I was at my son’s watching my favorite NFL team be soundly trounced by a divisional opponent last Sunday, when my iPhone vibrated indicating a new email. That’s how I learned of Gary’s death from a sudden heart attack on Saturday. Like all of you, I was shocked saddened and unable to focus on a now unimportant game.
Since then, the Internet has been abuzz with tributes to Gary. I have received numerous emails. There is a Facebook tribute site. There are blog post remembrances and traffic has increased on Communitas Collective as people have sought out Gary’s words and graphic design. All of the graphic design on the site, which took scores of hours to produce, were donated by Gary.
Of all the people I have met though Internet activity, Gary is the only one who has ventured out to actually visit me. About a year and have ago, he, Jan, and Jon-Erik met my wife and I for lunch. We have had many, many email and phone conversations, as recent as a few days ago.
This time of grief has shown me the power of community that spans all distances and unites people around their love for a friend who while unmet for most, was well known.
I remember Gary as…
Intelligent. I sincerely believe that he had a very high IQ. Sometimes, I would have to research words and concepts that he mentioned.
Creative. He was a graphic designer and marketing specialist, but he also excelled with the written word. You can browse the posts that he contributed to Communitas and see the beauty of his thoughts expressed in nonfiction and fiction.
Analytical. He thought things through more completely than anyone I have met. When he created a logo, there was a reason for every nuance, position, color, etc. The same applied to his well-reasoned thoughts on spirituality. He made every project a complete effort.
Engaged. His contributions and comments in so many places on the Internet and beyond indicated that he truly entered the conversations and lives of others.
A Gentleman. I saw this in the way his referred to and treated his wife and sons.
Honest. I really love this about him and it endeared him to many, many people.
Spiritual. Gary loved God and wanted to know him in truth and beauty. It was a driving force in his life.
I have been enriched by Gary and grieve his passing. Jan, Jon-Erik, and Kristoffer, may you feel some of the love coming back to you that Gary shared with each of us and may the grace of God and the love of friends sustain you.
Gary’s passing, and even more his life, reminds me to think of the people that I want to be impacted by unconditional love, of how I want to follow that divine, unobtrusive, persistent voice within, and to be honest along the way. Thanks for walking with me on the journey, my friend!
Other remembrances that were emailed to me…
I had not met Gary but I am shocked all the same to hear of his sudden and untimely passing. I am so very very sorry. My heart hurts for those of you who knew him and most especially for his family. – Joy Schroeder
For those of us in perhaps the same age bracket as Gary, we realize the brevity of life, and the value we need to put on today–our friends and relationships, our passions, our understanding of life itself. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Glenn, and others who knew Gary. His life, skills and ministry have blessed all of us in one way or another. – Al Lindskoog
I am still in shock and don’t even know what to say. My head is spinning. I have considered Gary a valuable friend for over four years. His contributions to my spiritual journey are immeasurable. He was an amazing artist, a brilliant philosophical mind, and a caring friend. Although I never met him in person, I don’t discount the measure of our friendship. Today I only wish I knew his family better so that I could offer something more than words. What an enormous loss to so many people.
I have a piece of his artwork in my kitchen. Now, I’m glad for the reminder of his talent.
I am grateful for his life, and honored to have known him. May heaven enjoy his presence. – Erin Word
i, too, am just so shocked by this news. life is very fragile. like erin, i never met gary in person but we connected over the carnival and facebook through the past few years and i considered him a precious friend on the journey. his honesty and authenticity and willingness to say hard things about God and life and church was so beautiful. he had a sincerity in his journey that was so compelling & challenging, a desire for the real thing. sometimes at refuge moments i’d think “i wish gary means were here to be part of this conversation” because i knew he’d love its depth. anyway, just rambling now but my heart goes out to his dear family & i was reminded again last night how important it is to live while we can. love to all of you. peace and hope. – Kathy Escobar
Seems like Gary would make a comment on every post I made, engaging my story with his. So sorry to hear this news. – Kevin Shinn
Glenn, Gary told me about that time Jon-Erik had dinner with you. He thought so highly of you and appreciated your friendship a lot. Sometimes I wonder how one person had so much time and love to spread around to so many of us. I loved Gary as a brother and am still in shock. I hate to admit this, but the only time I visit this site is to read what he said. But I will start visiting more often now because somehow it feels that of all the places he appears online, this was his home. – Barbara Legere
Was shocked and saddened to hear the news of Gary’s passing. CC won’t quite be the same nor will the blogsophere without the light of his presence. A wonderful writer and unusually transparent brother.
Much peace to all for this great loss… – Pam Hogeweide
A memorial service for Gary Means will be held November 26th at 2:00 PM in Kent, WA at Kent Covenant Church. (12010 SE 240th St Kent, WA 98031).
A memorial fund has been set up at Wells Fargo to directly benefit the family. For more information, contact Wells Fargo or Jon-Erik.
From Jon-Erik: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions and I will try to respond as soon as possible. Thank you all so much for your prayers, assistance and kind words! They have been of great comfort.
All of Gary’s posts on Communitas Collective can be found here.
The Remembering Gary Means Facebook Group link
Gary’s art can be found here:
Blog banners designed by Gary:
http://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/ (One of Barbara Legere’sblogs)
http://www.kansasbob.com/ (“Kansas” Bob Edwards)
http://iklektika.blogspot.com/ (One of Gary’s own blogs)
Originally published November 19, 2010.