This version of Gary really begins while he was in a coma in November of 2002. The short story is that a small part of his intestine burst in his abdomen, which led to a massive infection, which led to him going into septic shock, then ARDS. Either condition is horrible, and many who have both don’t make it. No one was sure he would.
While Gary was in a coma, he recalls vividly his vision of meeting a rabbi while he lay on a stone slab. The rabbi was asking, “why do you need to go back?” My Dad remembers needing to ask/plead/convince that he had to go back. The story of Gary does not end here. He came out of his coma, beat the prognosis of the PT team, and walked through his front door of his house before Thanksgiving.
When asked in the summer of ’20 about his happiest times in life, he simply said “every day since 2002”. Almost dying absolutely changed Gary. After the transition of version five, he was fully ready for version six.
His final career move got him out of the house at a full-time position at Medica, where he would work full time from 2003 to 2016 and part time up until the fall of 2020. Larry Bussey, who Gary met through freelance work, was the catalyst for getting him the job. Medica was really good for Gary; he was truly happy there and they genuinely respected his unique skill set, from the CEO on down. He was always grateful for Larry’s support.
2002 was the last year both of Gary’s sons would live in Minnesota, with Nate moving to Des Moines and Josh to Chicago. Josh would return in 2006 and rekindle with Gary their shared loved of baseball. They would go on to attend more than three hundred Minnesota Twins games together over the next 15 years. Gary proved to be the perfect date for trying out new restaurants downtown and pre/post game drinks.
The Grandpa Years
At the start of 2004, Gary became a grandfather for the first time. The picture at the top of this page is him with his first grandchild, Ian. He would go on to have four more grandchildren of which he adored with all his heart: Cameron, Hope, Maxwell, and Wesley.
Version 6.0 of Gary Reagen was such a wonderful grandfather and we were all so thankful for it. He spent so much time with them, took 1,000’s of photos, went on trips, played games, played trucks, played anything…just to be with them. How can we possibly sum this time up? Plus, seeing my Dad be such a good Grandfather was wonderful. And yes, if you’re wondering – he spoiled his grandchildren at Christmas time.
“Grandpa” always enjoyed a good joke too. This page is some of the jokes we shared with him as they all got a kick out of how much grandpa would get to laughing.
These years were full of happy memories for him. He was living a life of gratitude and spending time with those he loved. We can’t put all these memories into words. Instead, let’s let some of the photos below speak for themselves.