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Gary VanOrsdol

December 27, 1935 ~ January 7, 2021 (age 85)


Gary Alan VanOrsdol, age 85, of St. Johns MI, passed away on Jan. 07, 2021 after living life to its fullest while battling Parkinson’s Disease for many years. Gary called his wife and two sons to his side on Dec. 16th, after two recent trips to Sparrow hospital, letting them know he was at peace with God his savior and his time here on earth. His determination and love for his family remained strong to his last day.

Surviving Gary are Diana (Green), his wife of 63 years, sons Harley (Cyndy) VanOrsdol, Rodney (Julie) VanOrsdol along with six grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and five great- great- grandchildren. There are three brother in laws – Lyle Brewer, Bruce (Ruth) Field, Jerry (Sandy) Green, and two sister in laws – Linda (Tim) Crowell, Ramona (Scott) Smith, and their families. Gary also has many cousins from the Vaniman family.

Gary was born in Owosso on Dec. 27, 1935 to Amos Harley VanOrsdol and Laura Elnore (Vaniman) VanOrsdol of Ovid who proceeded him in death. He had one sister, Jill (Lyle) Brewer who also proceeded him in death. He graduated from Ovid High School and attended General Motors Institute. Gary and Diana started their family in Ovid, MI. They moved to St. Johns in 1965 and lived in the basement for several years while Gary finished building the home he designed. Gary worked for Oldsmobile from 1953 until his retirement in 1991. He began his career in Tool Design, with promotions to Manufacturing Engineer, Supervisor of Tool Design, Manager of Manufacturing Engineering and Master Mechanic. Gary was very analytical and meticulous. He was a man of strong commitment and dedication, constantly offering his help to family and friends.

In 1970 Gary and Diana purchased the first of two vacation homes on Higgins Lake which have been a source of many fond memories for his entire family. The boys frequently took friends with them to the lake where they would begin a Saturday morning by waking up their Dad at 7:00 am so he would drive the ski boat until all the boys had taken at least two turns water skiing. Occasionally he might take a turn on the skies himself before everyone headed to the house where Diana had a big breakfast ready for them. Chores followed breakfast and came before the next round of fun and games. Gary enjoyed Jarts, badminton or tether ball with the boys or taking several of them out on his Super Porpoise sailboat. The family continues to enjoy “the lake” and build memories to this day. This is one on many countless examples of Gary and Diana’s commitment to raising their boys to appreciate hard work, it’s rewards, family and friends.

Diana and Gary made many trips to their winter home on Anna Maria Island in FL for several years after his retirement. This allowed them time to be close to Rod and his family as their granddaughters, Mikayla and Rylie, grew up. The multiple driving trips to Florida each year gave them a chance to explore alternate routes and destinations. Gary and Diana also enjoyed fall color tours and visiting lighthouses each year for their anniversary. All family members will tell you that holidays and family get togethers (in St Johns or at “the lake”) with Grandma and Grandpa have always been something special.

The family will receive family and friends at McGeehan Funeral Homes (Keck-Coleman Chapel), 1500 Waterford Pkwy, St. Johns on Friday, Jan. 15 from 2:00 – 8:00pm. The family requests everyone follow social distancing guidelines and wear masks during visitation and services. 

The family will receive family and friends at McGeehan Funeral Homes (Keck-Coleman Chapel), 1500 Waterford Pkwy, St. Johns on Friday, Jan. 15 from 2:00 – 8:00pm.  The family will gather for a private Funeral Service on Saturday, Jan. 16 at 1:00 pm with a graveside service to follow at South Ovid Cemetery. 

A video recording of the ceremony:

Video of pictures:


Memorial Contributions may be made in Gary's name to the Clinton-Gratiot Habitat for Humanity, 2352 North Old U.S. 27, St. Johns 48879 or to the Greater Lansing Food Bank.

For further information, phone 989-224-4422.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gary VanOrsdol, please visit our floral store.


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