John “Gary” Vannoy Sr., 79, of Millers Creek passed away Sunday, March 15, 2020, at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. Gary was born Aug. 23, 1940, in Wilkes County to R. Wrenn and Ann Pardue Vannoy.
He was preceded in death by his parents and a daughter, Laura Vannoy.
Gary is survived by his wife, Sheila Hamby Vannoy; his sons, Jay Vannoy and spouse, Beth, of Wilkesboro, Lance Mastin and spouse, Misty, and Tyler Mastin and spouse, Kecia, all of Millers Creek; a brother, Mike Vannoy and spouse, Lauren, of Winston-Salem; a nephew, Mark Vannoy and spouse, Brandy, of Raleigh; his niece, Merrill Shaw and Josh Stewart of Winston-Salem; his grandchildren, Tate Vannoy and Alec Vannoy, both of Wilkesboro, and McKenzie Mastin, Aaliyah Mastin, Jordan Mastin, Trenton Mastin and Lindsey Mastin, all of Millers Creek.
“Papa Gee,” as he was called, loved all his family dearly and, especially, his grandkids. He was compassionate, caring and supportive. He rarely missed any of their activities, like ball games, school functions and musical performances. He had an infectious smile, a big shoulder to lean on and always provided calming, good advice to his family.
These qualities carried over to his profession as well. He cared for his clients and worked hard to help them. He truly believed his job as a lawyer was to help people, and that is what he enjoyed doing for over 55 years.
He received his undergraduate education from Mars Hill College and Wake Forest University (1962), and he was a 1964 graduate of Wake Forest University School of Law. Early in his career, he was appointed by the governor to be a county court judge in Wilkes County, which he did for two years. In 1968, he started his own law firm in North Wilkesboro that is now Vannoy, Colvard, Triplett and Vannoy. Gary was one of the last of a generation of lawyers who did not specialize in one area of law, but maintained a general practice. During his years of practice, he has worked in about every field of law there is, including real estate, corporate, family law, litigation in both civil and criminal courts, estate planning and administration and business law. He also worked in municipal law, serving as the town attorney for North Wilkesboro from 2008 to 2019. He hardly ever turned down a case and was successful in all those different areas of law. For his work and dedication to the practice of law, he was inducted into the North Carolina Bar Association General Practice Hall of Fame in 2018.
In addition to his legal work, he was involved in the community by working with local organizations and clubs. He, along with others, was instrumental in commercial and residential development in the community, with projects such as West Park in North Wilkesboro and the Woodfield development in Wilkesboro. Over the years, he served on the board of directors of numerous civic organizations and was a longtime director for First Citizens Bank.
His home away from home was Montana. He traveled there often to hunt, fish and just enjoy the scenery and people. He loved Montana and met many people there who became lifelong friends of his.
Due to the continuing concerns and restrictions related to COVID-19, the family will hold a private memorial service. The service will be broadcast on Wilkesboro Baptist Church’s Facebook page, YouTube and Vimeo on June 7, 2020, at 2 p.m. In addition, the service may be viewed on the Miller Funeral Service website and Facebook page. If you wish, please join the family virtually on June 7 at 2 p.m. to celebrate Gary’s life.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Heart Association and/or Minutes Matter-MCADD. Minutes Matter-MCADD is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization started in honor of Gary’s youngest grandson, Alec Vannoy. Alec was born with a rare genetic metabolic disorder, Medium Chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase Deficiency (MCADD). The nonprofit helps to educate both the public and the medical community about MCADD, serves as a support network for all families of those affected by the disorder, advocates for more timely newborn screening, and ultimately will search for a cure for this disorder. Donations to Minutes Matter-MCADD may be sent to P.O. Box 281, Wilkesboro, N.C. 28697.
Miller Funeral Service is in charge of the arrangements. Online condolences may be made at www.millerfuneralservice.com.