Obituary of Gary Wayne Humiston
Gary was born to Ruth and George Humiston in Rawlins, Wyoming. He grew up near Denver doing the things little boys did before there were cell phones and video games. He loved building forts and tunnels in the fields near his home, prompting the family nickname “Prairie Dog.”
Gary graduated from Ranum High School (North Denver), where he excelled in track and field and wrestling. He bucked the growing anti-war sentiment at the time and joined ROTC. After graduation, he enlisted in the Air Force and was eventually stationed at Ramstein Air Base.
During his service in Germany, he sustained a catastrophic injury in a car accident that left him paralyzed. While learning to navigate his new wheelchair life at Walter Reed Medical Center, he met another young man with a similar injury, who helped him see the situation as an opportunity to make a bigger mark on the world. Gary chose to make a life of purpose, humor, and kindness. If he had what you needed, he offered it, be it a wrench or rent money.
Gary took his wheelchair life by the horns. This was before there was an ADA, wheelchair-sized bathroom stalls, parking spaces, or curb cutouts. He learned to dance, jump curbs, and get hauled off airplanes with a forklift. If anyone told him that wheelchair guys couldn’t do “that” he showed ‘em how it was done. He became an accomplished artist, avid gardener, world traveler, and scuba diver. He restored a 35-ft 1941 Christ Craft and classic cars--his signature ride for years was his bright-red 1964 Mercedes convertible. He was an avid collector of Western artwork because he was a wild cowboy at heart. In all his adventures, he never met a stranger-one of his many super-powers was being able to talk to anyone about anything.
Never one to draw things out, Gary hopped his final curb after a brief illness. He is survived by many relatives and friends, including his best catpals, Wild Bill and Zeva. A private Celebration of Life is planned for a later date.
The family would like to thank the Seattle VA Spinal Cord Injury Service for their many years of helping Gary live his best life. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Gary’s name to the Northwest chapter of Paralyzed Vets of America (nwpva.org/donations/) in support of the Seattle VA’s spinal cord injury recreation programs.