A Tribute to Gary Stephenson

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Gary Stephenson left this life on Feb. 17, 2016. He was born in San Francisco, Calfornia on Sept. 19, 1940 to Fredrick and Margie Stephenson.

Gary had a fascinating life. As a child, he never liked school much, and often skipped to “go fishing.” He made a deal with his father that if he could just quit school, he would join the service when he turned 17. So when Gary turned 17, he entered the Marines. He earned his GED in the service.

Gary married early in his life (and often) and quickly found himself raising four kids and later adopting three more. Gary had “gypsy” in his blood, and even though he was the youngest person to be given a gun license in California to open a gun store, he desired to move to Nevada. He sold his gun store and up and moved. And moved again to South Dakota, Wyoming, Arizona and then to Colorado. Gary’s passion was Western and Indian history. He grew a vast collection of artifacts from both cultures. He learned the art of “selling and trading” and was admired by collectors in several states with his knowledge.

Gary kept busy building Western towns and museums and prided himself on the authenticity of everything. He was a storyteller who could keep us spellbound for hours on end with his adventures and mysteries. Gary knew everything about politics and history and lots about science. He could talk about most any subject, but the adventures of the “West” were his main love. He was always looking for a “good trade” to better his collections or to “trade” for something different to sell. He worked only for himself, and loved being his own boss.

Gary was a gambler and loved the casinos. He moved to Cripple Creek in 2010 and quickly turned the yard into a mining display. Gary made me laugh and sometimes he’d make me cry. But he was never boring. He was in pain from the childhood disease, “Polo,” but complained very little, which is the reason he donated his body to Science Care of Colorado. His hope was to find a reason, as to why Polo returned to so many Polo victims at an old age.

Gary was unique. God threw the mold when He made Gary. He will be missed by all who had the pleasure to know him.

Written in love by his longtime friend and caregiver
Joyce Smith
Cripple Creek