Gary Alan Church

Born: 04/13/1953 Passed:

Gary Alan Church had a free, adventurous spirit! He lived life to the fullest, in his own way and on his own terms. Those who knew Gary often wondered where he got all the energy and what he was going to do next. Ever creative and exploratory, Gary thrived on learning, doing, and making things work. His ever-busy mind and hands played out in his professional life and in his personal and recreational ventures.

Gary was a 1971 graduate of Firestone High School, where he was co-captain of the football team and broke records as a fullback and halfback. Shortly after graduation, he decided to explore the marvels of Colorado and Oregon. After getting the wanderlust out of his system, Gary returned to Ohio, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Akron. A passionate lover of rock and roll – especially Pink Floyd – Gary was in drummer heaven when he played with local bands, including Sands of Time.

Gary relaxed by gardening, birdwatching and building things outdoors. He found peace in boating and loved ocean vacations. Indoors, he enjoyed reading and building models – especially boats. A natural leader, Gary’s professional career included starting the IBS Construction Company and working for several construction and engineering companies. He retired as a sales engineer from PJ’s Fabricating, Inc.

Gary was blessed to meet a wonderful woman who has just as much energy and enjoyed many of the same activities as he did. Family and friends could usually find Gary’s wife of 34 years, the former Joanne Italia, at his side in the yard, gardening and building things. The couple married on September 19th, 1987 and were blessed with two children: daughter, Lindsey, and son, Cory. His children were often drawn into their father’s many activities. Of all his hobbies and accomplishments, Gary’s greatest love was for his family. Even during his recent illness, he was so proud to give his daughter away in marriage on April 24th, 2021.

Gary Alan Church was born April 13th, 1953 in Akron, son of Don and Mitzi Badger Church. He passed away peacefully in the comfort of his own home on Tuesday, July 20th, 2021.

With much love, Gary will always be remembered by his devoted wife, Joanne; children, Cory Church and Lindsey (Scott) Christner; grandson, Liam; brother, Don (Marie) Church; and his cousin, Julie Domenick Church.

In addition to his parents, Gary was preceded in death by his sister, Nancy Ingram, and brother, Bruce Church.

As Gary wanted, there will be no funeral service. There will be a Celebration of his Life at a later date. The family is very grateful for the hospice care provided by Kris and Molly during Gary’s illness. Condolences and special memories can be shared with the family online at

Heritage Cremation Society



7 Tributes to Gary Alan Church

  1. John Grigas says:

    My sympathy goes out to Gary’s family for your loss I went to school with Gary and played football together and his sister Nancy was in my 1969 class also found memories of the relationship between the Church’s and their neighbors the Schleede family Gary enthusiasm for life was infectious he truly was a free spirit Rest In Peace
    John Grigas

  2. Don, Marie, Sarah and Jessica Church says:

    May Gary’s spirit live and carry on in all whose lives he shared.

    With Condolences, Sympathy and Prayers

  3. Bob Kovach says:

    May my brother and friend rest in peace and may we all be reunited in the next world…. May God Bless Gary , his family and friends and protect always????????????????????

  4. Jessica Soehnlen says:

    I was only blessed to know Gary for a short time before his retirement at PJ’s, it was a pleasure working with him!! I treasure the stories he told, his love for his family and his adventurous soul! I am so glad he came out to see Cowboy Mounted Shooting! May his spirit live on with the lives of his family and friends! You are in my thoughts and prayers!

  5. The Wymer Family says:

    So many good memories we all had. Truly will miss those times. Praying for peace through this time. Love to all.

  6. Polly Porter Davis says:

    To Joanne and Children:
    I grew up next door to the Church family on Cliffside Drive. We were all part of the Cliffside neighborhood family. As you know, Gary was very popular through school but also very introspective and private. I loved his Mom, Mitzi, and my husband and I attended his sister’s wedding in Oxford, Ohio.
    It was so nice to read about his successful careers and his beloved family. Our 50th high school reunion was supposed to be this September but it has been moved until September 2022. Wish he was going to be there.
    Wishing you peace, Polly Porter Davis

  7. Michael Laman says:

    Bruce Church was in my class at FHS 1974. I know Gary was a fine athlete. Sorry both of them are gone now. Our family lived on Cliffside Drive too 1966-69. I wish his family peace at this time.

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