Tuesday, July 30, 2019

My Uncle Gary

Gary Steve Meckler, February 12, 1951–July 24, 2019
Photo: Hot August Nights, Reno, Nevada, August 12, 2018

Last week, on July 24, my aunt called me to let me know that my uncle Gary had died that day.  He had been ill for some time, more than he had let on.

My mother was the oldest child, so both of her brothers were younger than she was.  Gary was the younger of the two, born seven years after his older brother and eleven years after my mother.  I asked my grandmother about that age gap once, and she admitted that Gary had been a little bit of a "surprise."

Gary's Hebrew names were Gershon Sholem.  Gershon was for his father's maternal grandfather (my great-great-grandfather), Gershon Itzhak Nowicki (Novitsky here in the United States).  Sholem is more complicated.  That was for his mother's sister-in-law's mother, Scheindel.

These are a few of my favorite memories of Gary.

My mother was close to her family, so my siblings and I grew up knowing her side of the family well.  Gary visited us several times while we lived in California.  He was kind of like an older brother for my brother, my sister, and me because the age difference wasn't that big.  He taught us to eat ketchup on our scrambled eggs and gave us the phrase, "You don't cheat fair!"

Gary even visited us while we lived in Australia.  He brought us a present, a book titled 101 Alphabets.  It was mostly alphabets in different fonts and styles, but one of the examples was the Greek alphabet.  So I learned the Greek alphabet when I was 10, because I thought it was pretty cool, and because my uncle gave us the book.  I think I still have the book.

One of my favorite photos of Gary is from when he was stationed in Vietnam with the U.S. Army.  I love snakes, and I still think this is a fantastic photo.  I don't know if Gary had a copy of this of his own, because when I posted it on my blog several years ago, he saved my digital copy and posted it to his Facebook page.

We will all miss Gary very much.


  1. Wonderful memories. Wonderful read. Sorry he is gone. ­čĺÉ

  2. I just heard of Gary’s passing - my heart is broken, I worked at the facility where he was getting treatment, but left at the end of April. I never got to say good bye to Gary because he was in the hospital. My loss - For the couple of years I knew him - he had a special heart, he was so very kind, He always made a point to stop and say hello and good bye, and ask how my weekend was - a very caring man. He will be missed - so sorry for your loss.

    1. Thank you so much for writing, Teri. It's nice to learn how he touched people's lives.

  3. Hi Janice. My name is Joan Gottlieb Rusk. I am so sorry to hear about Gary. We had been out of touch for quite sometime until Aunt Lily became ill. My mom and dad are Julia and David Gottlieb who were very close to your grandparents. Gary and I kept in touch through email and facebook. I hadn't seen any posts since he was last in the hospital, and he always posted on Veterans Day. I mentioned this to my daughter who was able to find the information you posted about Gary's passing. My family and I send our condolences.
    All the best,

    1. Hi, Joan,

      Thank you very much for writing. I appreciate your thoughts.

      I remember your parents well. Sometimes when I visited my grandmother I would drive her over to see them. I remember your name, but I'm not sure we ever met. I'm glad your daughter was able to find my blog.



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