Gary Shipston will be remembered as an all-around “good guy” who loved nothing more than spending time at home with his family.
It was fitting then, after an 18-month battle with leukemia and a five-month hospitalization, that Gary returned home just a week before dying at home, surrounded by his loving family.
He passed away Dec. 9, 2012. He was 62.
“He was a homebody,” said his wife, Jennifer Shipston. “He loved to be home.”
The couple met when both worked as registered nurses at Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital in Southern California. They moved to Sonoma in 1989.
Gary was born in Niagara Falls, N.Y., on Jan. 27, 1950. He was raised in both Niagara Falls and Akron, Ohio.
Gary was a graduate of Long Beach State University. He earned a degree in anthropology before switching professions and obtaining a nursing degree.
He worked at North Coast Rehabilitation before joining the nursing staff at Sonoma Developmental Center. Known for both his skills and compassion as a nurse, he saved at least one patient and was bestowed with an appreciative “Saved the Doctor’s Ass” award.
When not at work, Gary loved jazz, reading, good wine and going to the movies with friends. He was an unassuming man, a true friend and a loving husband and father.
A Vietnam veteran, he earned two bronze stars for his service to his country. He was a member of the local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Gary was touched by the outpouring of support for his family during his long stay at Stanford Hospital and Clinic, where he underwent a stem cell transplant in June.
Gary was the proud father of Melissa, Mark and Megan Shipston, all of Sonoma. In addition to his wife and children, he is survived by his mother, Lorraine Shipston of Paradise; his brother and sister-in-law, Greg and Elise Shipston of Lancaster, S.C.; his sister and brother-in-law, Lisa and Jim Devito of Austin, Texas; and his nephew, Austin Shipston; and niece, Brittany Devito. He was predeceased by his father, Clark Price Shipston.
Gary also leaves many friends who will remember him “just as a good guy. That’s what people would say,” said Jennifer Shipston.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 16290 Arnold Drive, Sonoma.
Donations may be made to a trust in care of his children at Redwood Empire Credit Union.
The family wishes to thank the deacons of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and Sonoma Valley Hospital Home Care Program.