Celebrating the Life of Gary DeVercelly, Jr.

"I may be away but my heart beats in Long Beach...5 6 deuce for life." "     - Gary D.


MODIFIED 6/5/2018 7:25 AM PST - - - ADDED NEW LINK TO "DATELINE - THE COLLEGE FRATERNITY CRISIS"


"DATELINE - THE COLLEGE FRATERNITY CRISIS"

DATELINE aired a very important and educational documentary on Sunday, June 3rd called "The College Fraternity Crisis", which features Julie and Gary along with 14 other parents who have suffered similiar senseless loss as a result of fraternity hazing.

If you missed it, or want to watch it again... we have the link here for you to access the Dateline show.

CLICK HERE to view the documentary THE COLLEGE FRATERNITY CRISIS!

Love,

The DeVercelly’s - Gary, Julie, Emily, Noah,.....and Gary "Big Lefty"

G4D


"WE DON'T HAZE"

Our documentary, "We Don't Haze" has been shown to high school students across the country as well as college students. The more awareness we can raise before college, the better chance we have of changing the culture of hazing.

CLICK HERE to view the documentary WE DON'T HAZE!

Love,

The DeVercelly’s - Gary, Julie, Emily, Noah,.....and Gary "Big Lefty"

G4D


REMEMBERING GARY IN 2010

Please join us on any of the following dates and times, as we remember Gary for the way he lived!

Sunday March 28th, 2010
1:00-3:30 at Whaley to watch Noah’s team, the Ray’s play the Astros
5:00-8:30 at the DeVercelly’s for Carne Asada

Tuesday March 30th
3:15-4:45 at El Dorado field 5 to watch Emily and the JV Wilson softball team play Millikan
7:00-9:30 at Whaley to watch Noah and the Ray’s play the Astros

It’s hard to believe it’s been three years since we had to say good-bye, for now; to a much loved and cherished son, brother, and friend.

Your thoughts, prayers, love, and support continue to be a blessing to us; as we learn to live without Gary in our lives.

Love,

The DeVercelly’s - Gary, Julie, Emily, Noah,.....Gary "Big Lefty"

G4D


GARY WOULD BE TURNING 21 ON SEPT. 4, 2009
WAYS TO REMEMBER HIM ON HIS 21st BIRTHDAY AND HONOR HIS MEMORY

Rather than alcohol:

  • Watch Noah’s first high school football game at Wilson at 3:30 on the 4th
  • Watch or play a baseball game
  • A breakfast burrito at Nick’s
  • A fish taco (Taco surf, Del Taco, or Rubios)
  • Sushi (Sushi Studio, Nikko Nikko’s, Mahi’s were his favorites)
  • Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles
  • In-N-Outs Double double animal style, fries and a strawberry milk shake
  • A bon fire at the beach, if you’re local at Bolsa Chica
  • A cupcake or cheese whiz food fight
  • Pizza
  • Carne Asada
  • Strawberry lemonade
  • Dr. Pepper
  • Root Beer
Reflect on good times you had with Gary and cherish those memories,

The DeVercelly’s - Gary, Julie, Emily, and Noah

G4D


MARCH 29th GATHERING AT WHALEY PARK - IN HONOR OF GARY JR.

Please join us Sunday March 29, 2009 at Whaley Park at 4:00 P.M. to remember Gary, as we approach the two year anniversary of his passing. We were hoping to have another gathering at our home, but Emily and Noah's game schedules don't allow it. After thinking it through, it makes perfect sense to gather at the ballpark and watch Noah play. That's what Gary would have done!

Thank you for your continued prayers, love, and support as we learn to live without Gary's presence.

Love,

Julie, Gary, Emily, and Noah
G4D



SERVICES for GARY DEVERCELLY, JR.


Sunday, April 8, 2007
Public Viewing in the Chapel

Forest Lawn Memorial Park - Long Beach
1500 E. San Antonio Drive
Long Beach, CA 90807
5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Monday, April 9, 2007
Funeral Service at 11:00 a.m.
Grace Bretheren Church

3601 Linden Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90807
(562) 595-6881

Burial following the service
Forest Lawn Memorial Park - Long Beach
1500 E. San Antonio Drive
Long Beach, CA 90807

Reception following the burial
Greek Orthodox Church

5761 E. Colorado Street
Long Beach, CA 90814
(562) 494-8929

Cards and Messages may be sent to:
The DeVercelly Family
4822 Boyar
Long Beach, CA 90807

Questions or concerns, please call:
Jennifer Coates (562) 494-1225 or
Marcia Reed (562) 427-7640.



A Memorial Fund has been
set up in Gary's memory


Make checks payable to:
DeVercelly Family Memorial Account
c/o Donna Niemann, Sr. V.P.
Charles Schwab Company
355 S. Grand Avenue Ste. 110
Los Angeles, CA 90071



LATEST NEWS AND INFORMATION

ANGELS ON OFFENSE - an expression of Gratitude....


We extend our sincere thanks to those families and friends who stepped up to the plate to hit a sacrifice, lovingly moving the DeVercelly family around the bases of sadness, to healing and recovery. Your generous donations of time, calls, visits, flowers, money, encouragement, and prayers have contributed to a victorious village of caring folks. The acts of kindness and support have been amazing. You all will be acknowledged at a later date, but in the meantime, we salute you all!

CARAVAN OF LOVE CONTINUES.....

Please remember the DeVercelly family in your thoughts and prayers. Although the memorial services are over, the relatives have traveled back home, and we have all gone back to our daily routines, the reality of dealing with the loss is starting to set in for Gary, Julie, Emily, and Noah.

We are so grateful to the many people who have been so generous and kind. You are still welcomed to stop by and share your kindness to help them get through this difficult time. We would like to continue the caravan of love with visits and dinners being donated.

If you are available to share dinner, please give Bridgett Brooks a call (562) 706-1820. There are several dates available to complete the month of April and your kindness will be well-received and greatly appreciated.

Thank you for caring and sharing.
Marcia Reed
4/17/07



Plaque posted at 'The Lake House' in memory of Gary DeVercelly Jr.

During a huddle before a game against Cabrillo High School at Blair Field, members of the Long Beach Wilson High School baseball team wear wrist bands with the number 4 and initials GD for former teammate Gary DeVercelly, 18, who died Friday March 30th after excessive drinking at a fraternity house in Trenton, New Jersey. The Mercer County Prosecutor's office is investigating his death as a possible hazing incident. (Stephen Carr / Press-Telegram)Members of Wilson High's baseball team bow their heads at Blair Field during a moment of silence for former teammate Gary DeVercelly Jr., 18, who died Friday after drinking excessively at a fraternity house in Trenton, N.J. (Stephen Carr / Press-Telegram)
A photo of former Wilson High School player Gary DeVercelly hangs above the Wilson dugout at Blair Field in memory of DeVercelly, 18, who died Friday March 30th after excessive drinking at a fraternity house in Trenton, New Jersey. The Mercer County Prosecutor's office is investigating his death as a possible hazing incident.





HEAVEN'S BASEBALL TEAM - written by Marcia Sidney-Reed


A Heartfelt Tribute in Loving Memory of my Ivory son, Gary DeVercelly, Jr.

God opened the pearly gates to welcome Gary home,
His time here on earth was for an eighteen year loan.
When he knocked on Heaven’s door, all the angels rejoiced,
They knew the Lord’s decision was a unique choice.

Gary, affectionately called “Gary D” flew away on a cloud,
His work was finished on Earth and good-byes were not allowed.
For those of us who loved him, it’s hard to understand,
Why the timing, why the calling, why Gary’s services were in demand?

God said, “I need a general manager for my angelic team.”
Gary answered the call, “Being a GM has always been my dream!
I have great experience coaching and cheering for others to succeed;
With “Lefty” calling the plays, the angelic team will lead.”

Gary can teach the angels how to pitch, catch, hit, throw, and run
The team will have a winning edge learning how to play and having fun.
Heaven’s team has a new leader who passed the heavenly test
When God called Gary, he chose one of his very best.

Gary had a special way of bringing out the best in others,
He was a true testimony of love as he wore the badge of brother.
The message to his parents, his family, and his friends:
“I am hanging out with the Savior and eternal life has no end.

Emily and Noah, please make dad and mom proud,
One day I will see you again and greet you on a cloud,
I have earned my angelic wings and I am watching from above,
I left a legacy of hope in all of the people that I love.

Play the game of life with a winning spirit and a giving heart
Don’t worry about me, Heaven’s ballpark is truly a work of art.
I have reached the ultimate game that will never, ever end
I am managing Heaven’s Baseball Team and God gave me a win!”

Thanks for the colorful memories.



FAMILY UPDATES AND INFORMATION

Angels, Inc.

The past few weeks have changed all of our lives in an unbelievable manner. We must face some brutal realities, but with the help of the dear Lord, we will get through our valley of despair.

You have all been angels in the infield, on defense, in the outfield, in the dugout, on the mound, in the batter's box, etc. You have been fabulous friends in the ball park of bereavement. In naming an "AllStar" team, you have unanimously earned a spot on the DeVercelly's dream team as a most valuable player.

My faith has increased and my belief in the good of mankind has been restored after witnessing the way everyone rolled up their sleeves, pooled all of their resources, and called a friend, who knew a friend, to help a friend in need. You stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam of support. I can not thank you enough on how everything came together in such an amazing fashion with the collective spark of friendship.

I am inspired, encouraged, and honored to be associated with such a fine group of loving people. You really blessed so many people with your kindness, thoughtfulness, and "can do" spirit.

My parents have always told me, "If you want to be great in God's kingdom, learn to be the servant of all." Well, I bow in humble adoration to all of you for displaying an incredible game plan of greatness.

Please don't hesitate to call me if I can be of service to you (310) 650-0047.

With love and gratitude,

Marcia Reed
4/23/07

"...I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth." Psalms 34:1

"The DeVercelly family is home safe and sound from Rider University. The memorial service was a wonderful celebration of love and appreciation reminiscing the fond memories of Gary D. Gary Jr.'s body came back to Long Beach on Monday evening. We are confident that he is in heaven pitching batting practice for the little angels.

The continuous prayers and genuine acts of kindness are keeping the family uplifted and encouraged that they will get through this challenging period in their lives. Family and friends are preparing to travel across country to share in the ministry of presence and condolence.

Please keep the DeVercelly family and all of their loved ones in your positive thoughts and prayers. We serve an awesome God who can bring peace in the midst of a storm. Let us all find solace in knowing that "earth has no sorrow that heaven can not heal."

In peace,
Marcia Reed
4/3/07

"Demonstrations of love are very small when compared to the great things that are behind them."

The DeVercelly Family will return from New Jersey on Sunday evening. Gary Sr., Julie, and the kids are encouraged by the many wonderful expressions of love. We would like to have families donate dinner for the family for the next few weeks. We will show our love even after the funeral services are completed. Our efforts will help the family get through this difficult time.

If you can prepare dinner for the family, please call Brigett Brooks at (562) 706-1820. She will let you know what dates are available. We are going to sign families up for every other day so we do not overwhelm the family.

The Wilson Softball team will sponsor the paper goods and soft drinks.

Please join us in our caravan of love. Thank you for your time and consideration.

With sympathy,
Marcia Reed
3/31/07


SPECIAL LINKS

- Gary DeVercelly's MySpace Page Link

- Gary DeVercelly (1998-2007) Memorial Website link

- Helping Teenagers Cope with Grief

- Two Choices - A thoughtful powerpoint presentation


RELATED NEWS LINKS

Statement from Gary DeVercelly's family
NJ.com - The Times - March 30, 2007 7:52PM

DeVercelly Sr.: `A single mistake does not define a man's life'
Long Beach Press Telegram - March 30, 2007 10:11:35 PM PST

Wilson graduate dies after binge drinking at fraternity
Long Beach Press Telegram - March 30, 2007 10:43:46 PM PST

Alcohol poisoning kills Rider freshman
NJ.com - The Times - March 31, 2007

Hour after passing out, 911 is called
NJ.com - The Times - April 1, 2007

400 pack chapel for memorial service
NJ.com - The Times - April 1, 2007

Rider probes use of alcohol
NJ.com - The Times - April 3, 2007

Mourning Gary
The Rider News - April 3, 2007

Mourners recall friend, son
Long Beach Press Telegram - April 9, 2007 10:32:48 PM PST

Student linked to fraternity booze
NJ.Com - The Times - April 13, 2007

Rider plans march for fallen frosh
NJ.Com - The Times - April 14, 2007

A sobering occasion
NJ.Com - The Times - April 24, 2007

Rider takes aaction to prevent alcohol abuse
Rider University - June 25, 2007

Rider Moves to Curb Campus Drinking
Boston.Com - June 26, 2007

5, Including Dean Of Students, Indicted In University Hazing Death
NBC10.com Philadelphia - August 3, 2007

5 charged in Rider drinking death
Philly.Com - August 3, 2007

5 Indicted in NJ Drinking Death
TheLedger.Com - August 3, 2007

5 Charged in Rider U. Drinking Death
6abc.Com - August 3, 2007

5 indicted in death of ex-Wilson student
LB Press-Telegram - August 4, 2007

Lawyer: Rider lax on frat houses
NJ.com - The Times - August 5, 2007

Attorney defends Rider charges
NJ.com - The Times - September 9, 2007

Rider students may avoid prison through pretrial intervention
Newsday.com - September 11, 2007

Prosecutor says he's sorry Rider administrators were indicted
Newsday.com - September 17, 2007

Editorial: Rules usher in era of responsibility
The Rider News - September 20, 2007

2 Rider students can avoid trial in hazing death
NJ.com - Central Jersey News - October 2, 2007

Students sentenced in hazing death
Packet Online for Central Jersey - October 4, 2007

Legal woes for Tourney, 2 others get probation
The Rider News - October 5, 2007

Editorial: Lack of clarity hinders progress
The Rider News - October 5, 2007

Rider U. ex-frat president shuns plea deal in hazing death
NJ.com - December 17, 2007

Family sues Rider over death
NJ.com - December 29, 2007

A closer look at the DeVercellys’ trial lawyer
The Rider News - February 22, 2008

College hazing trial delayed
NJ.com - February 26, 2008

Ex-Rider student settles suit
NJ.com - April 12, 2008

Message in a bottle
APP.com - June 8, 2008

Hazing defendant applies to PTI
NJ.com - July 22, 2008

Ex-fraternity head pleads guilty in Rider hazing death
NJ.com - October 16, 2008

Torney pleads guilty
The Rider News - October 17, 2008

Hazing death sentence: no booze for frat prez
Trentonian.com - December 17, 2008

Settlement announced in Rider hazing death
NJ.com - September 24, 2009

Official statement from DeVercelly family in Rider University alcohol death settlement
Trentonian.com - September 24, 2009


FRIENDS AND FAMILY - THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS


As the webmaster at East Long Beach for the past 10 years, and as a board member, coach, manager and fan...I had the extended opportunity to watch and participate in the growth of this wonderful young boy's life primarily as it related to his baseball activities. He was a youngster who loved the game with a passion seldom seen at the age of 7 or 8, and a dedication to work hard to reach the lofty goals he would set for himself. I recall watching him play on the 8 year old all-star team, and thinking as a returning Mustang manager, that I just had to have this kid on my team. He had the perfect mix of talent and attitude, and he was just the nicest kid to everybody. I drafted a recruiting letter that would have made Tommy Lasorda proud, and invited him and his father to join me on the Orioles team and staff. The following year was one of the most enjoyable seasons I have ever had as a coach, and Gary was a major part of the great and fun times we had. To this day, he is one of my very most cherished players.

He would eventually leave ELB and head down to Heartwell PONY where he continued to hone his skills. However, he always came back to the old fields and stopped to talk with his 'old coach'. His career continued on to Wilson High where he worked diligently on his game for 4 years, leaving a seemingly endless trail of friends and people he touched with his kindness and support.

There are many other facets to Gary that I did not get to see or enjoy, and hope that others can share their insights to what other ways Gary was able to touch their lives. My warmest thoughts and prayers go out to Gary Sr., Julie, Emily and Noah, and I will never forget my very good friend Gary 'Lefty' DeVercelly!

- Coach Ken Jakemer
3/31/07

Like everyone else who knew Gary and his family, upon hearing the news, my mind screamed in reaction: IMPOSSIBLE! INCREDIBLE! INCOMPREHENSIBLE!. My grandson Chase played Pony baseball for many years with Gary at East Long Beach. Last year both were teammates on the Wilson High School varsity. Chase and Gary competed against each other on the mound and at first base. Gary was an excellent athlete and a worthy competitor. Big Gary and his wife were always there to support Gary. I shared many pleasant innings over the years with the DeVercellys watching our young men hone their baseball skills.

As a parent and grandparent, I have always found it heart-wringing and especially poignant to hear about the young dying so young. To bury a child is truly a parent’s worst nightmare. The mental image of Gary’s parents desperately flying across country from LAX to Trenton, N.J., knowing only that suddenly, inexplicably the very existence of their firstborn son is in jeopardy, his fate suspended somewhere between a question of life or death is one of unimaginable agony. That flight had to seem endless.

When a tragedy like this occurs, the inevitable questions are posed: Why Lord, why? Why Gary? Why now? Why this way? My response has always been that we mortals are often too arrogant in our expectations; that there are things that happen in this thing called life that transcend our limited ability to understand; that nowhere is it written in stone that we must know everything about everything; that there is a power greater than ours about us; that we are each but a part of a comprehensive whole.

I choose to remember Gary D.as being a tall,.somewhat gangling teenager, just sort of loping along nonchalantly seemingly without a care in the world. Always polite and respectful with his elders, readily accepted by his peers, gifted academically, athletically and socially, he served as an ideal matrix for his younger siblings. Although with his ready smile and open, engaging friendly demeanor he presented the personality of a budding politician he was a fierce competitor on the athletic fields.

In short, Gary D. appeared to everyone as a young man with a limitless future. He was everything any parent could ask for in a son.

Now that he’s gone, his life extinguished so suddenly, so untimely, so sadly, only the poets offer the solace we seek. I share with all in memory of Gary D, our fallen prince, the following elegant elegy by an anonymous Irish poet:

“I WISH FOR EACH OF YOU, A HEART THAT CAN BEGUILED BY A FLOWER;

A HEART THAT THE WIND LIFTS AS IT PASSES O’ER THE GRASSES AFTER A SUMMER’S SHOWER

A HEART THAT CAN RECOGNIZE, WITHOUT AID 0F THE EYES, ALL THE GIFTS LIFE HOLDS FOR THE WISE.

IN THE NIGHT WHEN YOU ARE TROUBLED, MAY A FRIEND WAKE FOR YOU SO THAT YOUR TIME BE DOUBLED.

AND WHEN THE STORMS BREAK FOR YOU , MAY THE TREES SHAKE FOR YOU, THEIR BLOSSOMS DOWN

AND THEN, AT THE END OF ALL LOVING, AND ALL LOVE MAY THE LORD ABOVE GRANT YOU A CROWN.”

In my heart, I know that today our Gary is in the presence of the Lord who has granted Gary his Crown. Well done, Gary D.

-- John Kaesman
4/1/07

My heart goes out to the DeVercelly family in light of this most tragic loss. Gary was a student of mine at Hughes Middle School. We were reacquainted when my son came to ELB a few seasons ago. Last year my son Tommy and Gary's younger brother Noah were both on the Mustang Tigers. Gary would often bring Noah to practices and in his gentile easy going manner would help out with whatever was needed. He was complimentary never overly critical and always positive. He was there because he loved his younger brother and wanted to help him become a better ballplayer. Gary Sr. once told me that Tommy reminded him a lot of Gary at that age not only because they were both lefty but more so how they conducted themselves on the field. This was a huge compliment to my son. Gary was at the field a few weeks ago with a couple of his college buddies. He came over shook my hand asked how Tommy was doing. We spoke about college and baseball and told each other to take care. Gary was a very special young man and everyone who got to know him will carry memories of him that will bring a smile to their face.

- Ron Ohlman
4/2/07

While this is a horrible tragedy, I want to continue to think of the positive things about Gary. You see, I was his coach for those two years and his friend ever since. I never knew anything but positive things about Gary… Hew was the kind of kid that soaked up everything and always wanted to work on his game to get better. I know he had the same kind of work ethic at school and I remember a time that he was so proud to show me a report card where he brought up a “B” to an “A”.

His good character and heart were never more apparent to me than when he was around my oldest son. When Gary was on the Bandits, my son Matthew was only a toddler. When ever he was around the team, Gary always went out of his way to give him bumps or a high five. Gary was one of the few guys over the years that I have been able to say, “You got Matty?” when my attention had to be somewhere else fore a minute. A free baby sitter that I could make run laps if he messed up…He Never did.

I would think that his patience with my son came from the great relationships he had with his younger sister Emily and little brother Noah. Noah was probably 5 or 6 and in tee ball when Gary was on the Bandits. Noah seemed to be around the team a lot in those years. While some of the younger brothers and sisters can be given a little bit of a rough time from an older group, Gary always made sure that it didn’t happen to his brother.

I only got to know Gary for 5 or 6 years but always looked forward to the next time I would see him. The next time I would get an update from him. The next time he would come up with that shy grin under a dirty lip he called a mustache, with his head tilted to the side and his shoulders slightly shrugged and saying, “Hi Coach.”

Gary’s interactions with his siblings, parents, teammates, coaches and friends were heartfelt, honest, caring and true. His time with us was way to short, but he made a huge impact in the lives of all who new him. I know I feel grateful that I was privileged to know him, coach him, and call him a friend.

- Matt Paige
4/2/07

I sat down in front of my computer this Monday morning as I do every morning to check in on current news and events. Then, as always, I check in on the ELB and Bobby Sox web sites. This morning I sat staring at the first lines of text trying to make sense of it, and still can not. I can not come up with the words to express the thoughts in my mind. I want to express my family’s deepest sympathy for your family.

Gary and Julie, we shared many hours at the ELB and Heartwell Pony/Colt fields, then onto the High School fields watching our sons as competitors and watching the sons of so many families grow into young men. My family is once again spending many hours at the ELB and Bobby Sox complex as my youngest two are starting their climb up through the baseball & softball leagues. We chose to have Niklas participate at ELB because of the many great experiences we had with the league while Cory was playing. One of the leagues greatest assets is the group of families that gather at the fields, and in fact become one large family. Your family for one, helped make the experience we all enjoyed at the fields that much better.

I will not claim to know Gary very well outside of the baseball setting. However, what I knew of Gary and of your family on and around the field, I can tell you impressed me very much. You taught your son well, something every parent struggles with and wants to get just right. Respect, determination, and love for family are all very strong qualities in a young man. It is very clear Gary possessed them all, he was a fine, fine young man.

I for one (and hopefully all others) do not judge him by “a single mistake”.

- With deepest sympathy, Mike Lombardi & family
4/3/07

God bless you and your family. When all the phone calls stop and everyone stops coming over, just remember to call on His holy name. He is the only one that can help you through this difficult time, and remember my family. Walk with the Lord; He will lead you to the high heavens. And there your sweet boy will be waiting with open arms. Never stop praying!

- With love, the Dotts
4/4/07

One week ago today, my son Andrew called me screaming. The words that would follow are the greatest fear of any parent...Gary was in trouble, in the hospital, on life support...my heart instantly sank. How could this be happening, how did this happen? I need to talk to Julie, I need to help, but how? No words could help, I only knew that I needed to be there for Julie, Gary, Emily and Noah...they would do the same for me.

Their beautiful son Gary, was a blessing to my family. He was my son's best friend, my daughter's best friend and truly another son to me. We spent many wonderful vacations together and enjoyed many conversations about what the future held. He dreamed big! I was always so amazed how driven and focused he was...I actually think he was wearing off on my son. Our family is so greatful for knowing this amazing young man...he will forever be missed and never forgotten.

- My deepest love and sympathy, Jennifer Coates
4/5/07

To laugh often and much,
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;
To know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

         - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friendship has no color lines. I will remember you and all of the fun times we shared together as teammates, classmates, brothers, and friends.

- Rest in peace, Marques Reed
4/6/07

My heart goes out to Julie, Gary, Emily and Noah. We know the DeVercelly family through our football league. My heart sank as I read the e-mail and started crying instantly. Even though we only knew Gary briefly. He had a huge impact on our family. Our story is just another way that Gary impacted a young person’s life. My son is a big boy and had a hard time dealing with his size I don’t know what exactly Gary told him but after a few weeks of that running camp Joey was more confident about his height and he still continues to learn on how to make it work to his advantage. But as my son said it was Gary who had made the difference in his life. So I thank you Julie & Gary for having such a caring child who did not mind sharing with someone who he didn’t even know.

“God, you sacrificed your son so that we and our children would transcend physical death. We know that you grieved when he was crucified and that you grieve over all the atrocities done by men -- especially in your name. You know and understand grief as you know and understand all. You know best how to comfort these parents. Lift their hearts up to you and fill them with your peace. Your understanding is beyond our human comprehension, but give them the knowledge and faith to endure even that which they can't understand. Let them be aware of you always God, and help them to remember that your Love is Life that can never really be taken away. In Jesus name, Amen”

- The Pfahler Family
4/6/07

Gary - We have been best friends since 8th grade. I cant believe something like this would happen to someone like you. It's ironic because you have helped me when I had alcohol poisoning and were the only one who knew that I truly needed help. I just wish I could have been down there with you to see you, and help you, and make sure you didnt get out of hand. We all miss you and I just cant help to think how close we have gotten since we lived across the street from each other, and how much we have been through. You have always listened to my problems and then waited until they were solved to tell me yours. I have teased you about your silly laugh and the way you shake your hair and how you got my brother hooked to flipping his hair....it seems like just yesterday we were having a water baloon fight in front of my house, or I was getting into a fight at McDonalds, or even coming to my house with your hair in corn rows...I miss you Gary and you have taught me so much and I hope I can succeed in the ways you did. You have toched so many hearts and saved so many lives with your story. I love you forever and always!

- Destiny Flores
4/6/07

To Dear Gary, God carried you away We know you hear us now We think and pray for you every day You were truly a special person A wondrous, loving son Truly a great brother, too, A friend for everyone, such fun Tall, thin and so handsome, A vision so strong At 18 you were so young And you never did anyone wrong Baseball was your dream Your love and passion You loved baseball, you played so hard, You truly were an all star On the field You always raised the bar You left us yes, but not before You made your mark to start So many have you on their minds And also in their hearts There's Emily and Noah, Children who are like no other And naturally, dear Gary You were an awesome brother Everyone is fighting from being sad and even mad So many eyes have cried Especially from your Mom and Dad You've passed on, dear Gary We don't know why You're with us now, it's just that way, In the beautiful blue skies above Dear Gary, our child, brother and friend, You'll always have our love -

- Anonymous
4/6/07

Dearest Julie and Gary,

I wanted to let you two know that the service for Gary Jr. today was very moving, and beautiful. Words cannot describe how touching the ceremony was, at this most heartbreaking time in your families life. You two are living every parent’s worst nightmare, the loss of your child. This could have happened to anyone of us, I cannot even comprehend what you have had to endure the last couple of weeks.

Gary Jr. was a kind and compassionate young man, everyone who came in contact with him was a little better for having known him. Being a part of the East Long Beach Jr. Baseball League (remember the name before we became East Long Beach Pony Baseball) we were a little community amongst ourselves. That was a special time, the parents, kids, and league really grew, and we all became a big extended family at the park.

All of us, who had kids that started in the program in the 94-95 seasons, saw a real special era. The parents, coaches, and kids really took that corner of Carson and Woodruff, and made something special there. We made our league one of the best in southern California. I know you remember the pit toilets we had to endure when we were in the t-ball and farm divisions, until we upgraded to some nicer indoor plumbing. We were able to get our minor field permitted into a year round facility, started a winter ball league, with a permanent fence (remember field days putting up fences for some free practice balls for your team...?) and upgraded the snack bar with some great food for the times. Families used to come to the park to have dinner and hang out and watch others games. What about getting all the fields lit with permanent lighting for the first time…? Our kids thought they we in the big leagues playing under the lights. We were even able to install a batting cage with a lot of help from the parents.

That was indeed a special time in our lives, we all came together and became friends at East Long Beach. We met parents who shared our same principles and goals to give our kids something special to look back on, and be a part of. These are times you will cherish, with fond memories, of your son growing up on the fields in Long Beach.

My first recollection of you and your family came in our farm years. I can’t remember if it was a playoff game or all-stars, I got there early to get the field ready for our game. And there you were this guy in slacks, dress shoes, a leather jacket and a bottle of water, filling in the hole on the pitchers mound, and packing it down. I asked you how’s it going, and you told me your son didn’t like pitching out of a hole, so you took the time out of your day to come to the park and prep the mound.

This showed me a lot about the love and dedication you had for your son and family. In the following years playing against Gary Jr. or playing with him on all-stars was always a pleasure. You and Julie did a great job raising your son, you taught him well, and supported him throughout his endeavors. He graduated with honors, was on scholarship to a university, and you couldn’t have been more proud of him.

This must be the hardest thing you have ever had to go through; you two have been great role models for your kids, giving them a solid Christian background, in faith and principles. This has to question your faith, on how something like this could happen to someone who had everything in life going for him. Stay strong in your faith and to each other, your family needs you to be a pillar of strength for them. You are a lot stronger that I could have been at a time like this. I was keeping my emotions in check until Julie, and you came up to the podium to speak. Every one of your friends and family that were there, were feeling your sorrow, in the heartbreaking words you shared with us, we all wept, we all felt like we lost a son that day.

It was great seeing a lot of the East Long Beach families today; and I’m sorry that it had to be under such a tragic and sorrowful time in your lives. I know you have a lot of friends and family to help you through these difficult times ahead. If there is anything we can do for you please let us know.

We have some property in northern Idaho, that has a beautiful little meadow next to a stream, that has some wildflowers growing, and we will add the “Forget Me Not Wildflowers” to our meadow in remembrance of “Gary Lewis DeVercelly Jr.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with you,

- Rick, Mary Ann, Brittany and Derek Walker
4/10/07

Although I had the privelege of knowing Gary only in a few tidbits of time, he truly left endearing memories in my heart. I met Gary through one of his best friends, Marques Reed, a longtime family friend of ours. When Marques brought him over to our home in Huntington Beach for the first time and proudly introduced him to me, I instantly knew he was a fine young man. His shy smile and confident, yet, respectful demeanor touched my heart. My daughter Melina had already met Gary prior to his visit to our home (probably at the Reed residence or at a choir function) so she was happy that he had felt comfortable enough to come and visit. Summer soon arrived and it was time for the kids to have some fun. So early that summer, Marques calls-up Melina and asks her if she would join he and Gary for a day at the beach or Wild Rivers. Being that none of them were driving yet, he proceeded to ask if I would be willing to take them. I, immediately agreed, and off we went to Wild Rivers. This was the first of a few, mostly Wild Rivers outings that summer with Melina, Marques, & the newest member of our family, Gary. After that summer there were 2 or 3 other functions I saw Gary at again such as, Marques's Annual Peace Celebration Concert, and he and Gary's Prom, whom my daughter had the privelege of attending with Marques. So, although the moments with Gary were but a few, I thank God for the special tidbits of time he gave me with him, as he touched my heart with his gentle spirit. I pray that God Bless and comfort the DeVercelly family during this most diificult time.

- Annabelle Cortez
4/10/07

LONG BEACH SAYS GOOD BYE TO 'GARY D'

Hundreds of family, friends, and teammates gathered to say good bye to former ELB, Heartwell, and Wilson High baseball player Gary DeVercelly Jr. on Monday, April 9th. The touching and emotional service was held at Grace Brethren Church in Long Beach, where several of Gary's close friends spoke about their favorite memories of Gary, and the Rider University Dean of Students reflected on the great impact Gary had on their college in such a short time with them.

In a courageous and strong display, Gary's family got up and talked about their son. Julie spoke of his love and caring for others and his role as the 'protector', closing by requesting everyone to take on these traits in Gary's absence. Gary Sr. spoke with an inner strength that he did not know existed, as he recounted the wonder and joy of his 18 and a half years as Gary's Dad. He spoke of the exceptional way he took care of his brother Noah, and sister Emily. He elaborated on the wonderful and deeply loving relationship Gary had with his mother. And then he ended his tribute by declaring that Gary was 'his hero' for becoming the man Gary Sr. always wanted to be himself.

A special slide show was presented showing Gary's life in pictures, and there was not a dry eye in the church. The service then moved to Forest Lawn Cemetery in Long Beach, where Gary was laid to rest in the arms of his loving family and friends. As a closing event, a special reception was held at the Greek Orthodox Church in Long Beach.

This tragic event which has gripped many of us for the past couple of weeks must not be forgotten, for the life lessons we must all learn from it. A single bad decision can spiral out of control down a path of pain and destruction. Gary DeVercelly Jr. did not have to leave us so early. Maybe he did, so others would learn a valuable lesson. So that the next time someone is put in that situation, he will make a better decision. A life saving decision.

Even though he is no longer here, Gary D. is still serving in his role of 'Protector'. Thank you Gary!

- ELB Webmaster
4/10/07

I had the honor and privilege of my son, Trevor, playing catcher while Gary, was his pitcher. The boys played baseball together at East Long Beach for many years. I have the utmost respect for Coach Gary and Julie and the relationship he has with young Gary and all of the young boys who he has helped coach. I was at the service for Gary on Monday and the thoughtfulness and love that I saw from all the family and friends that were there was truly touching. Seeing Julie inviting everyone over to their house with arms wide open. I just wanted to reach out and give her a hug myself. Gary had grown into quite the young man and had such a great future ahead of him. Myself and my son, Trevor, are truly in shock by this tragic event - my heart reaches out to all of you. If anyone knows the DeVercelly's and what a loving family they are, strong in faith and wonderful friends - they will continue on. God Bless all of you!

- Ann Tillery
4/11/07

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND SPECIAL MEMORIES ABOUT GARY

Gary DeVercelly touched the lives of many people during his short stay here, but his memory will remain with us forever. Please share some of your stories about his impact in your life and how you will remember him. Enter your thoughts here or send your comments to GaryDfeedback@elbpony.org

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