Gary Grant Hames, 64, of Mackay passed away Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012, at his home following a battle with cancer. His final days were spent surrounded by family.
Gary was born Dec. 13, 1947, in Phoenix, Ariz., to Vernon and Luella (Porritt) Hames. Gary, the seventh of 10 kids, was a rambunctious boy who maintained his spitfire attitude throughout his adult life. Gary’s childhood and the family’s travels provided many great memories that he loved to reminisce about and share. His greatest friends throughout his life were always his siblings and their spouses.
In 1969, Gary settled in Blackfoot and married Karelene Coram. Their first daughter, Alicia Brandy was born on Gary’s birthday in 1973. A second daughter, Angela Rae, was born June 10, 1975. Gary and Karelene were later divorced.
In the fall of 1975, Gary moved to Mackay and worked as an auto mechanic and later as the City of Mackay maintenance supervisor.
In 1976 he married Karen McKelvey. Gary’s third daughter, Amber Eileen, was born Oct. 21, 1979. In 1980, the family moved to Alaska and Gary started working for Brown Construction as a heavy equipment operator. It wasn’t long before he was considered one of the best equipment operators in the business. The family spent five years traveling around Alaska before moving back to Mackay. Gary and Karen were later divorced.
Gary spent the last 22 years with the love of his life, Linda; his family was completed with the addition of Linda’s four children, Lori, Michelle, Valkyrie and Erik. Gary and Linda lived in Tonopah, Nev.; Challis, and Blackfoot before settling for good in Mackay.
However, Gary’s “gypsy” blood never allowed him to stay put in one place for long. Although his home was in Mackay, he continued to travel, working in the mining industry, first as a heavy equipment operator and later as a superintendent.
As a boss, Gary was a mentor to many he worked with. His work was his hobby and yielded many lifelong friends; many of whom will always remember him saying “You might want to pick it up a notch or two.”
In 2010, Gary retired and was finally ready to settle down and enjoy being at home in Mackay. However, not one to sit idle, it wasn’t long before he had a new business idea and decided to start Top of Idaho ATV Rentals with his daughter Amber. The next summer Gary opened G&L Lube and began renting four- wheelers and using his mechanical expertise. The shop was a great place for Gary to reconnect with his “old” Mackay friends, putter around with his “hound dogs” and to restore a 1966 El Camino with his grandson Colby.
Although Gary worked and lived in many different places he was happiest in Mackay riding a four-wheeler on the mine hill, fishing from his boat on the reservoir and sharing his love of the outdoors with all his grandchildren. His last two years of his life were spent doing exactly what he loved most; camping, fishing, hunting and riding four-wheelers with his family.
Survivors include his wife, Linda; children Alicia Brandy (Greg) Hammack, Angela Rae (Ryan) Reynolds, Amber Eileen Hames; stepchildren Lori (Kevin) Ross, Michelle Applegate, Valkyrie Loman, Erik (JoAnna) Peterson; 16 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren; 2 brothers, George (Jan) Hames and Jasper (Jan) Hames; 5 sisters, Melba (Delbert) Hellickson, Jerrine (Ron Woods) Clure, Bona (Jim) Merrill, Margo (Mike) Clure and Darlene Kidd; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, mother, his brother Milan, his sister Verla and a granddaughter, Addison Kathelene Reynolds.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, at 1 p.m. at the Mackay High School Auditorium. Arrangements under the direction of Lost River Funeral Chapel in Arco.