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Fire Chief, Gar Wilson April 22, 1943 - March 8, 2021
Mar 12, 2021

Gar Wilson worked 72 hours with no sleep during a bad winter one year plowing the streets. “That’s how dedicated he was to his community,” shared his wife, Shirley.
It’s his dedication, work ethic and being a great friend those close to him will remember after the former Independence Township Fire Chief passed away March 8, 2021.

“If you needed help doing something, he would be there as soon as he could get there. He just worked hard at everything he was doing. That is the big thing I always remember about him,” shared Neal Sage, a retired member of the township fire department who started the same year as Gar in 1971. They also worked together in the City of the Village of Clarkston. Gar was head of the DPW and Sage was a village councilman. “He would do anything for you,” Sage said.

“He was a great guy to work with,” said Larry Wormnest, who knew Gar for close to 40 years and worked with him for 25 years.
“I have a lot of great memories. He was so involved in the township. It started in the village,” Wormnest added. “He was instrumental in how the village runs now.”

Gar Wilson lived in Clarkston most of his life, beginning when he was born to his parents, William and Doris Wilson on April 22, 1943.
Gar is survived by his wife, Shirley, of 58 years, and three children, Cherie, Steven and Chandra, and brother, Rick Wilson.
He is preceded in death by son, Brian.

Gar was fire chief for Independence Township for 15 years. He retired from the fire department after 30 years. He started out as a volunteer for the fire department in his 20s. He was one of the first three fireman hired full time. He helped build the new station the department is now housed in when he was on the fire department his building was on Church Street.
He was also DPW Director for City of the Village of Clarkston for 30 years. He began snowplowing the sidewalks using his own lawn tractor.
Gar and Shirley moved to South Carolina in 2007 to enjoy their retirement. He was an avid golfer and loved woodworking in his shop.
Wormnest shared they kept in touch and would call each other at least once a week or every two weeks after Gar retired and moved out of state.
“Just to say hi, see how things were going, see how the fire department was doing what the guys were doing. He was just so involved with the people,” Wormnest said.”He wanted to know how everyone was doing. We were good friends. When him and his wife came into town we would always get together for lunch or dinner and catch up. He was just a great guy. I am going to miss him a lot.”
“He was a great guy,” Sage said. “He was a hard worker. He was very talented. One of the things I gave him a hard time about was he was color blind. He would redo homes and stuff like that in his spare time but Shirley had to always pick out the paint, the color. So that was always a chuckling spot. He was a good golfer. He had great kids. I remember how much they took care of their kids.”
“Chief Wilson was not only a great boss, but has always remained a great friend,” said Peggy North who was a secretary for Gar.  “As secretaries, Lucretia and I felt very blessed to have been a part of the Independence Township Fire Department. There was never any doubt how much he respected and admired the team under his leadership. Chief Gar Wilson’s dedication and commitment was immeasurable to the community he loved.”

Al Doran, a retired lieutenant from Independence Fire, was hired by Gar in 1989. “Gar was a man of integrity and he was also my friend,” Doran said. “If someone needed something in the department, if there was an issue, he was always there to help you. It didn’t matter what it was. He always had a hand out. He would have given you the shirt off his back. He was a helpful and sincere person. He was a good chief. He was dedicated to the fire service. He was a family man. I worked with him on the personal level, too. He came up for a breakfast and I invited him over, but he couldn’t come. Then, he passed away.”

Tom McDonald, a captain with the township department, remembers Gar’s strong work ethic. “He was the first chief I worked under in the department. He was the chief who hired me,” McDonald shared. “He always set a great example of what you should do to serve the community. He had an extremely strong work ethic. This is more for the people who knew Gar but one of the funniest things to see was watching him run. If he was trying to get to something quickly he had a run that was like nobody else’s.”

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IAFF Local 2629
PO Box 727
Clarkston, MI 48347

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