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Roll Call Tribute

Gary Wiltrout '73 August 10, 2023 1:18 PM updated: August 10, 2023 1:58 PM

Gary Bruce Wiltrout 
September 13, 1946 - March 30, 2023 

Gary Bruce Wiltrout, 77, passed away on March 30th, 2023, in Plano, Texas, surrounded by loved ones in his final days.

Born and raised in San Francisco Bay Area, Gary graduated Ygnacio Valley High School in 1964. A lifelong athlete, he played football and was on the track and wrestling teams. He learned to waterski on the coast and was still skiing into his late fifties and probably could have skied professionally—but he enjoyed weekends on the boat at the lake for decades.

With sights set on a degree in architecture and a quest to go to college, he joined US Marine Corp at the age of 20. SGT Wiltrout was a tank crewman in Vietnam and a Purple Heart recipient, nearly losing his life and his left leg in combat crossfire. He returned to northern California to recover, then relocated to College Station, Texas. He graduated from the Texas A&M School of Architecture in 1973 and landed in Cleburne after graduating and passing the Architecture exam and accepting his first job in the field.

In May of 1982 he and his wife adopted a baby girl, fulfilling his dream of becoming a father. The first open adoption in the state of Texas with Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services, the couple was handpicked by Robin (Best) Hauth after receiving a heartfelt letter that he penned. Robin became like a second daughter to Gary and spent birthdays, holidays, and many lake weekends with the Wiltrout family, and maintained a close relationship with him throughout his life.

He had a beautiful singing voice and sang in the choir at the United Presbyterian Church in Cleburne, where he also served as a deacon. An avid cyclist, sometimes riding 300+ miles weekly in his mid-forties and he participated in races several times yearly. He raised homing pigeons for most of his life and dabbled in “rollers” as well—in his sixties he started the Velo Loft project, with a very detailed genetic tracking system to breed almond birds and gained notoriety across the country from other breeders.

He was a devoted Aggie football fan, (Whoop!), and he designed and built homes and additions for his own family and countless friends over the years and was a true artist. He loved pheasant hunting with his dear friend Randy Harvey, whom he befriended when Randy was only fifteen—and enjoyed cooking pheasant for holiday meals almost as much.

Gary moved from Cleburne to Wylie, Texas in the summer of 2000. There he met the love of his life, Linda, and a golden period of his life began. He and his “Lucy” traveled the world together (a feat because he hated to fly). They spent over 20 years loving each other, their family, and their friends over margaritas, Gary’s famous sangria, and copious amounts of Mexican food.

A dear friend described Gary perfectly; “He was one of the finest men I’ve ever known. Tough as nails when he had to be, like a lap dog at other times, and a huge heart always”. He was his daughter Emily’s biggest fan for over 40 years and never missed a single opportunity to support her and those important to her in all endeavors. He kept in touch with friends all over the country from his many walks of life and will be greatly missed by everyone that he knew.

Gary is preceded in death by his father, Jack Wiltrout; mother, Cleone Wiltrout; brother Ken Wiltrout.

He is survived by his brother Jim Wiltrout, sister Charlene (Wiltrout) Brown; wife, Linda Hall Wiltrout; daughter Emily (Wiltrout) Villanueva (and husband, Louis); daughter Sara Hall Dane (and husband Matthew); son Andrew Hall (and wife Alicia); grandchildren Isabel Villanueva; Erik, Cassie, and Anni Hall; Ella and Mia Dane.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the VA North Texas Healthcare System online at… 


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