“Don’t look for me in a mansion, or walking on the streets of gold. I will be waiting for you just inside the gates. I will be there, mowing the grass.” As of March 11, 2021, Gary Eugene Clontz (born June 18, 1968) is there, just inside the pearly gates alongside his father Roy Eugene Clontz and Stacy Max Clontz.
It should come as no surprise that when Gary arrived in Heaven, Gary asked the Lord if he could request a slight wardrobe change.
“Lord, I don’t mean no disrespect and I ain’t never been one to ask for nothing, but in my new job as groundskeeper here, wouldn’t a pocketed t-shirt and some work pants be easier to work in than a robe of white?”
The Lord, laughing at Gary, like so many times before, smiled and said, “That’s pretty bold, Gary! No one has EVER asked for anything less than what they were offered in Heaven. But as you say, if you’re gonna be stupid, you better be tough.”
God tossed Gary his choice outfit. That infectious smile spread across Gary’s face when he saw that Jesus included Gary’s signature accessories: a shiny safety pin, size 12 logging boots, and a super sharp Case pocket knife.
God and Gary went on to talk about the deeds Gary had done while in his mortal body: like Gary’s frequently used and often inappropriate knack for story telling (which he is famous for). God discussed with Gary how it wasn’t right to claim that Cristy pushed him off the porch when he had actually fallen while playing with his dog “Dobby.”
Jesus spoke of Gary’s unfailing commitment to a stranger, Lee, who he met when he was only 14 years old. That stranger became Gary’s extended family for over 36 years.
Gary, being the humble man he’s always been, said that he had just wanted to follow in his Daddy’s footsteps: to be a dependable fellar and a man of his word- a logger whose heart was full in the woods.
“God, while we’re talking about family, I’d like to tell you thank you for mine. I’m so proud of the young woman Hannah (Dylan) is, and for the bond between me and Lige (Marleny). You know Lord, I thought I had everything I ever wanted: my little wife Cristy and the times we spent on our porch. My bonus sons Justyn and Caleb (Jordan) were always good for a laugh. Then, you sent me my grandson Sammy. I sure love that little fellar . You’ve always been better to me than I deserve. I know you will take care of them until they get here.”
God nodded, with a smile and said, “Of course I will Gary. I will continue to look after your mom, Betty Clontz, sisters, Debbie (Roger) and Tina (Mickey), and older brother Ronnie (Chrystal) like I always have. And I will encourage your family to teach little Sammy the things that were most important to you: about the awe of nature and the mighty cedar, about the value of an honest day’s work, about how to be a man of your word, about always staying the same day in and day out, about the value of a cold drink of Sun-Drop.
But most importantly, Sammy will grow up knowing Pappa lived his life on purpose, infectiously laughing, telling tall tales, giving every person a fair shake, and playing as hard as he worked.
The family will receive friends on Monday, March 15, 2021 at Beam Funeral Service in Marion from 1:00 until 3:00 p.m. A time of sharing and celebration of Gary’s life will follow at 3:00 p.m.