Gary Christy

Died: Mon., Apr. 8, 2019


Graveside Service

2:00 PM Sat., Apr. 13, 2019
Location: Burns Cemetery


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Gary Ray Christy 61, went quietly into His Savior’s arms on April 8th, 2019 at 4:45 PM in Burns, OR. Gary was born on October 4th, 1957 at Swedish Hospital in Seattle, WA to John R. Christy and Myrtle M. Christy. Gary was born with Down Syndrome. In 1957 doctors believed children born with Down Syndrome wouldn’t live much past 15 years old. The attending doctors tried to talk Gary’s Mom (Myrtle) into not even seeing Gary and just leaving him there. They actually told her, ‘Go home and forget about him’. Myrtle demanded that they bring her son to her, and that was the start of a lifetime the two would share and love each other. Myrtle said she wanted to be Gary’s Mom for his entire lifetime – Jesus, in His love and graciousness, allowed Myrtle to fulfill that commitment to her son. Even in Gary’s final days, when Myrtle was with him, holding him, talking to him – you could see Gary was relaxed and glad to be with his Mom.

As a child Gary spent his younger years in Harney County, South of Burns, on the bank of the Silvies River. He lived across the field from his Grandmother, Hazel M. Culp and Grandfather, Charles W. Culp, along with his three brothers, Mark E. Christy, Alan M. Christy and Marvin L. Christy. Gary liked being outdoors. He would take his sandwich outside to eat in the ‘little house’. Gary’s Dad, John, built the ‘little house’ in their backyard. It had a roof, wood floor and a wood cook stove. Myrtle would often cook meals out in the ‘little house’ because it was cooler that the ‘big house’.

Gary would listen to the birds sing and watch the chickens and peacocks. He had to look out for the old turkey gobbler though. One day, Myrtle heard a terrible racket, Gary had crawled up as high as he could climb on the wood pile. The turkey gobble was standing guard down below, not letting Gary out of the woodshed. It wasn’t long after that, we had a nice turkey dinner.

Gary, always wanting to be with his brothers and doing the same things they did, taught himself to ride a bicycle. He would go out into the driveway and try and try and try, then leave the bicycle alone, only to return and try some more. Myrtle wouldn’t help him because she dreaded the day he would learn and ride. She was afraid Gary would either follow his brothers or go by himself out onto Hanley Lane (Hwy. 205). Gary never gave up and his persistence paid off, because one day Gary was riding his bicycle; but he never went out onto the road. He would just ride his bicycle back and forth from the road back to the house, time after time, after time.

Gary would help his Mom rake leaves and drive the milk cow in for milking, chase chickens and walk through the fields. Myrtle and Gary helped get the very first class started in the Burns school district for Handicapped children in 1968. Gary loved going to school and was always so happy. Many times, Gary’s siblings would see him at school during recess and get to spend time with him.

There were a few times when people would tease Gary, because he was different. One time in particular was when Myrtle had taken all the boys to the swimming pool, located out by the Edward Hines Lumber mill. They were swimming and having a grand old time. Some other kids started teasing Gary. All of Gary’s siblings stepped in to defend their brother. Before it was done, they were all in the middle of the pool fighting. The next thing everyone knew, Myrtle had jumped into the pool, clothes, shoes, purse and all. Wading across the pool to defend her son. That was the end of swimming that day, in fact we never went back to that pool again.

In 1972 Gary was moved to an institution named Fairview in Salem, OR. In 1976 Gary was moved to a group home in Ontario, OR. He attended a work shop and activity center every day. Gary liked going to work. During this time Gary started participating in Special Olympics as a swimmer. Gary earned drawers full of gold, silver and bronze medals. While living there Gary learned how to bowl, use roller skates, and attended dances. Gary could swim like a fish and loved listening to music.

John and Myrtle would go get Gary and bring him home to Burns every few weeks. After Gary’s Father passed away on July 10th, 1993, Myrtle continued going to get Gary in Ontario, bringing him home for his usual visits. Myrtle also made sure Gary spent every holiday at home. During the following years Myrtle would take Gary to visit his brothers, who were now scattered across Oregon. Gary especially loved going up to Fox to visit his brother Alan and his wife, Brenda. Gary would ride the gator with his nephew, Kyle. Out through the fields, cows and creeks they would go, laughing all the way, as fast as they could go.

On April 1st, 2016 Gary’s family moved him back home to Burns and he moved in to Ashley Manor. Now Myrtle could go see Gary anytime she desired. She would often take him home to spend the day with her or the two of them would go out for breakfast. Gary loved riding 4-wheelers. His brother Mark would take him out and Gary wanted to go as fast as it could go. If the field wasn’t quite rough enough, Gary would rock back and forth – loving every minute. Gary still loved being outside, but now just relaxing swinging in his swing either at his Mom’s or at Ashley Manor while listening to music. Gary enjoyed visiting Robin at Robin’s Closet where he would sit on his bench, drinking coffee and welcoming anyone who came through the door. Gary always enjoyed seeing his brothers and other family members who came to visit him. Sometimes his brother Marvin would stop by and pick him up in his semi- truck to take him to breakfast with Myrtle. Gary loved his family. Gary’s favorite movie for decades was the ‘Wizard of Oz’.  He would listen to it every time he visited his Moms and it played in his room almost every day at Ashley Manor.

Gary will always hold a special place in all of our hearts. He was loved and gave love completely and unconditionally to everyone he met. Gary was the perfect example of how people are called to love one another. He will be missed until we see him again, when we all meet up in heaven.

There will be a graveside service Saturday, April 13th, 2019 at 2:00 PM at the Burns Cemetery.

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Joyce Moser
   Posted Tue April 09, 2019
What a guy! I wish I had known Gary sooner and longer. Oh how he loved music! SO much good music where you are now Gary---and I know you are singing at the top of your lungs. Love.

Glenda Smith
   Posted Wed April 10, 2019
I have wonderful memories of Gary as a boy. Every time he saw me, he'd give me a hug. He is a perfect example of unconditional love. He didn't have an easy life, but with the support of his loving family and friends, he was so happy. I'm thankful I knew him and his family.

Cathy Slyter
   Posted Sat April 13, 2019
We moved to the Bell A when I was in 7th grade. The Christy family were wonderful neighbors. Gary was well-loved on this Earth by his family and I'm sure he's celebrating in Heaven, and waiting for the day when you're all reunited in Heavenly Father's kingdom.
God bless you all, and please know you're in my thoughts and prayers.

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