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Gary Lee Bickers was born to Kenneth and Dorothy Bickers on Christmas Day, 1946 in Neenah, Wisconsin. Over the years he would welcome 5 siblings, 3 brothers, and 2 sisters to the family. They would eventually move to Illinois where he grew up spending time living in Champaign, Georgetown, and Danville. In January 1966, he enlisted in the United States Army where he received his basic training in Fort Polk, Louisiana and Technical Training in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
In the summer of 1966, while in Fort Leonard Wood, Gary met the love of his life, Margaret Ann Crowson. On Christmas Eve of that year they were married in a beautiful wedding at Margaret’s parent’s home. In 1967, he boarded the USS Geiger headed to Vietnam where he would serve with the 5th Engineering Battalion as a combat civil engineer. He would return home that December after receiving news that Margaret was a passenger in a vehicle that was hit by a drunk driver resulting in the death of their unborn daughter, Jeannie Kay. After his honorable discharge in 1969, Gary and Margaret moved to Ohio where they would welcome a son, Corey Vaughn to the family. The following year they moved to Tingley, Iowa to be closer to Margaret’s family. In 1971, they welcomed daughter, Christina Michele and three years later, daughter, Teresa Jean. Together, Gary and Margaret opened an auto body business in Tingley, and then went on to move to Mount Ayr in 1981. There, Gary worked for Glendenning Motors, the City of Mt. Ayr, and then for the Iowa Department of Transportation for 24 years, retiring as a diesel mechanic. After he retired from the DOT he enjoyed running a small repair shop and doing some maintenance work for the Mt. Ayr Inn. Eventually he retired completely and he and Margaret Ann would spend the next 10 years traveling across the US in their RV making priceless memories. After Margaret passed away in 2021, Gary moved to Catalina, AZ to live near his daughter Christy and her family. Although they would only have one year together, they made the most of that time spending time doing things like refinishing furniture pieces, going thrifting (treasure hunting), and filling the drive to many doctor’s appointments with priceless conversation.
Gary was always there for his family and friends and they knew they could count on him. He had a lifelong passion and knowledge of cars, trucks and motorcycles, and did amazing repair and restoration work for clients, family, and friends. He was artistic and loved working with his hands doing things like woodworking, drawing, and painting. If you went to him with an idea, he could bring it to life and many friends and family are proud owners of his work. Gary could fix anything and loved spending time working in his garage. He had quite the green thumb and loved planting flowers and growing a vegetable garden. Gary also loved being with his grandkids doing things like playing cards, drawing, watching them play sports, and doing whatever it took to make them laugh. On Saturday mornings he could be found in the local coffee shop, enjoying the company of lifelong friends, and on Sundays you could find him watching NASCAR. Gary’s time in Vietnam and exposure to Agent Orange left him with many years of chronic health issues, but he fought hard for life every day and always believed there was something worth living for. When someone would tell him to have a good day he’d answer with, “they’re all good days, it’s just that some are better than others.” His kids and grandkids called him their “Superman!”
Gary passed away and was reunited with his beloved Margaret Ann on October 13th, 2022. Because of Gary’s faith his family is comforted by the fact that they will see him again in Heaven. Left to cherish Gary’s memory are his children, Corey Bickers, Christy (Greg) Sanders and Teresa (Mike) Dyer, his grandchildren, Brandon and Tyler Bickers, Cade and Lauren Sanders, and Hunter (Alexa) Dyer, his brother Robert (Susan) Bickers, and many cherished nephews, nieces and friends. Gary was preceded in death by his wife Margaret Ann, firstborn daughter, Jeannie, mother, Dorothy, father, Kenneth, brothers David and John, sisters Mary and Susan, mother-in-law Ruby, and brother-in-law, Roger. Gary’s wishes were to be cremated and laid to rest next to Margaret at Liberty Baptist Church in Noxapater, MS. A celebration of life is being planned for later this year.

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