NATURAL BRIDGE, NY – Gary Delbert LaVancha, 79, of Strong Road, Natural Bridge, died on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, at Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown, due to complications of pneumonia.
He was born a twin on April 3, 1941, in Harrisville, NY, a son of the late Delbert “Tom” and Ruby (Thomas) LaVancha.
He and his brother Gerry were the first set of twins ever delivered by Dr. Eckelman at the time.
He attended Harrisville Central School and in 1959 enlisted in the United States Army, serving as a Medic at the 97th General Hospital in Frankfurt, Germany, until 1962.
On Oct. 3, 1964, he married Sally J. Murdock in Natural Bridge. The couple had two daughters, Ronda (LaVancha) Curtis and Renee LaVancha and later came two grandchildren, Nicole and Kyle Curtis. Recently he connected with a son, Kevin Gates who is married and has three daughters and four grandchildren.
Over the years Gary worked for General Sign Co. of Carthage as well as E.C. Crooks Memorial Corporation. Later, he started his own neon sign and monument lettering businesses.
He also worked at Kraft Foods, Tree Preservation, and the Department of Public Works on Fort Drum, doing snow removal down post and for the Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield.
Gary was a former member of the Natural Bridge Fire Department and the Carthage Elks Club #1752. He had many interests including playing the guitar, harmonica, singing and participating in the North Country Four and the Cross-Country Beat bands.
He also enjoyed hunting, fishing and stock car racing.
He was a self-taught handyman who over the years enjoyed entertaining his family and friends with many special songs and stories.
Survivors include his loving wife of 56 years, Sally; his children, Ronda Curtis of Canton; Renee LaVancha of Pennsylvania; and Kevin (Tammy) Gates of Carthage; sisters, Eudora Marshall; Nadine (Charlie) Richards; Cherry LaVancha; and Penny (Roger) LaFave; a sister-in-law, Marie LaVancha; and several grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his parents Delbert “Tom” and Ruby LaVancha; a sister, Judy (Marty) Norris; his twin brother, Gerry LaVancha; and a brother-in-law, Pat Marshall.
Due to the increasing rates of COVID-19, a Celebration of Life gathering will be postponed until Spring. Burial with Military Honors will be held at a later date in Hillside Cemetery, Natural Bridge.
Memorial donations in Gary’s memory can be made to the Natural Bridge Fire Department at 27570 High St., Natural Bridge, NY 13665.
Arrangements are with Lundy Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Inc.
Condolences can be made online at www.lundyfuneralhome.com.