Gary Dale McCalla December 20, 2015

CARBONDALE — Gary Dale McCalla, 59, passed away Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015, after a brief battle with cancer.

He was born March 25, 1956, in Carbondale to David and Imogene McCalla.

Gary graduated from high school in three years. He gained much knowledge of home and auto repairs and strong work ethics at an early age shadowing his father. What he did not learn from his father, he read in books or acquired on the job.

Right out of high school, Gary began working as a gas attendant, which led to his studying old coins. Soon after, he relocated to Chicago to work for a unionized roofing company with his brother-in-law. Gary continued to work in the business back in Carbondale with Baine roofing. He even traveled to Utah twice to roof his nephew’s newly built homes.

Gary had the desire to build a house from the ground up, so he did just that by working for Jerry White Construction out of Marion. He labored in roofing and construction for over 30 years.

Family was very important to Gary. After the passing of his father, he took care of his mother and siblings, while working full time and trying to salvage his marriage. Not only did he take care of his family, but he helped neighbors, friends and strangers.

Gary worked hard and played hard. He would always tell the family that work was when he got paid and that helping his family and friends was play time. He was not happy unless he was busy working and/or helping someone.

He will be missed by many.

Garry enjoyed reading how-to books, old coins, fishing, camping and bonfires.

He was married to Ellen Zinn Stearns (1983-1991) and Toni Zettle (2002-2009).

Survivors include his brothers and sisters, Mary, Michael, Nancy and Doug, all of Carbondale; nieces and nephews, Billy, Patti, Michelle, Brandi, Courtney, Gary and Jeffrey; and many other relatives and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and brother, John Luigi.

Gary donated his body to science so researchers might find a cure for his type of cancer. Memorials may be made to American Cancer Society or Cancer Research Center.

The family will host a celebration of Gary’s life on his birthday, March 25, 2016.

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