Brooklyn- Gary Stephenson, age 82, took flight to a better place on Monday, June 7, 2021. He was born in Ashland, WI on June 4, 1939 to Thomas and Eleanor (Mockler) Stephenson. At age 2, they moved to Lake Delton, WI where he spent his childhood and teen-age years. Gary graduated from Wisconsin Dells High School in 1957 and left two days later for Great Lakes Naval Training Center. He was only 17 when he enlisted so joined under a program called the Kiddie Cruise. Gary loved the Navy and was lucky enough to travel around the world one and a half times aboard the USS Essex. He was also smart enough to tour the ports he stopped in and enjoy the local foods. After three years in the Navy, he enjoyed a variety of jobs including painting towers all over the country, bar tending, working in a gas station, and finally the railroad. Gary worked for the Milwaukee Road, which became the Canadian Pacific, for 30 years. He was also a volunteer fireman for the Lake Delton Fire Dept. and later for over 20 years for the Brooklyn Fire Dept.
He married Ila Henriksen on July 16, 1966 at the Brooklyn Methodist Church. They moved to Brooklyn in 1967 and remained members of the community until 2009 when they sold their house and became “full timers” in the RV world. Over the years they traveled to Alaska, Glacier National Park, Idaho, Nevada, California, New York, etc. Their trip of a lifetime was to London, England with Gary’s sisters. They spent over 20 years as Snow Birds in Homestead, FL where they made many friends and each year was like “going home” when everyone started arriving for the season.
Gary was known by all the kids in Brooklyn because he had an inground swimming pool and held open swimming for kids from 2pm-4pm in the afternoons. He did have a few rules- no smoking, no swearing, and no picking on other kids. A few got reprimanded but soon learned if you want to swim you follow the rules.
Gary is survived by his wife, Ila; children, Steve (Barb) Stephenson of Janesville, Chris (Saraj) Stephenson of Janesville, Cort (Kristy) Stephenson of Las Vegas, Becky Tourdot of Brooklyn, Cara (Loran) Klitzman of Brooklyn, and bonus daughter, Cari (Tod) Enger of Edgerton; 14 grandchildren, Adam Stephenson, Mathew (Adria) Stephenson, Kayla Klitzman, Jackson Stephenson, Samantha Stephenson, Jacob Stephenson, Daniel Tourdot, Kelsey Klitzman, Johanna Stephenson, Breyley Stephenson, Anthony Stephenson, Johnny Stephenson, Jaimee Stephenson and Sam Enger; step-granddaughters, Kari (Doug) Reuter, Jessy (Aaron) Spencer, and Katie Steig; to complete the family there are five great grandchildren, Aiden and Noah Reuter, Preston Steig, and Alex and Addison Stephenson; three sisters, Carol (Jim) Jax of Idaho, Linda Stephenson of Madison, and Kathy (Gary) Jacob of New York; sisters-in-law, Cleo Tilley of Brooklyn, and Vera Henriksen of Rice Lake; brother-in-law, Stewart (Terri) Henriksen of Kentucky; and many nieces and nephews.
Memorial services will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, June 12, 2021 at Brooklyn Community United Methodist Church, 201 Church Street, with Pastor Michael Hammond officiating. Military honors will follow. Friends and relatives are invited to a luncheon, following the services, at the church. Friends may greet the family from 10:00 AM until the time of service Saturday at church. Memorials may be made to Brooklyn Fire Dept. or Brooklyn EMS.
Please share your memories of Gary by posting on his Tribute Wall.
Cress Funeral Service
206 W. Prospect Street, PO Box 231, Stoughton
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