July 21, 2008

Okay Man Remembered As Patriotic, Friendly

By Cathy Spaulding, Muskogee Phoenix, Okla.

Jul. 21--WAGONER -- Friends remember Gary Miner as a generous man who loved his family and loved his country.

Miner, 59, was killed around 10:50 a.m. Sunday when his 2001 Harley-Davidson collided with a 1998 Massey Ferguson tractor operated by Iver L. Garcia, 29 of Wagoner.

Garcia was driving the tractor south on Oklahoma 16, about a mile south of Wagoner, and was preparing to turn left onto a private drive when the tractor was hit in the rear by the motorcycle, which also was going south, according to an Oklahoma Highway Patrol report.

Miner, who was not wearing a helmet, was ejected approximately 36 feet from the point of impact, the report said. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Wagoner Community Hospital from injuries sustained in the collision. The report said the cause of the collision was unsafe speed for traffic conditions. Garcia was not injured.

William Downs recalled Miner as "one of those certain people you meet once in your life."

"He was good natured, always smiling, never frowning," Downs said. "He was a decorated Vietnam veteran. Very, very patriotic."

Virginia Short said she knew Miner for 17 years and described him as a "very generous person."

"And he just enjoyed being with people," she said. "He and his wife, Beverly, were 'people' people. He liked cookouts, liked going camping."

Short said Miner remodeled motor homes.

Short said Miner liked to be with friends at the Blue Room, a family bar in Okay.

"He'd meet here, visit, have a good time. Everyone is like family here," she said, adding that friends gathered Sunday at the Blue Room were "kind of in shock."

"It's like we can't believe it's happened to our friend," she said. "There's lots of remorse and crying. He was quite at home here."

Short said Miner liked to take his Harley on the road every Sunday, often with his wife and other friends.

"If it hadn't have been so hot today, he would have been riding with four or five other couples, and his wife would have been with him," Short said.

Downs, a welder, said he built Miner a flag pole about a month ago, but has not been put up in Miner's yard.

"Me and most of his friends -- we're going to raise that flag pole," he said.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at 918-684-2928 or Click Here to Send Email


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