In loving memory of

Gary Leo Messinger
November 8, 1951 - April 20, 2021

Gary Leo
Muskegon, Michigan

Gary Leo Messinger, age 69, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 in Winter Haven, Florida. He was born in Muskegon, Michigan on November 8, 1951 to Shirley Eilers. After her untimely death in 1952, he was adopted by Shirley's mother Clara (née Schiller) and Clara's second husband Mark Messinger. Gary graduated from Muskegon Catholic Central in 1969 and worked in retail management most of his life. For the last several years, he very much enjoyed his work as an RV Park Host at his daughter's business, Duck Creek RV Resort, where he spent lots of time with his four granddaughters.

One of Gary's greatest accomplishments (besides his children and grandchildren) occurred on July 12, 1969. Aided by his good friend and classmate Pete Gawkowski, Gary helped rescue three people after their boat crashed into the south breakwater at Pere Marquette Park in Muskegon. For their bravery, Gary and Pete received multiple commendations, the most notable being the Silver Lifesaving Medal from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Gary enjoyed watching and playing multiple sports, especially golf, and liked a wide range of movies, TV shows, and music. He had an excellent sense of humor and told dad jokes long before they were a thing.


Survivors include two sons, Jacob "Jake" Messinger of Muskegon, Adam (Tessa) Messinger of Muskegon; a daughter, Casey (Roger) Jourden of North Muskegon; five grandchildren, Addison, Ella, Hannah, Kelsey, and Grant; a brother Mark "Doug" Messinger of Michigan; and a sister Diane Colini of Florida. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers Dale and Duane.


A Celebration of Life will take place at a later date at Duck Creek RV Resort. Please visit to leave a memory or sign the online guestbook.


Chris Meier wrote on May 5, 2021:

"So sorry to hear of Gary's passing. I enjoyed communicating with Gary on Facebook from time to time. He always reminded me that he followed me in name order all through High School. He would say, Meier, Messinger, Miholvits I had forgotten that he and Pete had saved those people in the boating accident. I am glad I got to talk with him for a while after our 50-year class reunion breakfast at Pere Marquette Park. God Bless you, Gary. Rest in Peace. Chris Meier"

Sue Lenar wrote on May 2, 2021:

"Thank you for your kind words these last few years: they mean the world to me. You've been a good friend and I'm going to miss you very much."

Terri Michael wrote on May 1, 2021:

"Jake, Adam and Casey, So sorry for the loss of your Dad. Deepest sympathies to you all. So glad I was able to see him and visit when we had the get together. Love you all! Aunt Terri Michael"

Denise Messinger wrote on May 1, 2021:

"Jake, Adam, and Casey? So sorry to hear about the loss of your dad. When he was younger he loved to play baseball and then it turned into golf. Yes, he always had a sense of humor. His pride was always the 3 of you. I was just looking at pictures from a family reunion a couple of months ago. I will cherish all the memories. He will be missed by many. My thoughts are with you all. Denise Messinger"

Sandy Neff wrote on Apr 27, 2021:

"May Gary rest in God?s Eternal Peace. Keeping his family in prayers. "

Nancy Jones wrote on Apr 24, 2021:

"Hugs & prayers to the Messinger family my thoughts are with you all ??Nancy Jones"