Gary Allen Chavenson
After a valiant 15-month battle with ALS, Gary Allen Chavenson is at peace. His journey through this life ended on June 17, 2021.
Gary is predeceased by his mother, Elsie; and his father, Abraham Chavenson. He is survived by his wife, Delma Chavenson; his two brothers, Myles and his wife Mary and Mark and his wife Fran; her children, Kimberly and her husband Keith Myers, Heather and her husband John Mimm, Justina and her husband Anthony Hevener, Denise and her husband Brad Adcock and Joel Morales; eight grandchildren, Baylor, Kennedy, Cheyann, Blake, James, Jonathan, Jessica and Connor; and two great-grandchildren, Caden and Carter.
Gary grew up in Philadelphia with his mother, father and two brothers in a traditional family. He celebrated his bar mitzvah at age 13, steeped in Jewish faith and tradition. They have made many trips to the family beach house in Atlantic City. Gary had an appetite for reading and learning. After graduating from the first class of George Washington High School, Gary attended Saint Joseph University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1974.
Gary then left the east coast and ventured south to San Antonio where he continued his education and obtained many other degrees and certifications. He obtained an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science in Computer Programming from San Antonio College in 1977, a Masters in Computer and Information Science from Trinity University in 1983, became a Certified Public Accountant in 1989, graduated a second master’s degree from St. Mary’s University in Business Administration in 1992 and obtained his Chartered Financial Advisor and Chartered Life Underwriter designations from American College in 1997 and 1998, respectively.
In San Antonio he started working with USAA and there he found his life’s work. At the USAA, Gary flourished and founded a second family. Gary has worked tirelessly to support the mission of USAA and to contribute to the many projects and strategies he has supported over his 41-year career. During his tenure at USAA, he became a revered colleague to many, a mentor to all, and an inspiration to all who had the pleasure of working with him. For many years, he even volunteered as president of “Christmas Cheer,” which was the USAA’s annual project to provide Christmas parties and gifts to the elderly and underprivileged children.
Gary also had a passion for fitness. In 1981 he ran the New York Marathon, competed in numerous Beach to Bay and Las Colonias marathons, and was even an Olympic torch runner in 1993. He always challenged himself to learn. and grow up to even include weight lifting and learning to play the guitar.
Due to his love of fitness and his ongoing activity, he was meticulous in his gardening and maintenance around the house. He even tagged his tools in the garage so he always knew if anyone had moved a hammer. To stay active, Gary joined USAA sports teams. Gary has made connections through all of his activities with people who have enriched his life and he theirs.
One of those connections was with a girl on his softball team. In the USAA office, Delma arrived at her office one day and Gary recognized her among his team and asked, “Can I buy you a Coke?” They went to break up together, and that day began a 15-year love affair, then a 26-year marriage that tied their lives together for 41 years.
In addition to raising his daughter, Kimberly, as a single father, Gary entered the life of Delma’s daughter and son. Gary made no distinction between his daughter and Delma’s children. He attended every activity and showed them love and acceptance; he became an exemplary role model and became the father he didn’t have to be. Along the way, Gary found his way into the heart of a third family, the big and noisy Hispanic family of Delma. Year after year Gary has found himself attending football and tennis games, dance recitals, plays, concerts, family dinners, Christmas parties and more. Gary became honorary Hispanic.
Gary’s life-changing relationships at USAA include countless colleagues who have become true friends. Three of those friends, Hans Heimanjs, Rick Moore and Newton Miranda, became cycling friends who forged a lasting bond with Gary. They covered 10 to 60 miles per trip almost every week. Many rides took them to Boerne where they stopped at the Bear Moon Bakery and Cafe to eat a “Danish”. Although they no longer drove, they continued to visit Gary and he looked forward to the visits.
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has limited visits and practical help, Delma’s children, Denise, and her husband, Brad; their daughters Baylor and Kennedy; Delma’s son, Joël; Delma’s sister, Sharon, and her daughter, Jillian; Gary’s daughter, Kimberly, and her husband Keith; as well as countless neighbors have been there and helped Delma through this time to lift Gary’s spirits… as well as literally. This army of family, friends and neighbors helped him by being available at all times, giving him massages, mowing the lawn, delivering groceries, dropping off food, doing laundry, taking care of the maintenance of the house and much more. These angels will never be forgotten.
Gary and Delma have created a life together filled with activities, adventures, accomplishments… and purple. For Gary, there was only one color on the spectrum and it was purple. Purple is appropriate to signify a life well lived; it is the color of royalty, nobility, strength and determination.
During this life well lived together, Delma and Gary were the first to visit loved ones in the hospital, help anyone in need of a helping hand, spend hours volunteering and to travel the country through Europe and Singapore. In short, a Jewish boy from the east coast carved out a noble life in San Antonio, steeped in family, service and love.
A visitation and celebration of life will take place on Friday, June 25, 2021 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Ebensberger-Fisher Funeral Home. As a tribute to Gary, the family invites you to wear their favorite color purple. After the service, you are invited to cross the street to Richter’s floor.
If chosen, donations in Gary’s memory can be made to the Texas Chapter of the ALS Association by mail at 4939 De Zavala, Ste. 105, San Antonio, TX 78249 or online at https://www.alstexas.org/donate/.
To offer our condolences to the family and view a video of Gary’s life, please visit www.ebensberger-fisher.com. Arrangements with the Ebensberger-Fisher funeral home in Boerne.