Gary Lee McCarty worked for Northwest Airlines

Gary Lee McCarty, age 84, of Santa Ana, California, went home to be with Jesus on December 20, 2021 after an extended illness.

Gary was born in Bluffton, Ohio to the late Daniel and Ruby McCarty. He grew up on a farm in Beaverdam, Ohio where he graduated from high school in 1955. After high school, Gary served in the Army until his honorable discharge.

Having always loved airplanes, he chose to go to school to learn how to work in the airline industry. He secured his first job with Bonanza Airlines in El Centro, California in 1960. Since he was moving out of state, he called the love of his life, Ann McCarty, to see if she wanted to join him. They were married in less than 10 days and drove across the country to start their new life together in California where he lived out the rest of his days. (With frequent trips back to Ohio to visit with family and friends.) Gary retired from Northwest Airlines after 40 years of employment.

Gary was “one of the good guys”. Always kind, fair and concerned for others.

He loved airplanes, traveling and gardening, but most of all his family. He often took vacations with his wife Ann and they saw many countries (perks of working for the airlines). He instilled his love of adventure in his children and made sure they all visited at least one foreign country to see how others lived. He passed on his love of watching things grow in the dirt to his children and grandchildren, who continue to till his garden to this day.

Once grandchildren came along, he could often be found on the soccer, basketball and baseball fields watching them play and umpiring games. He even cheered on athletes who weren’t his own children by traveling with the Valley High School sports teams and the BIOLA running teams, becoming the adopted “grandpa” to many athletes.

Gary’s last act of service came after his death, as he chose to do whole body donation so that others could learn from his body and do research.

Gary is survived by his wife of 61 years, Mary Ann McCarty; children Douglas McCarty, Debbie (Buzz) Bolton, Darlene (Darryl) Taylor and Dawn (Ted) Lonnberg; brother Dennis McCarty; and many cousins, nieces and nephews. He is also survived by seven grandchildren: Jonathan Perez, Erika (Perez) McKinney, Michelle (Perez) Rourke, Kaitlyn (Lonnberg) Threlfall, Sarah Lonnberg, Nikki Lonnberg and Cormac McCarty; as well as seven great grandchildren: Lillian Perez, Keane Rourke, Olivia McKinney, Levi McKinney, Kristina Threlfall, Jamison Threlfall and Truitt Threlfall.

He was preceded in death this past summer by grandson Jerrell Williams, whom he greatly missed.

Memorial services for Gary McCarty were held Saturday, January 15, 2022 at Grace Church of Orange. 2201 E Fairhaven Ave, Orange, California 92869. Services can be viewed at

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