My brother the car whisperer

Gary, left, shown here with brother Dave, loved cars from an early age.

When Gary Crowe was 16, his life was disrupted by the arrival of a little sister (me). Very shortly thereafter, he got sick with appendicitis. So sick, in fact, that Mom and Dad had to sign off on a not-yet-approved drug in order to save his life.

Thankfully, he recovered, but he’d missed so much school that he ended up dropping out. In the 1960s, North Central High School in Indianapolis did not have programs for budding auto mechanics like him. Gary loved cars, classic cars in particular. He worked for a number of automobile shops in Indianapolis and always had a car with which he was, or had been, tinkering. One was a red MG convertible, and I remember Gary, older brother Dave, and I tooling around in it.

He moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1978 and worked for a car dealership, eventually heading its service department. For a few years, he lived on a 35-foot cabin cruiser.

I’m not even sure what this was, but Gary understood it.

Gary always answered my car and computer questions (which also gave me an excuse to check in with him) and even helped me buy a car from across the country. As the years went by and the recession threw bumps and craters in his employment path, he discovered a talent and love for cooking.

Gary passed away Feb. 25, 2021 at age 70 in California.

While trying to think through ways to celebrate my brother’s life during a pandemic, I kept going back to his high school days. Would a vocational program have kept him in school? Probably. I can’t know for sure, but I do know the folks who work on our cars deserve good training in everything from basic engine function to the intricacies of today’s vehicles. As a supervisor, Gary would no doubt have appreciated new mechanics who came well prepared to diagnose and repair.

Therefore, I invite anyone who would like to do so to contribute to the automotive services program at the J. Everett Light Career Center at North Central to help today’s car whisperers get started. Just follow the link to the online giving form, select the “in memory of” option, and type in Gary Crowe under additional gift information. The very kind folks there will get it to the right place.

Ride on, Gary.

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