Gary Wilson Ives of College Station, Texas passed away unexpectedly on January 1, 2023.
Gary was born on April 27, 1951 to Floyd and Joyce Ives in rural Canton, Pennsylvania. The Ives’s home was next to an apple orchard, and faced a neighboring farm where Gary worked in the summers. He loved growing up in Canton and spent many hours exploring the woods on the mountainside behind his house. As much as he loved being outdoors, he also loved reading, and fondly remembered staying up past his bedtime to read the popular western-themed novels of the day, imagining the plots unfolding in the fields and hills outside his bedroom window.
After graduating from Canton High School, Gary served in the U. S. Navy where he did a stint as the ship’s librarian and made it his mission to acquire current college catalogs for those servicemen who were planning to attend college. Gary went on to attend Bethany College in West Virginia, where he met his beloved wife and best friend, Maura. He graduated with a BA in Sociology in 1980 and completed his Master’s in Library Science at the University of Pittsburgh in 1982. Gary then worked at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library at the University of Virginia while Maura completed her PhD. When the family relocated to Texas, Gary worked in library administration at the University of Texas at El Paso, the University of Texas Medical Branch, and finally at Texas A&M University Libraries, where he was Associate Director for Information Resources at the Medical Sciences Library and Assistant Director of Acquisitions and Coordinator of Electronic Resources for Texas A&M University Libraries. He retired from Texas A&M as Associate Professor Emeritus in 2009 and devoted his retirement years to spending time with his son John, acting as his caddie in golf and in life. Gary also continued a life of public service to his neighborhood and the wider community. He was HOA president of the Springbrook/Oakgrove neighborhood, served on the College Station Historic Preservation Committee, the Bryan/College Station Library Board, was a member of the College Station 75th Anniversary Committee, and also worked for the Census.
For many people in our community, Gary was known for his Santa-like beard, the holiday lights that made his home a local landmark and his child-like love for the Christmas season. For the last 12 years, he worked as a hayride driver at Santa’s Wonderland, taking great joy in the opportunity to share the Christmas spirit with others while seeking inspiration for his own lights and décor. He was proud to have his home listed among the “Best Lights of the Brazos” and to be featured in local news outlets. Before the pandemic, he and his family spent every Christmas Eve greeting the families who drove by their house and accepting donations for the Brazos Valley Food Bank.
Gary loved music from classic rock to bluegrass to western swing to bagpipes, and delighted in hearing his favorite bands whenever they were in driving distance. “Driving distance” for Gary included traveling to London to attend a Who concert at the Albert Hall, and flying to Los Angeles to attend a concert celebrating Joni Mitchell’s 75th birthday. He never saw a kitten or cat that he didn’t fall in love with, and spent many happy hours in his favorite spot on the sofa with a cat (or two!) curled up in his lap.
Gary was a gentle and joyful soul whose kindness and good humor touched everyone who knew him. A member of Friends Congregational Church, Gary exemplified the call to love God and love one’s neighbors as oneself.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother-in-law, Donald E. Baldwin.
Gary is survived by his wife of 41 years, Maura Ives; his son, John Ives; and his sisters, Cathy Ives Baldwin and Penny Ives Stroup.
Donations in Gary's honor may be made to the Brazos Valley Food Bank, the BCS Spay Neuter Project, or the Lone Star Santa Charities.