Gary L. Brink of Lansing passed away on Sunday, March 5, due to complications from his 12-year battle with Frontotemporal dementia. Gary was born in Ithaca, NY on December 6, 1951 as, he liked to say, on the pool table of the Fall Creek House. Gary grew up on North Tioga Street in Fall Creek with his parents, Donald “Cowboy” and Barbara (Bates) Brink, and his siblings, Donald (Karen) of New Port Richey, FL, Michael (Joan) of Brooksville, FL, Jill (Steve) Dollaway of Ithaca, NY, and Judy (Tom) DeRycke of Hilton, NY.
As a teenager, Gary lived in Lake Worth, FL for a time with his mother and sister, returning to Ithaca to graduate from the Ithaca High School Class of 1970. Gary enlisted in the army and served for two years as a combat engineer at Fort Hood, Texas, learning how to build bridges and then blow them up. After the army Gary moved to Rochester, NY and was employed at Rochester Products for a number of years. He married his high school sweetheart Kathleen (Clarey) Brink and they welcomed their daughter, Tammy. Gary grew tired of city life and returned to Ithaca, working as a maintenance supervisor at Renovation & Maintenance Specialists. He later became employed at Borg Warner, retiring after over 25 years as a quality auditor and winning employee of the year twice during his time there. At RAMS, Gary met the love of his life Colleen Hammon, marrying in 1984 and building their life together for over 39 years. Gary and Colleen were blessed with the arrival of their daughter Maureen who Gary enjoyed watching play and excel at softball, always encouraging her to push harder as only a father can do. He was very proud of his two girls and enjoyed seeing them grow and flourish into the beautiful and successful women they are today.
Through the years Gary participated on several slow-pitch softball teams at Cass Park, including the ICS Press team where he played ball with many friends. He was a frequent spectator at IC Bombers football games and was a life-time member of #7’s Fire Company in Fall Creek. Gary enjoyed the outdoors and hunting in the fall with his relatives and friends and their children. He enjoyed boating and fishing on Cayuga Lake, proving to be a much better fisherman than hunter. Gary was captain of the Lounge Chair Lizard and, along with his first mate Dave Cole, won many fishing contests or at least placed on the board in contests on Cayuga Lake and Lake Ontario. He enjoyed his time on the water and socializing with his many friends and their families, barbequing his famous chicken many weekends on his Weber. Gary continued to have those long-lasting friendships throughout his life, including with his sand-box 101 buddy Wayne Bortz (Karin), Brian and Becky Trainor, Dave and BJ Cole, and Cam and Kathy Vorhis.
In addition to his siblings, Gary is survived by his wife, Colleen; daughter Tammy (Brett) Morgan and their daughter, Piper, of Webster, NY; and daughter Maureen Tagliavento and her sons, Garrett and Aiden, of Lansing, NY, and many nieces and nephews. Gary was predeceased by his parents Donald and Barbara and stepfather Raymond Howland, and son-in-law Tim Tagliavento.
The family would like to thank the many people who helped him through his battle with Frontotemporal dementia, with special thanks to family members Joe Hammon and Jimmy Holden who took Gary on many of his afternoon rides, and his caregivers from Comfort Keepers during the past two years. Gary’s and Colleen’s siblings were an invaluable resource to Colleen during these past years, and all share in our loss. We wish to remember Gary for the person he was and our memories of our time together and what he meant to each of us. For those of us who knew him best, he will forever be Bad to the Bone.
Family and friends are invited to call from 2-3 pm Friday, March 10, 2023 followed by a service at 3 pm at Perkins Funeral Home 55 W. Main St., Dryden, NY with Steve Lawrence as officiant.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Gary’s memory to the Tompkins County SPCA, 1640 Hanshaw Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850.