Gary Dale Chastain
May 06,1945 - July 28,2020
Obituary for Gary Dale Chastain
Gary Dale Chastain was born May 6, 1945, in Springfield, MO to Frank and Frances (Selph) Chastain. The family moved to El Reno, OK, when his father accepted a job at the Federal Prison,
teaching machine shop to the inmates. He graduated from El Reno High School in 1963, and joined the Marine Corps, serving a tour in Viet Nam, working with the Navy Medics.
Although he was trained as a truck driver, he often was required to help the medics with triage and other medical tasks. Shortly before returning to the States, he contracted a bacterial infection from drinking bad water when his unit was cut off for 3 days. The bacteria affected his kidneys, and he was “bounced around” to several Navy hospitals when he came back. Everyone else who contracted this infection died, and the Navy doctors sent him to Seattle, where kidney dialysis was being pioneered, although he never did require dialysis, and recovered from the illness, at
least physically. The rest of his life was colored by his experiences in Viet Nam.
After being discharged from the Marine Corps, “one year, one month and 3 days after his discharge date,” as he always said, he stayed in the Seattle area, working as a crane operator,
and then at Boeing for almost 30 years, starting in the machine shop as a burr bench operator, and then as a brake press operator.
While with Boeing, he completed a Machinist Apprenticeship, and worked as a journeyman machinist at the Boeing Auburn Machine Shop. He also worked a short stint as a shipfitter at Todd Shipyard when Boeing machinists were on an extended strike. He always felt that it was his primary duty to support his family. He retired from Boeing in 1999.
In 1971, he met Patty, and they were married June 9, 1973. He raised Patty’s 2 children (Terry and Joshua Cook) from a previous marriage as if they were his own, and he and Patty had 2
daughters together, Cecily Dawn Chastain and Summer Fawn (Chastain) Hilliard. Together, they had 8 grandchildren.
Gary always enjoyed motorcycles and shooting sports. His grandfather gave him a .22 when he was young, about 8 years old, and he often reminisced about those times, growing up, when he
would head out in the morning with his .22 and several boxes of ammunition, and spend the day shooting cottonmouth snakes in and around a nearby river, and occasionally other “varmints.”
After Viet Nam, he did not want to go hunting again, but enjoyed target shooting with friends, and was a charter member of Cascade Rifle and Pistol Club, which later changed to Cascade Shooting Sports. He taught all of the children to shoot, and let each of them pick out a .22 rifle when they could get 50 consecutive shots into a small circle on the target. He always
emphasized safety around firearms. In later years, he started teaching some of the grandchildren to shoot, as well.
Gary bought his first motorcycle when he was 12 years old, with proceeds from his lawnmowing business. His goal was always to give his customers a great job for a reasonable price, and they
would refer him to other people. He also had 2 or 3 newspaper routes to earn money. Although he always had an eye for Harley Davidson motorcycles, his father insisted that, at 12, he was not
big enough for a Harley, so his first bike was a Cushman Eagle motor scooter.
He and his father restored a Model A, which he drove in high school, and sold while he was in the service. After being released from the VA Hospital in Seattle in 1967, he bought a Triumph motorcycle to commute to work; and later bought a Harley “chopper” show bike from his friends, Harold and Kathy Maas. After Gary and Patty married, he sold that motorcycle, and didn’t get another one until 1993, when he bought a new 1993 Softail Heritage Classic as a tour bike that he and Patty could ride together. (She took one ride on the back of the chopper, which was a “hard-tail” and had no springs in the back, and refused to ride it ever again!)
Gary and Patty enjoyed many years of riding the Heritage, and rode for a while with a group of Christian bikers called “Wings
of Faith,” who had as their mission to minister to outlaw bikers, and try to convert them to Christianity. He never actually joined the club, but enjoyed outings and friendship with the members.
On a leisurely afternoon motorcycle ride with Patty, he rode by the house we still live in on Lake Sawyer, which was for sale, and one look at the view from the deck made him resolve to buy that house. In later years, Gary bought several other Harleys, some of which he still had when he passed away, although he had been unable to ride them for several years.
Gary was known as a kind, generous, and humble guy, who stressed the importance of honesty and “keeping your word.” He was a real prayer warrior, and had lists of people he prayed for
every day. He especially prayed for friends who did not know Jesus as Lord and Savior, that they would become believers, and he saw that happen for several people. He had a special heart for
combat veterans of all ages, and arranged meals and hired musicians to entertain groups of veterans; as well as taking individual veterans out to meals, or inviting them to the house. He also made a point of purchasing meals for men and women in uniform (military, police, or firemen) that he saw eating at one of his favorite restaurants. He always made a point of learning waitress’ names and making friends with them, and inviting them to the house to swim or fish.
Gary is survived by his brother Nick Chastain and sister Dorothy Chastain; his wife, Patty; sons Terry and Joshua Cook; daughters Cecily Chastain and Summer (Chastain) Hilliard; and 8 grandchildren: McKinley Cook, Sierra Cook, Logan Cook, Saige Cook, Braden Cook, Devon Hilliard, Brooke Hilliard, and Kaitlyn Pebley; as well as several cousins nieces, and nephews.
If you decide to honor him with a donation, please consider the Wounded Warrior Project at
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