Gary VanZee, age 63, of Glenwood, died Wednesday, February 5, 2020, at the St. Cloud Hospital. Visitation with Gary’s family will take place at the Hoplin-Hitchcock Funeral Home in Glenwood from 1:00 – 3:00 P.M. on Saturday, February 15th, with military honors to be performed at 3:00 P.M. Arrangements are with the Hoplin-Hitchcock Funeral Home of Glenwood.
Gary Dean VanZee was born on September 22, 1956, in Morris, MN. He was the seventh of eight children born to Edward and Wilma (Drost) VanZee. At the time of his birth the family was living on a farm near Cyrus. While he was still a young boy they moved to a farm 13 miles south of Glenwood. Gary attended school in Glenwood before entering the United States Navy on May 28th, 1974. He served as a Petty Officer and Aviation Structural Mechanic 3rd class with Company #155. He received the Ney Memorial Award for his work on Chuck Wagon II and was honorably discharged on May 27, 1980 with a National Defense Service Medal.
On May 7, 1977, Gary was united in marriage to Marie Norby at Chippewa Falls Lutheran Church in Terrace, MN. Gary and Marie grew up on neighboring farms and were childhood friends. The first year of their marriage they lived in Whidby Island, WA. After Gary completed his service in the Navy they moved to Saint Paul, MN, where Gary worked as a trucker. Eventually, they settled back home near family in Glenwood, where they made their home and raised their three children. Gary attended Alexandria Technical College, where he studied Air Conditioning and Refrigeration. Afterwards, he worked for a time installing boilers for Lonnie Armstrong, and then at Juettner Motors, Steinbring Ford, and Chan Auto Sales of Lowry as a mechanic. He eventually started his own business known as Zee’s Auto Repair out of his home.
Gary was a member of the Lowry American Legion. He loved wrenching on cars, fishing, hunting, camping, snowmobiling, and most of all spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren. Even though he wasn’t an educator in the usual sense of the word, he was a teacher to many. He will be remembered for his patience, kind heart, gentle nature, knowledge of cars, and his cooking skills.
Gary died early on the morning of Wednesday, February 5, 2020, at the Saint Cloud Hospital with his family by his side. He will be greatly missed.
Gary is survived by his wife of 42 years, Marie, of Glenwood; their children, Jason (Amy) VanZee of Glenwood, Angie (George) Guggisberg of Glenwood, and Amber (Ryan Kvam) VanZee of Lowry; five grandchildren, Dylan (12), Jackson (10), and Paisley (6) VanZee, Gabby (6) and Kane (1) Guggisberg; and his siblings, JoAnn Kannegiesser of Cyrus, Donald (Carmen) VanZee of Pennock, Sheryl VerSteeg of Hancock, Kathy Armstrong of Fergus Falls, and Brad (Diane) VanZee of Glenwood; along with many nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Wilma; and two brothers, Arlie and Rick VanZee.
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