Gary Eugene Stevens, age 73, of Marion, formerly of Marysville, died peacefully Thursday, February 12, 2015 at Riversi de Methodist Hospital in Columbus with his loving family by his side. He retired in 1998 as supervisor in the draft beer and bottling departments of Anheuser–Busch Brewing Company in Columbus. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1959-1963. During his first two years, he was stationed aboard the heavy cruiser and Flagship of the 6th Fleet, the USS Newport News out of Norfolk, Virginia. During the Cuban missile crisis, he was among the Marines deployed to turn back Soviet ships attempting to enter Havana harbor. While stationed in Virginia, he attended Sea School in Portsmouth and Recon School in Little Creek. For the last two years of his service he was stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina as an advanced infantry Marine. While there, he took one year of classes at East Carolina University in Greenville. At the end of his term of service, he declined the offer to extend his enlistment with the rank of lieutenant, and was honorably discharged as a Lance Corporal in 1963. He remained intensely proud of being a Marine throughout the rest of his life often saying, “There is no such thing as an ex-Marine.” He was a member of the Marine Corps League, the Marine Corps Association and the American Legion. Bricks commemorating his Marine Corps service were placed by his daughter and son-in-law in Semper Fidelis Memorial Park at the National Marine Corps Museum in Triangle, Virginia, in 2006, and by his wife and son at Marysville and Richwood.
After his discharge from the service, he was employed by Eaton Axle in Marion for a year before joining the Ohio State Highway Patrol in 1965 and being stationed at the Defiance post. Serving during the politically turbulent period from 1965-1970, he was often assigned to crowd control at disturbances at many prisons and universities throughout the state. He was a former dispatcher for the Defiance County Sheriff’s Department and Defiance City Police Department, where he handled radio traffic during the night shift. Because his work hours afforded him time for extra study, he was able to complete 18 months’ worth of full time studies in one year. He maintained a 3.28 GPA and graduated from Defiance College in 1971 with a liberal arts degree, double majoring in pre-law and political science. One of his favorite courses was comparative religion. After graduation, he worked for Maremont Corporation in Paulding and Rockwell International in Kenton as a production supervisor. He grew up in Richwood and graduated from Richwood High School in 1959. He made many friends all over the country during his 73 years and one of his last wishes, quoting one of his favorite television shows, was that they should all “Live long and prosper.” His favorite motto was “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome,” which exemplified his long battle with hairy cell leukemia, first diagnosed when he was 35. His favorite current television show was “Family Guy,” which is ironically fitting given the lifelong generosity and loyalty he showed to every member of his immediate and extended family.
He was born Aug. 31, 1941, in Columbus, to the late James F. and Elberta June Elizabeth Greenwood Stevens. He was also preceded in death by a brother, Ronald Stevens; a sister Janet Stevens; his daughter-in-law, Tonya Shoemaker Stevens; and a nephew, Troy Coons.
He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Joan M. Bishop Stevens, of Marion, whom he married Oct. 20, 1963, and she described him as her hero; his daughter Vicki Stevens and son-in-law Richard De Angelis of College Park, Maryland; his son Guy Stevens and fiancée Danielle Mitchell Bunke of Jackson Center; granddaughters, Kirsten Stevens of Chicago, Illinois and Kara Stevens (Michael Keetch) of Columbus; his sister, Cheryl (Rodney) Stevens Nicol of Plain City; many loving nieces and nephews; many in-laws; and other close relatives and friends, including Danielle’s son, Freddy.
The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. Sunday at Underwood Funeral Home, 703 East Fifth Street, Marysville, where funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday. The Rev. Jim Christy and Rev. Donald Moceri will officiate. Entombment with prayers of committal and military honors will follow at 1:30 p.m. at Sunset Cemetery in Galloway. Memorial contributions may be made to Semper Fi Fund, 825 College Blvd. Suite 102, PMB 609, Oceanside, CA 92057 or at semperfifund.org. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home. Condolences may be expressed at www.underwoodfuneralhome.com. Pallbearers will be Jimmie Cunningham, Rodney Gayheart, David Snook, Richard De Angelis, Mike Keetch and Edward Engel.