Obituary: Gary Lee Fenker

Gary Lee Fenker. (Courtesy)

Gary Lee Fenker. (Courtesy)

Gary Lee Fenker, age 72, died Saturday, January 1, 2022.

He was born February 8, 1949 in northern Indiana and grew up in Columbia City, Indiana with his parents, Harold and Helen (Kelsey) Fenker and his older brother, Roger.

Part of the graduating class of 1967 from Columbia City Joint High School, Gary went on to obtain a degree in accounting from Indiana University.

He lived in South Bend, Indiana working for Bendix (Allied Signal, Honeywell) before transferring to San Diego, California. It was in San Diego where he met Judy (Frame) Armstrong. Gary and Judy married on October 20, 1990 and made their home in Poway, California before moving to their present-day home in Prescott, Arizona in 2010.

Gary was preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Judy (1939-2011).

He is survived by Judy’s daughter Cindy (Lance) McGrath of Prescott Valley, AZ, granddaughter Briana (Jeremy) Smith of Prescott Valley, AZ, and grandson Luke Grossman of Memphis, Tennessee.

He recently became a proud Great-pa to great grandson, Wyatt Lee Smith.

He is also survived by his brother Roger (Becky) Fenker, nephew Ryan (Nancy) Fenker, and niece Rachel (Kendal) Burkholder all of Indiana. In addition to an uncle, Lyle (Jane) Kelsey of Incline Village, Nevada and aunt, Mary Baumann of Kokomo, Indiana and several cousins and many dear friends scattered near and far.

But we all know there is more to his story than just these lines of text.

Gary lived; he lived more than most and always with the pedal to the floor.

Gary led; he led by example. Always the first to greet someone new with a friendly smile and a firm handshake.

Gary loved; he loved life and all the things in it, he loved cars and motorcycles and anything with wheels and a motor. And Gary loved his people; he loved them in his own fiery temperamental way that we grew to accept as something uniquely his own.

Gary laughed; oh, did he laugh. And he made others laugh too. He always had a story of extraordinary proportions. And always connected the dots between the different parts of his life. A childhood friend, a college acquaintance, a work colleague, or someone he met while grabbing a beer at the local brewery in whatever town he landed in on his latest motorcycle trip or cross-country adventure. They all became part of Gary’s circle.

Gary helped; he was the first the offer a helping hand to lighten the load, to swing the hammer, to put pencil to paper to craft the perfect plan. And because of that, he gained a legion of friends, fans, and people that would move mountains or help him find a way.

And now, Gary is gone. And he’s left a gap. A gap that maybe we can all see as an opportunity for us to fill with the qualities we admired most about him. To be the friend, to share a laugh, to go on an adventure, to love each other in our own special way.

So, we invite you to raise a glass in his honor today. We hope you share your legendary tales of Gary far and wide because his journey continues through ours.

Per Gary’s wishes, there will be no funeral services. A celebration is tentatively planned in early February. If you’d like to share your connection or story of Gary and be included in the event, please contact his niece, Rachel at

Information provided by Hampton Funeral Home.

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