Journal of the San Juan Islands


Gary Philip Smith: 1951–2012 | Passages

October 3, 2012 · Updated 2:06 PM

Gary Smith / Contributed photo

Gary was born to Philip A. Smith and Ottley B. Smith in San Jose, Calif.

He was raised in Palo Alto, Calif. and attended Cubberley High School and Skagit Valley College. Gary relocated to San Juan Island when his mother, Ottley, and step-father Howard Schonberger, moved to the west side in 1979.

Gary was an avid music lover and devotee of the island. He quickly found a place on the island as a handyman, with the knack to fix practically anything, a highly valuable skill set on the island. Almost everyone has a story of how Gary helped them when they needed it most.

He could be found on the side of almost any road helping someone in need. He loved animals and children as much as he did his fellow man.

As it turns out, the island was the perfect place for Gary. It allowed him to live a bit outside of the establishment and to appreciate nature at its best. An eclectic mix was best for the liberal at heart.

He touched many lives and was touched in return by the kindness and graciousness of the community.

Gary expressed the following message:

“To the wonderful, gracious, caring, friendly people of San Juan Island. I wish to bid you farewell. I have lived here for 30 years and I cannot think of a better decision I made.”

Gary is survived by his sister Kathy of San Bruno, Calif., and his brother Mark of Redwood City, Calif.

There will be a memorial service in front of the San Juan County Courthouse at noon on Friday, Oct. 5. Donations can be made to the Family Resource Center, P.O. Box 1981, Friday Harbor, 98250, for the Gary Smith Memorial Fund for the Homeless.

— Family of Gary Smith


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