“Woody” 1967-2009

I didn’t want to take out a typical ad because my husband was anything but typical.

Gary was known for his wonderful personality, roaring laughter and amazing sense of humor. He was helpful to all who knew him, and touched everyone he met. Gary enjoyed all the things that life had to offer. He had big dreams, and fulfilled a lot of them in the short time he was here. He had nicknames for everyone.

Gary was born in Springhill, Nova Scotia. His family moved to the Yukon and he stayed there until the age of thirteen.

He raced BMX and Motorcross while in the Yukon, always excelling in whatever he set his mind to.

Gary took a major interest in body building when he was thirteen. Arnold Schwarzenegger was his idol. A lot of people never believed he could be like Arnold, and scoffed at the notion. Gary wanted to prove them all wrong. He trained all the time, and over a six-year period became something out of a magazine. He worked harder and longer than most, and his hard work paid off.

At seventeen, he entered a bodybuilding contest and placed 1st overall. Gary went from a 6’1” 135 lb. 13 year old to a 6’5” 275 lb. muscle man. He joined the military in 1986 and continued his bodybuilding while in the service. During this time he wanted to try his hand at wrestling and got permission from the base commander to go to wrestling school. Once he graduated, the WWF would hire him to wrestle when they came through town. He did a lot of local wrestling and became many characters. He loved being a bad guy. Everytime he’d kiss his bicep, the crowd would go crazy! He became somewhat of a celebrity everywhere he went.

It was time for Gary to be transferred and he was lucky enough to have a couple of choices. He decided to come to B.C.

In 1993, he drove all the way to B.C. from Nova Scotia. He always worked at the local clubs as a doorman on the weekend. He was stationed at CFB Chilliwack and worked at Annie’s on the weekends.

On Feb. 14, 1993 he went on his first date with Tammy. From that day on they were inseparable. They fell in love instantly and their love blossomed out of control. He took her for a helicopter ride to the top of Mt. Cheam. He got down on one knee in the snow, and asked her to marry him.

They were a match made in heaven. Their wedding was magical and unforgettable. Shortly after their marriage, Gary left the military and took some time off.

During this time he tried out for various movies, TV shows and commercials. He landed many roles as a bouncer, fireman, bad guy, football player and became the human example of some action figures. He was Blanka from Street Fighter II, Sargeant Savage and Flint of GI Joe Extreme, and Harpoon Harrison from Jurrassic Park. Most are found on Youtube. He came very close many times to hitting a big role.

In late 1994, he got a job with Apex Industrial Movers. He worked with a close knit group of guys, and they became nothing short of brothers. The work is difficult, tedious but incredible and amazing. They have been featured on the Discovery Channel’s “Mega Movers”. He moved massive ships, huge buildings and digesters in mills. The items and extreme sizes are too endless to mention.

During his career with Apex, Gary became the proud father of five beautiful children. Georgia – 11, Bronsen – 10, Jesse – 4, Jake – 3, Breanna – 18 months, and one more to be born Nov. 6, 2009.

Gary had many passions and hot rods were one of them. He bought himself a ‘34 Chevy Coupe and his dream was to have it on the road for his kids to drive to graduations and use for their weddings. He raced nitrous troggies, went snowmobiling, and wanted to get a motorhome and travel with his family. He was an animal lover, a joker and loved to sit and have a glass of wine at night with Jesse snuggled beside him.

Gary’s kids were everything to him. He spent every spare moment he had with his kids. Gary was the best Dad any child could ever asked for. He was there for all their births, all their sports and activities. He never forgot to kiss them good night. He spoiled them rotten and always spent quality time with them. I hope they’ll never forget. He would lay on the floor and let the little ones crawl all over him. He never stopped telling them how much he loved them. The children looked up to their Dad like a hero. He had superhuman strength, and a will like a freight train.

When Gary was fatally injured at work, it was the worst thing possible that would have happened to such a close knit, loving family. I feel like we’ve been robbed.

The sorrow and grief is beyond anything I can describe. My heart aches for my children, especially the young ones who won’t remember how irreplaceable their Dad was. But, it’s up to me to keep his legacy alive.

I don’t know how many young widows there are with six children, but I do feel like I’m in a unique situation. This shouldn’t have happened to us.

I want to let everyone know, that although Gary passed from massive brain injury, he didn’t look bad and I think that is important to know. His body was still a mountain of muscle and his face was the same. He had a small contusion on the right side of his head, the size of a small orange. I got to stay with him, talking with him, saying his kids’ names. His heart rate would rise every time I spoke. He could hear me. I said his babies’ names over and over and told him of my unconditional love. The nurses made a bed for us and we laid together for hours.

He fought hard to stay with me but just couldn’t hold on any longer. He passed away at 4:02 a.m. on May 2, 2009.

We’ve lost a terrific friend, a loving father, a devoted husband, and a spirit that was bigger than life itself.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the “Gary Wood – In Memoriam” trust fund for his six children would be appreciated. To donate, please call Pacific Blasting at 604-291-1255.

A memorial service to celebrate Gary’s life will be held on Friday, May 15, 2009, 1:00 p.m. at Chilliwack Alliance Church, 8700 Young Ave.

Open Mic, All Are Welcome!

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