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Gary VanDevenVANDEVEN

Gary VanDeven of Kalkaska, MI passed away in his sleep peacefully, yet unexpectedly, on June 22, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Born in Detroit to Betty and Robert VanDeven in 1952, he spent his childhood in Birmingham, Michigan. He graduated from Seaholm High School in 1971 and Northern Michigan University in 1975. Gary spent most of his life in Chicago.  He worked at Morrie Mages Sports, FedEx and spent 31 years as the Service Manager at Viking Ski & Snowboard Shop. He was honored to be a member of the Chicago Fire Department, Engine 39 until he retired in 2015.  After retirement he returned to Michigan to ski, sail, fish and enjoy his many great nieces and nephews. He was unable to stay away from a “ski shop” and worked part time at Don Orr Ski Haus in Traverse City. Always a thrill seeker, Gary traveled around the world fulfilling his dreams. His biggest passions were downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and sailing.  He skied the Midwest, took yearly trips to the Rockies and spent last Christmas CAT-skiing in Canada. Gary was a proud member of the Birchleggings Club, competing for 30+ consecutive years at the “Birkie” cross-country ski race.  He truly loved getting out on his sailboat.  Thru all of these adventures and careers Gary has touched and shared the lives of many special people. He enjoyed being around people and was always there to help, support and most of all, laugh with those he loved! Gary is survived by his mother, Betty VanDeven of Dunnellon, Florida; sister Mary (Jim) Lake of Traverse City, MI; nieces Megan (Pat) McCarren of Traverse City, MI; and Julia (Jeff) Jones of White Lake, MI; nephew Matthew (Kelly) Lake of Hanover Park, IL; and 7 great nieces and nephews: Caitlyn, Hailey, Ryan, Benjamin, Connor, McKenzie, and Zachariah.  Gary is also survived by his ‘Chicago family:’ friends MaryAnne & Aaron Newman along with their children, Kate & Paxton. He’ll be greatly missed by his ‘Colorado family:’ friends Bonnie & Dennis Havlik and John Quinn; as well as his Fire Department comrades, Ski Shop colleagues, skiing and sailing buddies. He leaves a hole in our hearts and will forever be remembered with a smile.  He was preceded in death by his father, Robert VanDeven; his paternal grandparents Elmore & Marie VanDeven; and maternal grandparents Dwight & Bessie Coy.  A celebration of life will be held from 12 noon to 3 pm on Saturday, July 27 at The Firehouse Grill, at 750 Chicago Avenue in Evanston, Illinois. Please bring your best stories/memories of Gary to share.  Those wishing to make a donation in honor of Gary please use the charity of your choice.