Gary Gustafson - July 21, 2013Gary Lee Gustafson, 57, died at his home in Aurora on July 21, 2013, after a valiant, year-long struggle with pancreatic cancer. He will be remembered fondly by a wide community of family and friends as a gentle and inquisitive spirit, a genuine and kind scholar and a generous and thoughtful son, brother, uncle and friend.
Funeral services will be held 11 a.m., Thursday, July 25, at the Evangelical Free Church in Aurora. Rev. Vance Christie will officiate. Burial will be at 9:30 a.m. at the Monroe Cemetery, all are welcome. Visitation will be 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Higby-McQuiston Mortuary. Condolences may be e-mailed to the family through www.higbymortuary.com.
Gary was born on Aug. 24, 1955, at St. Francis Hospital in Grand Island, the youngest of three children born to Mike and Leone (Seashore) Gustafson of rural Phillips. After graduating from Aurora High School in 1973, he earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and worked for several years as a librarian at Love Library on the UNL campus. In 1988, after earning a second master’s degree in library science from the University of Illinois at Champagne, Gary began a 20-year career as a reference librarian at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. He was an avid reader, hiker and photographer, loving both books and the outdoors. Gary had a great sense of humor and is remembered for a long tradition of sending humorous cards and thoughtful gifts to relatives and friends.
Gary left his position at NAU in 2008 to return to Aurora to be with and help care for his parents, and he was invaluable in this capacity. He worked in Aurora as the assistant director of the Plainsman Museum until shortly before his death, and was an active and engaged member of the Aurora Evangelical Free Church.
Gary is survived by his mother, Leone; his sister, Debbie (Bob) Olson of Lakewood, Colo; his brother, Brad (Sally) Gustafson of Scottsbluff, ; nieces Lindsey (Jon) Hodges of Lakewood, Colo., Julie (Tony) Bolos of Lakewood, Colo., and nephew Mike (Stephanie) Olson of Wheat Ridge, Colo.; along with five beloved grandnieces.
He was preceded in death by his father.