Gary Lee Worrall

CHASSELL — Gary Lee Worrall, 75, of Chassell, man of God and Barb’s best friend and husband, died on December 30, 2017, at UPHS-Marquette, where he was air-lifted after suffering a massive stroke on December 22, 2017.

He was born to Hazel (Epkey) and Richard Worrall in St. John’s on August 26, 1942. He graduated from Rodney B. Wilson High School in St. John’s where he was interested in science and played the saxophone. He graduated from Michigan Tech, where he played in the band, in 1965 with a degree in electrical engineering/power.

A week later, on June 19, 1965, he married Barbara Luttinen, whom he met on a blind date the first week she was a student at Tech, at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Chassell.

While at MTU he was confirmed in the Lutheran faith at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. He was honored to be accepted into the Looper Management Training Group at Bethlehem Steel Corp. where he worked for seven years in Buffalo, New York. The rest of his career was spent back in Michigan with Motor Wheel (later Hayes-Lemmerz), an auto parts supplier.

As he rose through the ranks, he lived in Ypsilanti, St. Johns and Howell and retired in 2006. In his work he traveled extensively to Japan, Kentucky and Mexico. The Japanese management especially appreciated him because of his work ethic and the fact that he ate and enjoyed any ethnic food offered, even live shrimp!

Through the years Gary was a giving man who served in numerous ways mainly in the churches he and Barb attended; church officer, Sunday School teacher and Supt., Bible student and teacher, elder, and anywhere asked.

His intense hobby which he shared with son, Mark in over 30 years of rail-fanning (trips to photograph) was railroad history and photography. He volunteered doing computer work for the Soo Railroad archives in Appleton, Wisconsin, and spent time there. Mary, his daughter, remembers her many hikes with Dad where he was always fast and ahead as she proudly caught up with him. He also loved classical music, reading, birding, cross-country skiing and the beautiful Copper Co. he always wanted to return to and did in retirement. Through their 52 years of marriage, he and Barb enjoyed annual car or train trips in Canada and the northern U.S. To celebrate their 50th anniversary they traveled to Alaska via car, train and cruise ship.

When retiring to the Copper Co. 10 years ago, Gary became an honorary Finn as he celebrated Bar’s heritage by building four kanteles (Finnish harps) and playing in the Ilon Kaiku Kantele Ensemble, serving as VP of the Finnish Theme Committee, and working on Heikinpaiva. If you tasted the beef stew there the past two years know that he was the chef.

Bible studies were important to him through the years and he faithfully attended classes at the Inter-Lutheran Seminary in Hancock and also participated in the Men’s Bible Study at Sts. Peter and Paul Lutheran Church in Houghton and in the North End Bible study group. Years ago he was trained as a Bethel Bible teacher. Gary followed in the footsteps of Barb’s father and was currently the King Lion of the Chassell Lion’s Club and chaired the Copper Co. Strawberry Festival with the immense help of his fellow Lions. He said that Barb’s father was the greatest man he ever had met. Gary also participated on the Chassell Heritage Organization board, the Chassell Let’s Eat community meal committee, the Pine Mountain Music Festival as committee and headed the grounds maintenance at his church. He was humbled to serve as an elder at church and read aloud Scripture during the services. He might as well have been a member of the Portage Health Auxiliary (Among others of Barb’s groups) for all the computer work he did for them as well as serving as “Barb’s legs.”

Gary is survived by his mother, Hazel of St. Johns; children, Mary (Vince Leone) of East Lansing, and Mark (Tina) of Rockford; and dearly loved grandchildren, Cecelia, Taavi, Ellie and Abby. Also surviving are his sisters, Judy Hackett (Robert) and Linda Wilkie (Jim); brother, Dennis (Rebecca); sister-in-law, Brenda; and sister-in-law, Mary Luttinen; as well as numerous relatives and his beloved Copper Co. friends, including neighbors, Jack and Bertha Rossberg; and his Sts. Peter and Paul family, including Bea Sutinen whom he loved.

He was pre-deceased by father, Richard; parents-in-law, Uno and Cecelia Luttinen; brother, Doug; and brother-in-law, Darrell Baker.

One of Gary’s great joys was making Christmas cookies to share with family and friends. In recent years he and Barb made 20 varieties, his specialty being spritz cookies and he always made sure there were sugar cookies for the grand daughters to frost.

Gary was a strong man of faith, a listener not a talker, had a great determination, dependability and integrity. He knew what he believed and stood firm in the faith. However, he could never remember names and Barb always teased him that he called her “honey” because he couldn’t recall her name!

Though Gary loved flowers and did extensive gardens at his home in Howell, we request no flowers. Donations may be made to Sts. Peter and Paul Lutheran Church in Houghton or to the Inter-Lutheran Seminary in Hancock. The family thanks the Chassell First Responders and the caring staffs at UPHS-Portage (ER) and Marquette (ICU) and were sustained in this difficult time by the prayers of people far and wide.

Funeral services for Gary will be held 11 a.m. Friday January 5, 2018, at Sts. Peter and Paul Lutheran Church of Houghton with Rev. David Weber to officiate. Spring burial will be in the Chassell Cemetery. Friends may call on Thursday, January 4, 2018, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Memorial Chapel Funeral Home of Hancock and on Friday from 9 a.m. until time of services at Sts. Peter and Paul Lutheran Church of Houghton.

To view Gary’s obituary or to send condolences to the family please visit memorialchapel.net.

The Memorial Chapel & Plowe Funeral Homes of Hancock have been assisting the family with the arrangements.