Gary Thomas Machal
January 11, 1938 – August 29, 2022
Gary Thomas Machal was born on January 11, 1938 to James and Marjorie Machal in Omaha, Nebraska. He attended Edward Rosewater Elementary School and Central High School. He was one of three children, having a set of identical twin sisters. Growing up in South Omaha, he loved playing sandlot baseball, exploring Spring Lake Park and establishing friendships that would last a lifetime.
Following his high school graduation, Gary enlisted in the United States Navy and proudly served his country from 1956 to 1960. Although he was anxious to meet “the beautiful women of Australia”, his ship repeatedly docked in Japan. But, being an eternal optimist, he made the most of his experiences while he was there.
Norma Thell, who would later become Gary’s sister-in-law, was an acquaintance of Gary’s and introduced him to her sister Marlene one night in 1956, while they were skating at the Aksarben Ice Rink. Gary nervously made a phone call to the Thell household the next night. Norma answered the phone, but Gary asked to speak to Marlene. She would soon become the love of Gary’s life and, eventually, his wife of 60 happy years.
Following his years of service, Gary happily settled into married life following his and Marlene’s wedding day on May 19, 1962. He also adapted well to marrying into a family of five sisters.
Gary worked at Northern Natural Gas Company throughout the following five years. His career continued at Omaha Public Power District the subsequent 31 years during which time he advanced to being Head of the Safety and Training Department which provided yet another opportunity for him to make more friends.
In 1971, Gary and Marlene were thrilled to receive a phone call from Catholic Social Services telling them to come pick up a five-day old blonde, adorable baby boy. This bundle of joy would be named Jeffrey Scott and would be the light of Gary and Marlene’s lives. Later in his life, Jeff and his wife Kari blessed Gary and Marlene with three more bundles of joy – grandchildren Owen, Kate and Chase.
Not one to rest on his laurels after retiring in 1997, Gary kept himself busy in a variety of ways. He religiously donated blood and platelets. He volunteered at Red Cross, picking up blood from hospitals in Nebraska and Iowa, continuing to make friends along the way. He often made time to help family members and friends who were in need of his handyman skills. If he didn’t know how to fix something, he refused to quit until he found a way, albeit while uttering a few “colorful” words.
During his free time, Gary enjoyed traveling to various lakes and campsites, camping, fishing and hiking. Marlene was always by his side, ready to prepare and cook the catch of the day. He also loved driving through Boys Town, observing the many geese and goslings in and around the lake. He was always ready to go anywhere whenever the car was in motion. But, most of all, Gary loved being a grandfather and attending his grandchildren’s countless basketball and baseball games while enthusiastically cheering them on. And, yes, these ballgames were yet another way for him to mingle and make even more friends.
Gary loved country music and – often to Marlene’s dismay – would croon along loudly. Singing on key wasn’t one of Gary’s strengths, but that never deterred him from breaking out in song and attempting to harmonize.
Although he wouldn’t agree, Gary definitely made the world a better place. He made the most of the life God gave him and was always grateful for the life he had. He loved people and was a friend to all. To know Gary was to love him. He will be remembered for his humor, his kind acts, his generosity, his love of and dedication to family, his positive attitude and his devotion to God. He will definitely be missed, but not forgotten.
Survived by wife, Marlene I.; son, Jeff (Kari); grandchildren: Owen, Kate, and Chase; nieces; and nephews. Preceded in death by parents, Marjorie and James Machal; sisters, Judith and Ardith.
VISITATION: Friday, September 2, 2022 5:00 – 7:00PM, followed by VIGIL: 7:00PM, all at West Center Chapel. MASS OF CHRITIAN BURIAL: Saturday, September 3, 2022, 10:00AM, Holy Cross Catholic Church, 4810 Woolworth, Ave. INTERMENT: Calvary Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to Mercy High School, Holy Cross Catholic Church, or the Alzheimer’s Association.
To view a live broadcast of the Mass, please go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “view livecast” button.