October 15, 1938 - January 6, 2022
Gary Michael Gilbert, age 83, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, colleague, counselor, mentor and friend passed away on Thursday, January 6, 2022. Surrounded by family, he died peacefully after a difficult year of health challenges. Born on October 15, 1938 in York, Pennsylvania, Gary was the son of William G. Gilbert and Effie Minisci Forman Gilbert, arriving eight years before his younger brother Bill (William G. Gilbert, Jr.), who lovingly claims that he “could not have wished for or created a better older brother.” Gary attended William Penn Senior High School, class of 1956. At the age of 17, he headed to Indiana to attend Valparaiso University, earning a bachelor’s degree and law degree in six years, graduating in 1962. Gary loved his education at Valparaiso and his Theta Chi Fraternity brothers, who have stayed close with regular reunions for the past 60 years. Always good at balancing work and play, Gary spent his childhood participating in after school activities at the YMCA of York, later becoming a mentor and camp counselor. Playing pick-up basketball was also an important part of Gary’s youth, forging friendships that lasted 70 years. At age eleven, Gary started delivering newspapers, turning it into a successful small business by expanding his delivery routes and hiring other young kids to deliver for him. When Gary left for college, he sold half of the business to one of his delivery boys and gave the other half to his younger brother Bill. As a means to pay for college and law school, Gary worked as a janitor on his college campus and as a customer service associate in a local men’s fine clothing store, inspiring his desire to always be well dressed. While studying for the Pennsylvania Bar exam, Gary received a draft notice which subsequently encouraged him to join the Pennsylvania National Guard and later to attend the Pennsylvania Officer Candidate School, becoming an Officer. After passing the Pennsylvania Bar exam, Gary accepted a position as a lawyer practicing domestic relations and criminal law in York with a well-known trial lawyer, Victor Dell' Alba, whom Gary greatly admired and considered one of his biggest mentors. Practicing domestic and criminal law required many late nights. Wanting to transition into more daytime work at a traditional law firm, Gary was introduced to Sam Laucks, who would also become a great mentor to Gary. Gary joined Laucks & Monroe Law Firm around the same time as two other young lawyers, Peter R. Andrews and the late Jon C. Countess. In 1988, the three senior partners re-branded the firm and co-founded Countess Gilbert Andrews Law Firm, later CGA Law Firm. Gary always considered his success as a lawyer, and within the York County community, a group effort with his partners Jon and Pete and the many talented colleagues at CGA Law Firm. Gary was incredibly proud of CGA and its combination of skilled, dynamic and committed people. He especially enjoyed mentoring and spending time with the young lawyers, helping to cultivate their careers and enjoying their successes. On January 2, 1965, Gary married Karyl Lee Stewart. Often referring to each other as “Stewie” and “Gil,” their loving partnership lasted 57 years. Gary met Karyl Lee briefly on Thanksgiving weekend 1963 when she was out with her brother, Bob (Robert H. Stewart, Jr.). Months later, Gary ran into Bob, an acquaintance, and asked him about his “date.” Discovering that Karyl Lee was instead Bob’s sister, Gary asked Bob his permission to call Karyl Lee for a date. Karyl Lee was beautiful, polished, kind, fun and quickly fell head-over-heels for the dashing young lawyer. Gary was equally smitten with Karyl Lee and proposed to her five months after their first date. They have been blessed over the years with a happy, healthy, respectful marriage, four loving children and their spouses and seventeen adoring grandchildren. “Poppi” and “Mimi” were pillars of their large family, generously providing family celebrations, golf lessons, cousin sleepovers, advice and guidance, loads of fun and unconditional love. Gary was forever a sportsman, student, teacher and huge fan of the game of golf. It is not possible to count the number of golf rounds that he played or the number of new golf clubs that he purchased, especially putters. Thankfully, Gary took the time to teach and share his love of golf with his wife, children and grandchildren. Karyl Lee and Gary went on many fun golf trips together with friends and in later years they had a standing nine-hole golf date together every Sunday morning. Gary also treasured playing the game with both new and lifelong friends at the Country Club of York, Orchid Island Golf Club and Quail Valley Golf Club. For 50 years, Gary and friends had a standing Saturday morning tee time at the Country Club of York where “Gilly” was a very popular golf buddy to many. Gary’s other favorite pastime was reading; he devoured literally thousands of paperback thrillers in his lifetime. He was known for reading late at night in bed while snacking on his much loved Jujyfruits. His candy stockpile was always a favorite destination of the grandchildren, and they especially enjoyed when he passed out his signature “Poppi Mints.” Gary was also known for driving the “Poppi Bus,” safely delivering his young grandchildren to their pre-school each morning while enjoying the conversations in the car. As Gary grew his law practice, he had an especially close relationship with his father-in-law (Robert H. Stewart, Sr.), the Founder of what would later become The Stewart Companies. Gary was a trusted advisor to Mr. Stewart and his children, serving on the Board of The Stewart Companies for over 30 years. Gary served on many boards, holding a leadership position or providing legal counsel to help and serve others, including: the Pennsylvania Bar Association (House of Delegates); the York County Bar Association (former President); The Stewart Companies (Board of Directors); Esophageal Cancer Action Network (Executive Board); National Kidney Foundation York Chapter (Legal Counsel); Byrnes Health Education Center (Board of Directors); and the Valparaiso University National Business Council (Board of Directors). While Gary appreciated all of these opportunities over the years, more recently, he prioritized his relationship with the Esophageal Cancer Action Network (ECAN). Having been diagnosed in 2010 with Esophageal Cancer, enduring a grueling two year treatment, and ultimately surviving Esophageal Cancer for the past eleven years, Gary was committed to and touched by the wonderful people at ECAN and the very important work that they do to help and educate others. In turn, as a survivor, Gary’s successful fight against cancer inspired others. Those eleven extra years were an extraordinary gift to Gary and he made the most of them. He is survived by his loving wife, Karyl Lee Stewart Gilbert, who will forever have a crush on him; four children – K. Kristine (Gilbert) Wasilewski and husband John J. Wasilewski of York, PA; V. Carolyn (Gilbert) Barker and husband James H. Barker III of Alexandria, VA; Gary M. Gilbert II and wife Karen E. (Brown) Gilbert of York, PA; and Robert W. Gilbert of York, PA; and seventeen grandchildren - Karlee, Klaudia, John II, Kamille and James Wasilewski; Vivian, Eliza, James IV, Bridget, Samuel and Meredith Barker; G. Michael III, Sophia and Maxwell Gilbert; and Robert II, Andrew and Elle Gilbert. He is also survived by his younger brother William G. Gilbert, Jr. and his wife Suzanne E. (Zeigler) Gilbert of York, PA; niece Whitney L. (Gilbert) Markle of York, PA and nephew Ross W. Gilbert of Media, PA and their families; and the beloved Stewart family of York, PA whom loved Gary as family, as he did them. A private family burial will be held at Prospect Hill Cemetery, York, PA. A Celebration of Life will be planned for a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to one of the organizations that Gary supported and believed in or to an organization that is special to you: Esophageal Cancer Action Network (ECAN), PO Box 243, Stevenson, MD 21153; or YMCA of York, 90 N. Newberry Street, York, PA 17401; or Byrnes Health Education Center, 515 S. George Street, York, PA 17401. Arrangements by the Etzweiler Funeral Homes and Cremation Service, 1111 E. Market St. York, PA 17403.
Gary Michael Gilbert, age 83, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, colleague, counselor, mentor and friend passed away on Thursday, January 6, 2022. Surrounded by family, he died peacefully after a difficult year of health... View Obituary & Service Information
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