Gary Lee McGraw
5/17/1968 – 1/12/2022
In memory of a life beautifully lived & a heart deeply loved
Gary left us far too early and he is missed every day. Let me share some of his life and how we came to love him so.
Born into a large Irish-Catholic family, (not only in number, but also in physicality - these McGraws are giants!) Gary prided himself on being the third generation of McGraws raised in Hailey, Idaho. His mother, Patricia McGraw, loved her only child deeply and purposed to raise him right. He had several life-long friendships, many of which were forged during his school days. While attending Wood River High School, he participated in band and lettered in both basketball and football and graduating in 1986. His real passion, however, was fostered by his uncles. Their stories of years spent in the armed forces lit a fire for aircraft in Gary’s soul. After graduation, he set off for flight school in Greely, CO where he earned the right to pilot both commercial helicopters and single-engine airplanes. For a time, he fulfilled his love of flying by working for an agricultural service company in Washington state before family needs called him back to the Valley. He continued to share his love of all things flight with his kids and grandkids. They especially loved building and launching rockets with him.
Because his own father was not around while growing up, Gary was fiercely determined to be a good dad to his own children. Along the way, he was a fatherly influence to and loved five stepchildren as well. When the first grandbaby came along in 2006, Gary said he was not ready to be called grandpa and so he chose the name we love the most - GG - short for Grandpa Gary. Being GG to many grandkids was a true joy to Gary. Mostly because he remained a kid at heart.
Gary loved to serve others - his family and his community. He considered it an honor to spend 17 years with the Hailey Volunteer Fire Department, completing the role of Training Captain during this period as well as EMT responsibilities. Committed to being a valuable team member, Gary pursued certification by the National Fire Academy in both Incident Command and Swift Water Rescue. Anyone who wanted or needed training, he was more than willing to teach.
Gary held many jobs through the years and referred to himself as a Jack-of-All-Trades, Master-of-None. Few people know the full adage - which describes him well: “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” He loved being generous and would often buy items for those in line behind him at the convenience store. His philosophy was “the greatest gift in life is seeing those you love happy”.
It is a great tragedy that cancer stole him from us after only 53 years of life. Those of us who are left behind have a hole that can never be mended nor filled by anyone.
Gary goes on to be with his mother, Pat and stepson, Levi Stinnett. He leaves behind his wife Lisa who loved him deeply, as well as his children, Felicity (Clayton) Mayhew, Chauncey (Meg) McGraw, Heaven (Tobin) Walton, and Purity (Rodger) Braun; grandchildren Zoey, Kash, Justice, Luke and Kloe Mayhew; Tyler Shipley and Bennett Monroe; Edison, Hudson, and Levi Walton; Dayton, Kobie, and Gemma Braun; and little McGraw boy on the way.
A celebration of Gary's life will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, June 3, 2022, at St Charles Church, 311 S. 1st Ave in Hailey. Arrangements are under the care of Wood River Chapel of Hailey.