Passing of Gary Wilford

It is with great sadness that I let everyone know that Gary Wilford passed away early in the morning of March 6th after suffering a massive stroke on March 3rd.

Gary and Ferne were from Kamloops, Canada and have been in Grand about 6 to 8 years and playing pickleball all that time.

Gary had collected antique guns and they had participated in reenactments over weekends where they camped out, cooked over an open fire in cast iron cookware, and dressed in period clothes. They also enjoyed snowmobiling during the winter and motorcycling in the warmer weather.

Ferne noticed Gary was not responding after lunch on Friday. Ferne reached out to her neighbor to come over and the neighbor’s handyman (a paramedic) also came to look at Gary and determined Gary was having or had a stroke and advised Ferne to call 911 which she did, and Gary was taken to Del Webb. At Del Webb it was determined that Gary had to be airlifted to Banner University Medical Center. Gary had tests and surgery, and on Sunday he had more tests and it was determined that he’d had a massive stroke and would not recover. Ferne was advised to have him in Hospice which she did, and he passed away at 12:45 a.m. Tuesday morning. He was cremated and did not want a service.

Gary was always a fixture on the courts, whether he was playing or not. He engaged everyone in conversation with a kind word and asking how we all were doing.

There will not be a memorial or service per Gary’s request, but his wife Ferne would appreciate visits to their home. Please take a moment or two to remember Gary and keep Fern in your thoughts as well.

It’s at times like these, that we as club members and friends need to come together to help one another get through life’s tough times. Gary will truly be missed by everyone he came in contact with.

Below is information from those wishing to help. Please support them in this.

Linda Durkee is collecting donations on behalf of the Wilford’s. Linda will be collecting funds from her Pickleball group as well as will Leni with their other Pickleball and Grand Stitcher friends.

Please let people know to contact Linda to provide donations (email Linda) OR she will be accepting donations at the Pickleball Courts on Sunday, March 11th between Noon – 2:00pm. They can also send their contribution and card directly to Ferne Wilford, 16324 W. Salado Creek Dr., Surprise, AZ 85387.


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