Gary Ethan Bjorn
August 17, 1936 – July 10, 2022
On Sunday morning, July 10, 2022 at the age of 85, Gary Ethan Bjorn of Kansas City, MO was united with His Savior. He passed peacefully with his wife, Sandy, by his side. Gary was born on August 17, 1936, in Audubon County, IA to Anders and Thelma (Bartlett) Bjorn, the seventh of nine children. His parents let his older sisters name him, and they chose Gary, because of their love for Gary Cooper. He graduated Valedictorian of Exira High School in 1955. He attended Iowa State University, before transferring to Northwest Missouri State University, where he met his wife, Sandy. He graduated with a degree in Education and was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.
Gary was preceded in death by his parents, Anders and Thelma Bjorn, his siblings Paul Bjorn, Richard Bjorn, Elaine Landon and Barbara Lensch, and grandchild Dylan Wilkerson. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Sandy, his children, Bob (Cindy) Bjorn of Kansas City, Amy (Scott) Hickox of Liberty, five grandchildren: Ethan Bjorn of Kansas City, Noah Hutson of Kansas City, Allison (Mark) Wopata of Columbia, MO, Connor Hickox of Chicago, IL and Cooper Hickox of Los Angeles, CA, and siblings Bill Bjorn of Creston, IA, Betty Poulsen of Audubon, IA, Jan McCollough of Camano Island, WA, and Karen Diehl of Port Hueneme, CA.
After teaching middle school history for a year, Gary embarked on a career with the federal government. Even though he left the teaching profession, he continued to read voraciously, as he had since he was a child. He was always learning. He retired in 1994 from the Department of Health and Human Services. In retirement he enjoyed volunteering at the Nearly New Thrift Store where he served on the board for several years, and later volunteered at Hillcrest Ministries. He and Sandy enjoyed traveling both domestically and internationally with a real fondness for Europe.
He was an avid sports fan and participant. He played baseball in high school, coached Bob and his friends in baseball for years, and went on to play softball into his 60’s and golf into his late 70’s. He was a passionate fan of the Royals and Chiefs, and he and Sandy had season tickets to the UMKC basketball games for 20 years. He also enjoyed woodworking and built handcrafted pieces of furniture for his wife and children.
Gary lived his life serving others, quietly and humbly. For decades, he regularly gave blood and platelets as often as they would allow him. He went through two years of training to prepare himself to teach the Bethel Bible curriculum to others. Whether it was family, neighbors or even complete strangers, when anyone needed help, Gary was always ready and willing.
He leaves a legacy of kindness and generosity, faithfulness and humility. His serving continues in his passing as he has donated his body to KU Medical Center for research.
Please join us for a celebration of life at the Park Hill Christian Church. The family will receive friends from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m., Thursday, July 14, 2022 at Park Hill Christian Church 6601 N.W. 72nd Street Kansas City, MO. A Memorial Service celebrating Gary’s life will commence at 6:00 p.m. at the church with Pastor Scott Hickox officiating. LIVESTREAM will also be available for the Celebration of Life Service at eStreaming – PARK HILL CHRISTIAN CHURCH (parkhillcc.org) In lieu of flowers the family suggests Memorial contributions be made to Kansas City Hospice or Park Hill Christian Church. Memories of Gary and condolences to the family may be shared at meyersfuneralchapel.com.