Gary Dean Massey, 76, of Kansas City, Missouri, passed away at 6:00 a.m., Saturday, November 26, 2022 in Overland Park, Kansas.
Gary was born on July 27, 1946, to Bennett Clark and LuEsther Lloy (Whitefield) Massey in Fort Worth, Texas. He went to high school in Kansas City at Shawnee Mission North (SMN). He was a standout in football at SMN and Pittsburg State University (PSU). While at PSU, he was named an All-CIC player in 1967 and 1968 and later was an assistant coach. Besides playing football, he co-founded Gorilla Head rugby at PSU, and was a player-coach for the Kansas City Blues rugby club. Gary also played rugby in the Philippines, Germany, California, and Wisconsin, and he is in the KC Blues and the Gorilla Head hall of fame. Throughout his life he was an avid athlete, entering in handball and racquetball tournaments, biking, skiing, and playing soccer well into his forties.
Gary Massey received a bachelor’s and master’s in mathematics from PSU. After graduation, he became a high school math teacher at US military bases in the Philippines, England, and Germany. While getting his graduate degree he met the love of his life, Jane Giefer.
Gary Massey married Jane Giefer in 1973 in St. Paul, KS. They had three children together. Gary prioritized his family and made sure that his kids knew to love God by leading a family Bible study. He taught his kids the importance of academics and physical health, and even coached his son’s soccer team, the Tornadoes. He did an annual polar plunge in the backyard pool and also liked to joke around and sing in the house.
In the late 70s, he became a computer programmer and worked for EDS and Hallmark Cards. Gary co-founded a tax software company when software was only sold by mail order. The company did well, but he switched careers and moved to Dallas. In Dallas, he worked for EDS and Perot systems selling computer systems to banks. Gary also supervised the implementation of these systems, and he often had to work from Ireland, England, and even India.
He worked with many interesting people, including Ross Perot, Mort Meyerson, and the team that designed Word Perfect. One day, two men in suits were sent to his office. They were federal employees who said they were “from the internet,” and they tried to convince him that bank transactions should be sent over this new network. Although the technology was not ready, Gary is one of the few people to have met the internet in person.
Gary spent his final work years with a French consulting company, Capgemini. He enjoyed international work and travel. When people asked him what languages he spoke, he would say, “I speak English as a second language. I don’t have a first language.” Due to thinking that the white background of the page was the letter, he didn’t learn to read until third grade and read slowly his whole life. However, he read very thoroughly and was often asked to comment on contracts.
Gary Massey was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in his 50s, and he struggled with the disease for over 20 years.
He is survived by his wife Jane (Giefer) Massey, their children Clark Massey (Audrey), Leah Massey (Jeremy Ralph), and Kristina Hidalgo (Juan Carlos); his siblings Lynda Roberston (Robert) and Stanley Massey (Sonni); and six grandchildren Vera Massey, Paul Massey, Augustine Massey, Grace Massey, Edith Massey, and Josephine Ralph. He was preceded in death by his parents Bennett Clark and LuEsther Lloy (Whitefield) Massey and his half-brother Michael Massey.
Eulogy from Clark Massey: My father was a biblical person. The bible is not about prudery, chivalry, or genteel manners. Biblical saints are earthy people who love, sin, and repent. Their holiness is problematic, and their lives are a drama with God. My Dad’s virtues are almost impossible to put into words. He was ornery, and he had an intelligent fire about him. His college friend told me, “we were surprised that he lived.” They saw him as a passionate chance taker, and his children saw him as a responsible adult. He was both, and he is more. I trust that God’s relationship with him survives death.
The funeral Mass will be at 10:00 a.m., Monday, December 5, 2022, at St. Peter’s Parish, 815 E. Meyer Blvd, K.C., MO. Interment of cremains will take place on Monday afternoon at St. Francis Cemetery in St. Paul, Kansas. Services are under the direction of the Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home of Parsons.
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