Gary Lee Bartz
Gary Lee Bartz, 66, passed away Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at his home. The family will greet visitors Sunday, August 10, 2014 from 2-4 pm, at Warren-McElwain Mortuary.
Gary was born December 08, 1947 in Lawrence to Charlton and Ida Jean (Carr) Bartz.
He married Ellen Hornberger on June 7, 1998 in San Jose, Costa Rica. Together they raised her son, James “Jake” Dean Brown, Jr., Lawrence.
Gary graduated from Lawrence High School (LHS) in 1965. He was involved in 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA). As a sophomore he won a trophy in public speaking in FFA. His junior year he placed fifth in the district in the category of Farm Mechanic Skills. His senior year he was recognized by the DeKalb Agricultural Association as the Senior Vocational Agriculture Student of the Year at LHS.
Growing up he worked on the family farm with his father.
Gary married Nancy Ragle and they divorced in 1987. They had two children, Barbra Bartz, Lawrence, and Jennifer Bowman, Shawnee Mission, five grandchildren, Wendi Kessler, Ethan Bowman, Seth Bowman, Gage Bowman and Reese Bowman; two great grandchildren Aubrianna Wise and Jaden Wise; seven nieces and nephews; and six great-nieces and nephews.
He worked for Picken Auto Parts from 1966-1970. He worked for Mastercraft from 1970-1978 as a plumber before opening his own company, Kaw Valley Plumbing in 1978. The motto for Kaw Valley Plumbing was “Don’t sleep with a drip, call a plumber. “
Gary was also a founding member of the Lawrence St. Patrick’s Day Committee.
Gary purchased Don’s Steakhouse from Don Scott, the original owner, and opened the doors on January 1, 1990. The motto was “We’ll meat you at Don’s Steak House and that’s no bull.” Over the years he fed the KU football and basketball teams, as well as catering Dick Schaap’s Super Bowl parties. He sent his ribs to many people he met over the years, including Joe Montana.
Due to poor health he closed the doors at Don’s December 30, 2007. He didn’t let his health stop him from helping his friends and neighbors fix something, removing snow or mowing lawns. On the day of his death, he sponsored an Angel Flight for a person travelling to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Gary was co-owner of Destinations Unlimited from 1995 to 2000.
Gary was co-owner of Bartz Brothers Fireworks since 1991. He also purchased a 90-acre sod farm that now farms soy beans.
Gary enjoyed KU and Chiefs football games and tailgating, travelling to Mexico and scuba diving, four- wheeling and golfing. He also catered the Class of 1965 Golf Tournament each year at Alvamar.
Gary is also survived by his wife, Ellen, his mother Ida Jean Bartz, Lawrence, one sister Janet (Jim)Trybom, Monticello, IL; one brother Larry (Lyric) Bartz; two sister-in-laws Ann Rogers, Stilwell, and Gayle (Greg) Daniels, Topeka and one niece and two nephews .
Visitation will be Sunday, August 10 from 2-4pm at Warren McElwain Mortuary. A Celebration of Life will be held at the Eagles Lodge Friday, August 15 from 6-10pm. Please bring your favorite picture or story about Gary to share.
Memorials can be to the Lawrence St. Patrick’s Day Committee or an online donation to Angel Flight Central at angelflightcentral.org.