Gary Dean Manson, 61, of Dawson, Illinois, passed away April 22, 2022. He was born May 2, 1960, to Ronald and Joanne Manson.
Gary was a free spirit who lived life on his own terms. As a young man, he loved sunny days on his Harley Davidson with the wind blowing through his mullet and country music blasting on the radio. He often could be found working under the hood of a car or on a motorcycle trip with his buddies.
Gary was a survivor. I didn’t believe in limits. In his early 30’s he was in a traumatic accident that almost took his life from him but, against the odds, he survived. He lost his leg, but with grit and tenacity, he went on to own several different businesses, traveling the country and making an impression everywhere he went.
As a father, he would take his kids on epic road-trips: from Illinois to Graceland, Yellowstone Park, Mount Rushmore, Bear Country USA, Disney World, New York, Vegas, New Orleans and so many more. No state was too far for an adventure with his kids from him. I have loved holiday traditions with them that included homemade meals and plenty of gifts. I have saved every school-made ornament and made sure to cover the Christmas tree with all of them. As an avid NASCAR fan, it only made sense that he would get his kids involved in racing.
Being a dad was what he was most proud of…until he became a grandpa. His grandbabies of him were his entire life of him. He built traditions of going to the Illinois State Fair and riding every ride they had, camping (which involved multiple candy bars for a s’mores buffet), epic movie nights and pool parties. He went all out on craft nights, all of the best candies and ice creams were always stocked, and the biggest bear hugs were always available and bedtime was only optional. He had a special relationship with each of the grandkids. Trips to Walmart with the kids his electric wheelchair were a favorite and he never said “no” to letting them pick steering something out. Grandpa only asked for “the gift of time”. These little moments of time were his favorite moments of him.
His home was home to many. He invited everyone in and if they didn’t have a place to go for a holiday, they were welcome at his table from him. Around his table from him were many late-night conversations during card games and puzzles. You were sure to laugh, cry or get in a heated conversation about the rules of Phase 10. He loved him deeply and was always there for his people when it really mattered most.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Ronald and Joanne Manson; and his daughter Amanda Burris. He is survived by his children, Sarah (Peter) Garcia and Nathan (Ashleigh) Manson; and his grandchildren, Michael, PJ, Skylar, Kinsleigh, Elias, Annaleigh and Alyssa. He is also survived by his younger sister, Dianna, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Per Gary’s request, no services will be held.