Gary Gene Wooley, 88, of East Peoria, Illinois, passed away Wednesday, February 1, 2023 at his winter home in Sun Lakes, AZ. He was born in Moultrie County, Illinois on October 11, 1934 to Bernard and Lorena (Cowell) Wooley.
Gary graduated from Mt. Zion High School, Class of 1952 before enlisting with the United States Army during the Korean Conflict, serving on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska for two years. He then enrolled at Eastern Illinois University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1960. He went on to obtain his Masters of Science degree from Missouri School of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri in Physics. Following a few months working for the Food and Drug Administration, he took a job as a teacher in School District 150 in Peoria, Illinois where he taught Physics and Math at Peoria Manual High School until his retirement in 1993.
Gary married Leta Jean Bridges on June 6, 1964, at First Methodist Church of Decatur in Decatur, Illinois and they enjoyed 58 years of marriage. He is survived by his wife, Leta Wooley; two daughters, Mary (Jeff) Davis of Downs, IL and Nancy (Chris) Willems of Scottsdale, AZ; and five grandchildren, Trevor Willems of Chicago, Illinois, Jack Willems of Tempe, Arizona, Ryan Willems of Scottsdale, Arizona, Katelyn Davis of Downs, Illinois, and Zac Davis of Downs, Illinois. He is also survived by his sister, Sandra (William) Fisher of Princeton, Illinois and half siblings, Bryan Poole of Bloomington, Illinois, Derald (Christina) Wooley of Lovington, Illinois and Gaye Anne Adrian of Findlay, Illinois.
Gary enjoyed many pastimes over the years – he was heavily involved in Street Rodding which included building, driving, and showing them all over the states. He had a passion for the “Deuce Coupe” but had many other interesting cars he enjoyed over the years including a Fiat Topolino, 1948 Hudson, 1963 Studebaker Avanti, and some of his first cars were Corvettes, including a 1953 and 1957. Gary enjoyed the outdoor activities such as deer hunting, walking the woods, mushroom hunting, and the trips to the mountains of Telluride.
Memorials may be made on his behalf to Willow Hill United Methodist Church, 304 E. Far Hills Drive, East Peoria, IL 61611 where he was a charter member.
Cremation rites have been accorded. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, May 13, 2023 at Willow Hill United Methodist Church and all that knew and loved Gary are welcome to attend. Online condolences at www.masonfuneralhomes.com.
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