Gary Duane Jenlink
April 19, 1949 - September 18, 2021
Gary Duane Jenlink, 72, left this life to meet his Savior on September 18, 2021 at his home of the last 36 years outside Cherokee.
Gary was born on April 19, 1949 in Cherokee to Lloyd and Helen Jenlink. His early years were replete with the happenings that any farm-boy would relish—riding the family’s horse “Brownie,” bursting through snow-drifts on an over-turned car-hood, shooting field rats in the feed-shocks behind Joe Buck’s barn, but mostly, spending time with his father and grandfather.
He graduated from Lambert High School in 1967. Though an exemplary student, his occasionally ornery nature and appreciation for practical jokes saw Gary and a few friends fill the school’s front hallway with turnips, throw typewriters from second-story windows, and watch a friend nearly set the school ablaze when attempting to make gunpowder in chemistry lab. He earned a degree in Industrial Arts Education from Northwestern Oklahoma State University, and taught briefly in Maize, Kansas, before returning to Alfalfa County to farm and raise cattle alongside his father.
Gary and his wife, Launa, were married on March 22, 1980, though they celebrated several anniversaries on March 20th until stumbling upon a napkin from their wedding reception evidencing the actual date. Together, they raised two sons, Ryan and Aaron, who spent many of their early years napping at their father’s feet in the tractor cab.
Gary was an avid woodworker, spending countless nights before Christmas building wooden toys for Ryan and Aaron. Out of his shop came many a meticulously-crafted gifts and blue-ribbon county fair exhibits.
Gary was a gifted artist and a talented musician. He loved to play the classics by Frederic Chopin and Scott Joplin’s ragtime songs on the piano, though Launa remembers him as the handsome keyboard player in a high school rock band. Gary also played the guitar, often accompanying Launa at church programs.
A lover of aviation, especially classic warbirds, Gary enjoyed taking his sons to the annual airshow at Vance AFB. He was particularly proud when Aaron earned his private pilot’s license and reveled in Aaron’s flyovers while working in the field.
Gary was not-at-all afraid of hard work and preferred to be active. While he appreciated work, he absolutely loved an opportunity to do that work surrounded by his family. He cherished time spent stacking alfalfa bales with his sons and father, planting trees with Launa around their property, and picking vegetables with his mother in the garden.
Above all else, Gary loved the Lord. He was the model of kindness, compassion, humility, and service to others. Ryan recalls a friend who captured his father’s essence perfectly after meeting him only briefly, noting that while Gary might not have much to say you knew that when he spoke, it would be worth listening. Those that knew him well will remember Gary’s resilience, his steadfast character, and his wit and accompanying cheerful laugh. Most notably, Gary would quip that he spent many years “addicted to The Hokey Pokey, but then he turned himself around!”
Gary returned to teaching, spending over a decade as the art and woodworking instructor at Burlington High School until his retiring from teaching. Gary’s love for others was reflected in his students’ admiration and, though he shied away from compliments, he was often cited by students as a favorite teacher and a source of inspiration.
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Gary was preceded in death by his father, Lloyd; he is survived by his mother, Helen; his wife, Launa; his son and daughter-in-law, Ryan and Sherry along with their daughters, Sydney and Abigail, of Prosper, Texas; his son and daughter-in-law, Aaron and Ashley along with their daughters, Gentry and Remi, of Cherokee; and his sister and brother-in-law, Kathy and Lowell Wallace, of Sparks, along with numerous cousins, nieces and their families.
Funeral service for Gary will be Friday, September 24, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. at Faith Center in Meno. Burial will follow at Cherokee Municipal Cemetery with arrangements by Lanman Funeral Home, Inc. of Cherokee. Viewing will be Thursday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. www.lanmanmemorials.com Facebook: Lanman Funeral Home Inc. Memorials may be given to Provision Outreach through the funeral home or the following scholarship fund.
A scholarship fund in memory of Gary Jenlink is being established at Oklahoma State University. Gifts may be made by: --visiting www.osugiving.com;
-selecting the “Give” button in the top right-hand corner of the page;
-selecting “Memorial Fund” from the drop-down menu;
-selecting or entering the amount you wish to donate; and
-selecting the “In Memory of” check-box; and
-entering “Gary Jenlink” in the comments box.