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Gary Behelfer '79 March 23, 2021 3:09 PM updated: March 23, 2021 3:31 PM

Gary Louis Behelfer
June 18, 1945 - March 12, 2021

On March 12, 2021, Gary Louis Behelfer shut down his motor and drifted onto the redfish flat with no end. Born in Rochester, Gary grew up in nearby Stanley, New York, situated in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of Western New York. He was lucky enough to have a grandfather that introduced him to hunting and fishing at an early age and also to grow up in a time and place where opportunities to enjoy these pastimes were easy to come by. Gary attended high school at nearby Canandaigua Academy where he was a member of the swim and soccer teams.

Always a hard worker, Gary typically spent summers working for nearby farmers but also managed to get a job at a local marina on Canandaigua Lake where he was able to indulge his interests in boats and in spending time on the water. After high school, Gary headed further upstate to the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. Losing interest in his history studies after a few years, Gary thought it might be more exciting to enlist in the Army and go learn to fly a helicopter. During a weekend break from the Army's Primary Helicopter training program at Fort Wolters in Mineral Wells, Texas, Gary and some training buddies headed to the student union at nearby Texas Woman's University.

It was here that Gary met Cynthia Treviño, a student from the Rio Grande Valley. They began dating, but soon Gary was off to Vietnam upon the completion of his training. Gary spent 16 months flying American and South Vietnamese generals that were commanding the troops, and managed to make it back to the States mostly unscathed. Two weeks after he returned, he and Cynthia were married. Gary finished out his Army career as a Chief Warrant Officer instructing American and South Vietnamese pilot trainees at Ft. Wolters. Gary and Cynthia then headed back to Plattsburgh, New York where he would finish out his undergraduate studies, now changing his focus to chemistry. Upon graduation, Gary and Cynthia moved back to Texas, where Gary began the doctoral program in chemistry at Texas A&M University. It was also about this time that Gary and Cynthia welcomed their new son, Garrick, to the family. After receiving his doctorate in 1979, the family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where Gary began his career as a research chemist with Calgon Chemical. Within a few short years, though, the Behelfers were back in Texas after Gary was offered a new position with Exxon Chemical in Houston. Gary would remain with Exxon until his retirement in 2006. After retirement, Gary continued to consult with KBR, Kior, and Exxon Chemical.

Gary loved all things outdoors, but was truly passionate about duck hunting and fishing with son Garrick and good friend Bill Winston on East Matagorda Bay. One of Gary's wishes was that some of his ashes be scattered near "Puck's Point," the site of a favorite hunting blind and also where the family's first Labrador Retriever, named Puck, was laid to rest.

When Gary first met Cynthia, she soon became aware that, to him, lots of things were "outstanding!" She quickly understood that "outstanding" was the superlative of choice among Army helicopter pilots of that era. On one of their early dates, Gary took Cynthia to the State Fair of Texas. At one of the booths, Cynthia had her handwriting analyzed: It was determined by the expert attending the booth that Cynthia was attracted to "outstanding" people. Indeed, Gary proved to be an outstanding husband, father, PopPop, and friend.

Gary was predeceased by his parents, Hyman and Marion Hall Behelfer and his in-laws, Bernardo and Isabel Treviño. He is survived by his wife Cynthia, son Garrick, daughter-in-law Kate, beloved granddaughters Clementine and Georgia and brothers Allen (Charee) of Tucson, Arizona and David (Barb) of Canandaigua, New York, and nieces Lauren and Araby.

Gary asked that no services be held after his passing and in lieu of flowers, the family requests that you please consider making a donation to the American Heart Association, Houston Hospice, or to the charity of your choice.

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