SHARPSVILLE, Pennsylvania (MyValleyTributes) – On Wednesday, May 19, 2021, Gary Robert Ealy passed away at the home he proudly built in Sharpsville, Pennsylvania. A lot of obits make note of a courageous battle and the fight that Gary put up against heart and lung disease was courageous but also marked by his distinct focus and tenacity. He would not give up.
Gary was born in Sharon, May 4, 1944, attended grade school in Fredonia and graduated from Reynolds High School with the class of 1962. At Reynolds, he was a starting tackle on the Raiders’ inaugural football teams in ’60-’61 and ’61-’62 under Coach Ralph Bouch. After graduation, Gary gained real-world work experience, continued his education as a nontraditional college student and graduated from Grove City College in 1972 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
He was known for a variety of pursuits and work—dispatcher at McLean Trucking in West Middlesex, Master Gardener and lecturer, woodworker and maker of furniture and cabinetry, self-taught and award-winning nature photographer, writer of acerbic letters to the editor, certified arborist and pruning specialist at Cottage Gardens in Hermitage.
The common thread to these diverse pursuits, though, was the artistry and precision that Gary brought to his work. He refused to cut corners, never hurried and would not quit until the job was done to his own high standard.
Gary’s father, Robert G. “Bob” Ealy, was a frequent collaborator in carpentry and construction arts, and in 1974 Gary and Bob, along with family and friends, completed work on a home in Sharpsville.
Gary is survived at that home by his wife of over 50 years, Betty S. (née Zreliak) Ealy; son, David Andrew Ealy of Phoenix, Arizona; son and daughter-in-law, Damon Robert and Amber Elizabeth Ealy, of Sharpsville; sister, Dr. C. Diane Ealy of Tucson, Arizona and a number of cousins. Gary was also a grandfather—known as Botka, a title invented by then-baby granddaughter, Clarissa and picked up and used enthusiastically by grandson, Andrew. Also surviving are sisters-in-law, Mary Suhar, Suzanna (Ross) Vernon and Mary Ellen Zreliak; brothers-in law, Andrew (Lillian) Zreliak and Jerry (Marie) Zreliak and many nieces and nephews.
Gary was preceded in death by his mother, Margaret “Peg” (née Steele) Ealy; his dad, Robert; sister-in-law, Kathleen Lucik Venetta and brothers-in-law, Eugene Zreliak, Sr., James P. Lucik I, Andrew Suhar, Sr. and Henry L. Venetta.
Gary appreciated the natural world and recording it in photography. His travels far—to the American West, the Grand Canyon, Northern California and Yosemite, Antelope Canyon—and near, to Ricketts Glen, McConnells Mill, Leesburg Falls—yielded award-winning art. And Gary enjoyed the company of friends; he was a super regular and part of the counter gang at Tiffany’s in Sharpsville.
The family wants to thank RN Scott from Amedisys Hospice Care in Butler for his compassionate and loyal service and all of the friends Gary had throughout his 77 years.
The family suggests memorial contributions be directed to a charity of the donor’s choice.
Calling hours will be 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 25, 2021 in J. Bradley McGonigle Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., 1090 East State Street, Sharon.
Funeral service will be 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, May 26, 2021 in the funeral home, with Rev. Thomas Whitman, pastor of St. Joseph Church, officiating.
Interment will be in Riverside Cemetery, Sharpsville.
A television tribute will air Sunday, May 23, at the following approximate times: 8:58 a.m. on FOX and 9:58 p.m. on MyYTV.