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William Gager Jr. '61 February 27, 2017 12:29 PM updated: February 27, 2017 12:33 PM

Williams- Thomas Downtown obituary
404 N. Main St.
Gainesville, FL 32601
Telephone: (352) 376-7556

William A. "Bill" Gager
April 20, 1931 - February 23, 2017

William A. “Bill” Gager, Jr. died peacefully on February 23, 2017 at Haven Hospice after a long and courageous battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Bill was born in St. Petersburg, Florida to William A. Gager, Sr. and Marie Bemiss Gager. Bill’s father was an accomplished math professor at the University of Florida and his mother was a beloved biology teacher at Gainesville High School. Bill was a bright, intellectual child who at the age of only five spoke to the graduating class at Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee. He was active in scouting and ultimately became an Eagle Scout.

When he was fourteen he moved with his parents to Gainesville and lived next door to his future wife, Pat Pepper. He began 10th grade at P.K. Yonge Laboratory School where he was President of the student body and active in sports including basketball, softball, and football. He also sang in the Glee Club and was the Florida winner in the American Legion Oratorical contest in March of 1945.

Bill continued with a lengthy formal education earning a B.S. at West Point, a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M, and a Master’s Degree in Political Science and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Florida.

While at West Point, Bill played the carillon in the Cadet Chapel and as a member of the Glee Club he sang on the Ed Sullivan Show and was in two movies – The Long Gray Line and The West Point Story. On graduation day, he married Pat and they were married for 63 years.

During his military career, he was a member of the prestigious Army Rangers and was in the Corps of Engineers. He and Pat enjoyed three years in Nurnberg Germany where Bill was with the 24th Engineer Battalion. In 1964 he spent a year in Vietnam as an engineering and psychological warfare adviser. His final post in the army was at Ft. Lee, Virginia with the Army General Equipment Test Activity (GETA).

Following his military service, he began a distinguished career in the civil service in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, as Director of DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support) and as the Director of Training Appraisal for the Naval Education and Training Command.

After leaving the military, Bill was able to enjoy one of his favorite hobbies of working in the yard. He had artistic talents and would turn the yard in each of their homes into an interesting, but non-traditional, masterpiece.

Bill loved his family and was the rock on which we could all depend. He was very intelligent and determined, yet had a loving and nurturing side particularly with babies and those who might be under the weather. He had a strong faith and loved to have deep theological discussions. He had a lifelong love of railroads, sailing, fishing, German music and food, and playing the piano and the accordion. Bill and Pat loved to travel and went to places such as Cuba, Alaska, Norway, the Panama Canal, Africa and much of Europe. Additionally, they participated on mission trips to the Bahamas and the International Baptist Theological Seminary in Ruschlikon, Switzerland.

Bill was active in the local community serving as the Chairman of the Code Enforcement Board and was on the Board of the Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. He was a member of Kiwanis, the Gainesville Quarterback Club and was a Deacon at the First Baptist Church. He was a member at First Presbyterian Church in Gainesville.

Bill is survived by his wife Pat Pepper Gager, son, William “Jeff” Gager (Martha Ann); daughter, Lindsey Mineer (Kevin); son, Thomas Gager (Malinda); granddaughter, Kathryn Padua (Justin) and grandsons, Johnathon, Will and Tommy Gager.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held Saturday, March 18, 2017 at 11:00 a.m., in the chapel of WILLIAMS-THOMAS FUNERAL HOME DOWNTOWN, 404 North Main Street, with Dr. Don McGarity officiating. A reception will follow the service. In lieu of flowers, a remembrance may be made to Haven Hospice, 4200 NW 90th Boulevard, Gainesville, Florida 32606 or to the Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration Fund (011341) College of Medicine at the University of Florida,

Celebration of Life

MAR 18. 11:00 AM

Williams- Thomas Downtown
404 N. Main St.
Gainesville, FL, US, 32601

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