Gary Lee Winters, 79, of Paola, KS passed away March 13, 2022. A Celebration of Life will be held 1:30 pm, Thursday, March 24, 2022 at First Presbyterian Church, 138 E. Shawnee, Gardner, KS. Inurnment follows at St. Columbia Catholic Cemetery, Gardner, KS. Memorial contributions may be made to the Shriners Hospital For Children in Memphis, TN. Arrangements: Bruce Funeral Home, Gardner, KS (913) 856-7111.Condolences may be left at www.brucefuneralhome.com
Gary was born Nov. 8, 1942 in Gardner, KS to Carl and Merle Winters. He graduated from Gardner High School and The University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri. Gary had an adventurous life with a career in the military—both Navy and Army. In 10 years in the Navy, Gary lived 3 years in Japan and traveled to more than 20 countries. Next, Gary enlisted in the Army Special Forces. After serving his country in this capacity, he spent time as a Station Commander for a 6-man Recruiting Station. Gary then transferred to the 3rd Infantry Division in Germany for 5 years and retired in 1985 after 25 years of service. Finally, Gary spent 35 years driving a semi-trailer from coast to coast, crossing 48 out of 50 states. He married Veronica Virginia Gay Diel on April 22, 1988 in Olathe, Kansas.
Gary enjoyed family, people, traveling, fishing, camping, boating and an array of many other sports and activities. He belonged to First Presbyterian Church in Gardner and the Gardner VFW where he enjoyed the camaraderie of fellow service members. He will be missed by family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Merle Winters; son, Paul Diel; granddaughter, Makayla Diel and his brother, Carl Dean Winters. Gary is survived by his wife, Veronica, of the home; 5 children: John Todd Winters Hiatt, Lawrence, KS, Veronica and husband James Dillard, Galena, MO, Dwaine Bates, Paola, KS, Chris Bell, Paola, KS and Sarah and husband Gary Bailey, Louisburg, KS; brother, Freddy and wife Patty Winters, Gardner, KS; sister-in-law, Vicki Winters, Gardner, KS; 13 grandchildren: James and wife Chelsea Dillard, Susana Dillard, Conor Winters, Keagan Winters, Kailey Bates, Ellie Bates, Dylan Bates, Madison Bell, Marlee Bell, Lacy and husband Danny Shields, Tyler Ahrens, Madalynn Ahrens and Isaiah Diel-Nickerson; great-grandchildren: Kash Shields, Kane Shields (due any time), Janaya Herriford, Markeese Herriford, Rayden Ahrens with a brother on the way.