Gary Clarke McVey, 87, passed away Thursday August 19, 2021 after a valiant battle with lymphoma with his wife, Nancy at his side. Gary was born at St. Joseph Hospital in Ottumwa, Iowa August 29, 1933 to Ruth (Miller) McVey and Wilford P. McVey of Ottumwa. He attended grade school in Ottumwa, eventually moving to Agency, IA where he completed his primary and secondary education, graduating from Agency High School in 1950 at age 16, having skipped 4th grade. During his time in Agency, he delivered newspapers, worked for Sweeney's Jack & Jill Grocery and for the Albert Newquist family as a hired hand on their farm. He enjoyed spending time with his grandfather, Fred Miller. Gary attended Iowa State University studying Agricultural from 1950-1953. He joined the U.S. Army in 1953. He met his wife, Nancy (Walls) McVey on a blind date in 1953 when a fellow basic training buddy convinced him he should go to his hometown of Lansdale, PA and meet a nice girl he thought he would like. He proposed to Nancy after just two more dates. Theirs quickly became a long-distance romance as Gary was selected for guided-missile program at Ft. Monmouth, NJ and Red Stone Arsenal, AL, eventually being stationed at White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico. When he was honorably discharged in 1956, he had one year remaining at Iowa State to earn his baccalaureate degree and Nancy agreed to marry him and move to Iowa. After graduating in 1958, the couple moved to Agency, Iowa to begin farming on family land, growing corn and raising hogs, laying hens, and market lambs. Their first child, Melinda was born in 1958. In June 1960 a cyclone wiped out their corn crop, leveled several barns and injured sows ready to birth. After assessing the aftermath of the damage, Gary and Nancy decide to leave the farm and pursue other pathways. Gary accepted a position as assistant manager of a farm loan cooperative in Chariton, IA. Their son, Michael was born in 1961. Gary worked for the co-op three years before he accepted the position of vocational agriculture teacher at the local high school. In 1966, Gary was invited to join the Agricultural Engineering faculty at Iowa State University in Ames, IA to teach agricultural mechanics courses and to pursue advanced degrees and in 1970, he earned his PhD in Agricultural Education with a Minor in Agricultural Engineering. In 1970, Gary accepted an appointment as an Associate Professor in the Agricultural Engineering Department at South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD. In 1972 the students in the College of Agriculture honored him with the ''Outstanding Instructor Award.'' In 1973, Gary became Chair of the Agriculture Division at the University of Minnesota-Crookston (UMC) in northwest Minnesota. In 1978, the Chancellor at UMC recommended Gary for manager of an agricultural project in southwestern Saudi Arabia that was administered by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) Development Program (UNDP) and returned in 1981 as Professor and Chair of the Agriculture Division at UMC. During this time, Gary was also active in the community as a member and leader in several groups, including Lions International, Toastmasters, Crookston Chamber of Commerce, and the Red River Valley Winter Shows. In 1987, Gary stepped aside as Chair and resumed teaching, assisting the Chancellor on several projects, and then became the General Manager for the newly established Agricultural Utilization Research Institute for northern Minnesota located on the UMC campus where the projects were focused on identifying new crops for farmers in northern Minnesota, with broccoli being one selected by several farmers and Gary worked closely with them on learning how to grow as well as freeze and dry the crop. He continued to teach surveying and other courses in the balance of his time, even doing so after he retired in 1995, until 1999. While living in the Crookston area, Gary and Nancy resided on eight acres near Beltrami, MN where they built a home and had a large garden and lots of flowers. He enjoyed their border collie, Stub and Tippy the cat as well as two young Belgian horses. They were also active members at Trinity Lutheran Church in Crookston. After 26 years of northwestern Minnesota weather, they moved to Kerrville, TX. For the first seven years in ''retirement'' Gary worked with Habitat for Humanity building homes locally in the winter months and in the summer they worked on church building projects, travelling across the United States with Mission Builders for the ELCA. Gary was a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Fredericksburg. He and Nancy delivered Meals on Wheels for many years and enjoyed the special contact with the clients. Gary was a member of the CPL Jacob C. Leicht Memorial AMVETS Post 1000 in Kerrville. As a life-long learner, he enjoyed attending a Friday afternoon discussion group in Kerrville and worked in his shop on a range of projects but especially loved horse drawn vehicles and furniture making. He was preceded in death by his parents, Wilford Pearson McVey and Ruth (Miller) McVey and one sister Janet Sue Christy. He is survived by his wife Nancy, daughter Melinda (Scot) McCluskey of Clear Lake, Iowa, son Michael (Tracy) McVey of Wellman, Iowa, four grandchildren, granddaughter Kelsey McVey (Jon Mohler) of Iowa City, Iowa, grandson Daniel McVey (Madison Heard) of Denver, Colorado, grandson Spencer McVey of Wellman, Iowa, and granddaughter Anna McCluskey of Clear Lake, Iowa. A memorial service will be held at 10 am August 25, 2021 at the Grimes Funeral Chapel in Kerrville. A second memorial service will be held in Iowa at a later date. Memorials may be given to Habitat for Humanity, Mission Builders of the ELCA, or a charity of your choice. Sign Guestbook>> 6 Condolence(s) Jo E Eggers HALF MOON BAY, CA Tuesday, August 31, 2021 Dear Nancy, Melinda, Michael and Family, Gary and I were saddened to hear of Gary's passing following a valiant battle with lymphoma. As you know, he was a very thoughtful, positive and supportive nephew for my father and mother and their family. I'm so happy he made time to research the McVey ancestory for the family with all the other commitments he had. What a work of love. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. With love, Joey and Gary Eggers Peg Hainey Kerrville, TX Thursday, August 26, 2021 A brave and fine man. Wonderful times we had at Schreiner's Living History Day not to mention the Scots of the Texas Hill Country. I am here for you, Nancy, as you go forward. Dr. Don sends his condolences and recalls his pleasant visit at your home. Love, Peg Patti Malme Crookston, MN Wednesday, August 25, 2021 Sympathy to Nancy, Melinda and Mike; Worked with Gary through the NWES and Winter Shows and the NWES Garden for several years. He was good to work with and liked the candy bowl I had on my desk. May he RIP. Scot M McCluskey Clear Lake, IA Wednesday, August 25, 2021 I am with you in prayer. God bless you. Jerry Knutson Crookston, MN Tuesday, August 24, 2021 Extending love and sympathy to Nancy and family. Gary was a very kind and thoughtful man. He was a real leader while at UMC. Blessed be his memory. Jerry Knutson Marlena Lau Kerrville, TX Monday, August 23, 2021 Mrs. McVey please know that Dr. Robledo and I are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. We will miss Mr. McVey.
Grimes Funeral Chapels-Kerrville
728 Jefferson St.
Kerrville, TX 78028
Wednesday, August 25, 2021