Gary Ray Willmore Sr., 75, of Alton, peacefully passed away Wednesday, June 15, 2016, at his home in Alton, after a courageous battle with cancer.
He was born on Nov. 18, 1940 in Hood River, Ore., the son of Mildred (Barton) Willmore Hupy and Archibald Noel Willmore Sr.
Gary resided in Mount Vernon, Ill., with his father and brothers until he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at the age of 17. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton, and became a 105 Howitzer operator and a radio communications specialist. His passions were electronics, mechanics, woodworking and machinery. He was a Lance Corporal when he left the military to attend DeVry University in Chicago. After completing his degree, he moved to Alton and retained work at the Ford Motor Company, working on an assembly line, and was also lucky enough to drive brand new cars off of trailers onto the sales lots. That job led him to eventually buy his first (and only) brand new car, a 1968 Cougar.
Soon after, East Alton Olin Corporation hired him as a machinist, where he completed a 4-year program, becoming a journeyman. He retired in 2003, after 38 years of service. In 2013, The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Lodge 660 awarded him a Gold Veteran’s Badge for being a member for more than 45 years.
Gary attended and was an avid friend and supporter of the Alton Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1308, the East Alton American Legion Post 794, and the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie No. 2994A. He marched in several parades representing the Marine Corps League Leathernecks. In November 2004, he was given a Distinguished Service Bronze Medal Award by the United States Marine Corps and the Marine Corps League. He enjoyed playing poker with his buddies and he immensely enjoyed eating baked goods of any kind, his favorite being doughnuts.
Gary was preceded in death by his parents, his aunts and uncles; his eldest brother, Archie Noel Willmore Jr.; and a precious grandson, Blake Evan Durie.
Gary is survived by his loving wife of 44 years, Rosa (Geninatti) Willmore; a sister, Mary (Willmore) Price of Gresham, Ore.; and three brothers, Paul Willmore of Mount Vernon, Brad Hupy of Portland, Ore., and Bart Hupy of Hawaii; his daughters, Kerri Johnson (William Perigo Jr.) of Glen Carbon and Annette Durie of Alton; his beloved grandchildren, Cameron and Kya Durie; his sons, Gary Ray Willmore Jr. (Tammy) of Glendale, Ariz., Vera Ventimiglia, D’Ann Randolph, Patricia and John Peipert, Becky (Gottlob) Willmore, and many nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends also survive.
Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, June 24, 2016, at Gent Funeral Home, 2409 State St., Alton.
The funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 25, 2016, also at Gent Funeral Home. The VFW Ritual Team Military Ceremony will immediately follow, on site.
The funeral dinner will be at 12:30 p.m. at the East Alton American Legion Post 794, 120 E. Alton Ave., East Alton.
At his request, he will be laid to rest, without a graveside service, in his family cemetery in Mount Vernon, where a military honors section is reserved.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are requested to be sent to Alton VFW Post 1308, 4445 Alby St., Alton, IL 62002 or The American Legion Post 794, 120 E. Alton Ave., East Alton, IL 62024.
Online guestbook and information may be found at gentfuneralhome.com.