Cover photo for Gary Lee Clough's Obituary
Gary Lee Clough Profile Photo

Gary Lee Clough

April 25, 1946 — May 30, 2024

Bainbridge Island

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Gary Lee Clough was born at the Winslow Clinic on April 25, 1946 to Euretta Hochholzer and Dale Clough. After he was born, Ret wrapped him up and walked him home to the family house on Ericksen Avenue, where he joined his siblings- Neil, Cindy and Jo Ann. Gary had an idyllic childhood growing up in Winslow. The neighborhood was filled with kids, and they spent time outside riding bikes and playing in the ravine behind his house. Many lifelong friendships were formed. He graduated from Bainbridge High School in 1964.

Gary was drafted into the the United States Army in the fall of 1965. After basic training he was sent to Fort Sam in Houston, Texas for advanced training as a combat medic. Upon completion he was allowed a short leave to visit his family and friends at home on Bainbridge Island. Gary was then sent to the Republic of South Vietnam where he was assigned as a combat medic in company A of the second battalion, first infantry division, better known as “The Big Red One.” In less than a week he was treating his first casualty while under fire. He earned the respect of his platoon who affectionately called him “Doc.” While he did not speak readily about the horrors of war he did proudly describe the times he would treat children and other civilians with medical conditions as his unit passed through their villages. Gary earned the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the coveted Combat Medics Badge for rendering aid while under hostile fire. After a year of serving in Vietnam, he returned home to a less than grateful nation, but always said if called upon, he would serve again. His service in Vietnam forever changed his life.

Gary first joined the Bainbridge Island Fire Department in 1964 as a Volunteer Firefighter. He was hired in 1969 as a dispatcher, and dispatched both fire and police calls from the radio room at the Bucklin Hill fire station. Residents could report their location by property number, which was then looked up in a card file. The dispatcher was then able to report the exact location, as well as any additional notes about how to find the property or any hazards that might be present. In 1975 he was hired on as one of the first dispatchers at Kitsap County CenCom center in Bremerton, where he dispatched for the entire county. During this time, he continued his work with BIFD, and was promoted to Lieutenant in 1971, and then to Captain in 1975. Gary was promoted to Fire Chief in 1987 and served until he retired from BIFD in 1992. During this time he oversaw the implementation of the first paramedic services on the Island, utilizing paramedics from the Seattle Fire Department and the Harborview Medic One paramedic training program. He impacted the lives of hundreds of firefighters and citizens throughout his career.

Gary was a devoted member of The American Legion Colin Hyde Post 172. He served as Commander and 1st vice Commander. He was a beloved BINGO caller on Sunday afternoons, consistently charming the ladies who came to play. He also lovingly cared for the grounds, and spent many an afternoon weed-eating in his denim overalls.

In 1967, Gary married Kathy Stone, his high school sweetheart. They had two children, Bob and Deb. He married Rena Berry in 1985, and with this marriage gained a daughter, Rhonda Berry. In 1995 his youngest daughter Erica Edwards was born to Jeanne Edwards. Gary remained good friends with Kathy, Rena and Jeanne until his death.

In 2018, he was reunited with old friend Diane Finney. They were partners until his death.

In 1993, Gary’s first grandchild was born, and his grandfather era began. This was a job at which he excelled. He was a devoted grandfather, attending countless birthday parties and sporting events. He was always up for a trip (or two or three) to the snack shack, where he would buy the grandkids whatever their hearts desired. He was especially devoted to his youngest grandchild Eric, with whom he spent a lot of time. They attended Cub Scouts together, and made frequent trips to the trampoline park. Gary was also an honorary grandfather to Mateo Perez.

Throughout his life, Gary had many devoted friends. Many adventures were had, there was a bit of mischief and a lot of fun. From the neighborhood gang, to the three musketeers, to fire department buddies, to old guys hanging out at Walt’s and drinking coffee, he loved them all.

After suffering a cardiac arrest, Gary died peacefully on May 30th surrounded by family, friends, love, laughter and tears.

He is predeceased by his parents, his brother Neil, sister Cindy, and former wife Leslie Barnes. He is survived by his life partner Diane Finney, his sister Jo Ann Johnson, his children Bob Clough, Deb Clough Russell (Brian), Rhonda Berry, and Erica Edwards. Also missing him are five nieces and nephews, and his beloved grandchildren- Vicente and Gabriela Ponce, Anna, Cooper, and Ruby Russell, Eric Edwards, and Kobie Hawley III.

Gary was a true son of Bainbridge Island. He will be missed.

Services will be held on Bucklin Hill, at Bainbridge Fire Department Station 22 and the American Legion Hall on Saturday, September 7 2024 at 1PM.

Arrangements entrusted to Cook Family Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island, WA.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gary Lee Clough, please visit our flower store.

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Saturday, September 7, 2024

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Memorial Service

Saturday, September 7, 2024

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