Gary Messer

Obituary of Gary L. Messer

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Gary L. Messer, 87, died peacefully June 27, 2024, at his home surrounded by his family who had provided unceasing care to him throughout his health struggles and especially in the last days of his life. He was born March 30, 1937, in Milo, the son of Cecil R. and Dorothy A. (McKenney) Messer. Gary was the middle child of three.

Gary grew up in LaGrange and Patten, attending school in those towns until his family moved to Bangor. He graduated from Bangor High School in 1956. He served in the Navy Reserves from April 1955 to April 1957, then enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and was honorably discharged with the rank of lance corporal in April 1963. Gary was a manager for The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., where he met his wife, Sheila A. McManus, and later became a longtime employee for Hannaford Supermarkets, retiring in 2003. Gary was a member of the Knights of Columbus for 25 years.

Gary met Sheila’s younger brothers and sister on New Year’s Eve 1963 when one of the brothers tipped the Christmas tree on them as they sat on the living room sofa. They married August 17, 1964, and endured for almost 60 years, raising four sons. They first moved to Houlton, where Gary worked for the A&P and Sheila took up nursing at Madigan Hospital. In 1968 they moved to Bangor and settled in Bangor Gardens for the rest of their lives together.

An avid outdoorsman and fly fisherman, Gary introduced Sheila to fishing and hunting and schooled their sons in the ways of Maine’s woods, waters, and mountains. Baxter State Park became their playground, particularly South Branch Pond, where they stayed in lean-tos and fished from canoes. More than that, Gary led them on hikes through the wilderness to out-of-the-way cold-water spots and ice-covered lakes where the trout were biting and the red flags snapping. Involving the boys in Boy Scouts, Gary and others planned and chaperoned canoe trips that included runs along the Allagash and Saco rivers and built memories of a lifetime. When the boys were older with families of their own, they continued their tradition of getting away with their father and casting a line or two in Baxter Park.

Gary was predeceased by his parents, his brothers Del and Mike, and his grandsons Ryan and Miles. He is survived by his wife, Sheila, four children: David Messer (AnneMarie) of Bangor; Brian Messer (Mary Beth) of North Olmsted, Ohio; Mark Messer (Dawn) of Hermon; Paul Messer (Erica) of Veazie. He is also survived by 12 grandchildren: Angella Messer, Derek Messer (Brandy), Seth Messer, Jim Thom, Christina (Ryan) Myers, Bob Thom, Brooke Messer, Katie Kelley Messer, Brandon Messer, Eryn Messer, Olivia Messer, Avery Messer; and four great grandchildren: Austin Messer, Taylor Messer, Ryan Messer, and Peter Messer.

The family sends its appreciation to the many people who provided kind and compassionate care to Gary throughout his illness.


Family and friends may call 4 - 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 2, 2024, at Kiley & Foley Funeral Service, 299 Union St., Bangor. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 3, 2024, at St. Paul the Apostle Parish, St. John Catholic Church, York St., Bangor. Burial will follow at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Bangor. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Maine Veterans Project at Messages and memories of Gary may be shared with his family on the tribute wall of



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4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Tuesday, July 2, 2024
Kiley & Foley Funeral Service
299 Union St.
Bangor, Maine, United States
(207) 942-0392

Mass of Christian Burial

10:00 am
Wednesday, July 3, 2024
St. Paul The Apostle Parish, St. Johns Catholic Church
207 York St.
Bangor, Maine, United States


Will immediately afterward at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Bangor
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Gary Messer

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Gary Messer

1937 - 2024

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