. He loved a good cigar and making models of ships. Gary was a hardcore Dale Earnhardt fan, St. Louis Cardinals, and KC Chiefs supporter. Lynyrd Skynyrd was his favorite band having seen them numerous times in person. He enjoyed a good western, Lonesome Dove being his favorite along with any Clint Eastwood movie. Gary also loved riding his Harley Davidson and took several road trips. His love for spending time with his family was also very important to him.
Gary is survived by his wife Karyl of Quapaw, Ok, one son, Brandon and wife Jackie Vestal of Sherman Oaks, CA, stepdaughter K’Lyn Williams of Springfield, MO, two stepsons Bobby and Sarah Williams of Solvang, CA, Rick and Missy Williams of Joplin, MO, and loving mother Barbara Cramer of Steelville, MO. Gary is also survived by his two grandsons, Mason Vestal and Logan Williams, granddaughter Emma Williams, one brother, Bruce and wife Kellie Vestal of Steelville, MO, niece Brianna and husband John Mimnaugh of Parkville, MO, and great niece, Arabella Wynn Mimnaugh. aunt & uncle, Rainey and Joan Godbey and cousins Chris and Terry from St Charles, Mo. He will also be missed by his many family and friends including lifelong friends from childhood and his time in USAF who have remained close over the years.
Gary was preceded in death by his father Robert Vestal, younger brother Michael Vestal, grandparents Paul and Gladys Vestal, grandmother Hester Mabe, and stepfather Howard Cramer.
Gary wished for there to be no services upon his death, just fond memories, love and his ashes to be placed with his younger brother Michael (Mickey) Vestal in Steelville, Missouri.
An inurnment with Full Military Honors by the U.S. Air Force and Patriot Guard was held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 15, 2022 in the Steelville Cemetery with Rev. Jerry Beers officiating. Memories were shared by his brother, Bruce Vestal.
The Vestal Family was served by the Britton-Bennett Funeral Home of Steelville, MO.