Gary DeShazo, age 89, died Sunday April 14 at his home in Abilene, TX.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, April 18 at 3:00 in the First Baptist Church sanctuary, officiated by Phil Christopher.
Gary’s wishes were to be cremated. His ashes will be spread at a later date at the family ranch and also in the Blanco Basin outside of Pagosa Springs, CO.
Gary was born June 10, 1929 in Pampa, TX to Mary and Homer DeShazo. He moved to Kermit, TX as a boy for his father to follow the drilling in the West Texas oil fields. Gary graduated from Kermit High School, played football briefly at Sul Ross University, and eventually ended up at Hardin Simmons. At Hardin Simmons, Gary was a member of the Cowboy Band, an organization he loved and supported until his death.
Gary also served his country during the Korean War, and was recruited during basic training to be a member of the Counter Intelligence Corp.
After the war, Gary returned to Kermit where he married childhood friend, Joy Storey DeShazo. Gary and Joy were married 61 years before her death in 2015.
Joy and Gary moved to Abilene in 1959 where they owned and operated Caldwell Music Company for many years. Gary was a musician at heart who faithfully attended area school band concerts, UIL contest and marching contests as recently as last year. He was a constant encourager to band directors of schools all over West Texas and was instrumental in helping many young people develop a love for music.
Gary served on many community boards throughout his career, but his main focus has always been the Hardin Simmons World Famous Cowboy Band. Gary helped start the Cowboy Band Foundation which will benefit the band for many years to come. In 1976 as a part of the Abilene Bicentennial year celebration, Gary co-founded the Abilene Community Band. What was meant to be a one time performance band is still thriving and performing more than 40 years later.
Welcoming Gary into heaven is his wife Joy, his parents, a host of beloved friends and family and his beloved dog Rusty. Surviving family is daughter Donna Schnitman and husband Paul; son Gil DeShazo and wife Holly all of Abilene, a sister Greta Tidwell and husband Nolan of Richardson and many nieces and nephews. Grandpa was dearly loved by his four grandchildren: Amy Schnitman Cochran and husband JR, Kyle Schnitman and girlfriend Beatrice Avila, Storey DeShazo and Chase DeShazo.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made in Gary’s memory to the Gary DeShazo Endowed Cowboy Band Scholarship. Online giving is: connect.hsutx.edu/donate. Mailing address is: Gary DeShazo Memorial HSU Box 16100 Abilene, TX 79698
The family first began in the funeral business in 1933. The Hamil's legacy, beginning with the Elliott's to John and Jo Ann Hamil and now continuing with Robert and Karla Hamil, is to serve families in their time of need.