The world lost a treasure and wonderful man, Gary Francis Whetzal, 70, Monday, March 4, 2019.
He was born Jan. 11, 1949, in Fish Creek, Moundsville, West Virginia, to James Alfred Whetzal and Betty Yost Whetzal. He lost his mother and brother as an infant and was raised by his grandparents, Safrona and Frank Yost; along with his father and stepmother, Jean Garrison Whetzal. He was always close to his extended family, his aunts and uncles, Edna and John, Raymond and Grace, Violet and Lawrence, and Shirley and Conrad, all of whom he loved and admired.
Gary enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1967. He spent time in Guam, Pensacola, Memphis and Puerto Rico, but most of his 28-year military career was spent in the Tidewater area. Through his service and experiences, he formed many great and lasting friendships over the years, friends who he treasured like family. Gary was proud of his naval service, having risen to the rank of master chief, and he considered it an honor to have served his country.
After his Navy retirement, he worked in civil service before retiring in 2008 and starting his own business. His passions included hunting, fishing, golf, the Pittsburgh Steelers, any team from Pittsburgh or West Virginia and Admirals hockey.
In 1976, Gary married his loving wife, Rita Fraser Whetzal, and they spent 43 marvelous years together living in Virginia Beach and Puerto Rico. Gary had three children and six grandchildren who he loved dearly and bragged about at every opportunity, Gretchen, and her husband, Scott Gontrum, and children, Natalja and Ava; Brian, and his daughters, Ashley, Taylor and Ryan; Tanya, and her husband, Benjamin Hogge, and their son, Brandon. Gary is also survived by his siblings, Terri, and her husband, Mike McCardle, Lewis Whetzal, and his wife, Mel, Susie Henderson and Steve Whetzal, and his wife, Karen. Gary will also be fondly remembered by his sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, cousins, nieces, nephews and his many dear and close friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; stepmother; and siblings, Jimmy and Richard.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, March 9, at H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts., 2002 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach. A reception will follow at 3:30 p.m. at On the Green, 2500 Tournament Drive, Virginia Beach, to celebrate the extraordinary life of this remarkable man, Gary Francis Whetzal.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the American Cancer Society.
Share online condolences with the family at H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts.