Life Story Visitation
Thursday, May 11, 2023
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Paw Paw Location
60900 Michigan 40
Paw Paw, MI 49079
Where food, drinks, and stories will be shared. The evening will conclude with a time of sharing at 7 PM.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Gary Emerson Stock was born in Kalamazoo, MI and then grew up in the rural communities of Southwest Michigan. He was the youngest of 3 children, having an older brother and sister who taught him a great deal at a young age. His family was one of the first to reside year-round at the famous Maple Lake in Paw Paw, and Gary spent many years boating and exploring the area with his brother and friends. Some of Gary’s fondest memories were helping his Dad with building, gardening, and maintaining their property. His mom, being a school nurse, often brought Gary along with her to immunization clinics - he remembers his family's freezer being stocked with the polio vaccines. He spent many hours with his mom learning how to cook, can vegetables from their garden and recycling techniques. One day, after hearing a morning announcement about a contest for the ‘Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow’, Gary and his friend jokingly showed up for the challenge. And to the chagrin of all the hard-working, home economics students, Gary easily stole the first place prize.
He attended Paw Paw High School and Kalamazoo College where he graduated with his Bachelors of Arts degree in music with a minor in math. He attended graduate school at Indiana University where he excelled in Jazz composition and musical performance. He was a skilled improvisational jazz pianist and served as Music Department Senior Fellow. He led the tenor section of the Kalamazoo Choir and became the music director for many plays and church groups while he was there. In his spare time he made quite a name for himself by performing gigs with fellow musicians at local bars and teaching music lessons/tuning pianos for the Kalamazoo College Music Department, Bach Festival Society, and other professional performance ensembles.
Gary studied German, Latin, Spanish, and could read French and Italian. He enjoyed his time studying as an exchange student in Madrid, Spain for 6 months. He shared fond memories of grabbing a loaf of bread, a hunk of cheese, and hard boiled egg before quickly jumping on a train to the next town for a new adventure.
You could describe Gary Emerson Stock as the "Jack of all trades”, as he was Master of many. He was knowledgeable in the technical & digital realms and also the importance of environmental conservation. He thoroughly enjoyed documenting the resident box turtle population.
Gary was both an innovator and entrepreneur. Together, with his passion for the environment, Gary used his unique mix of talents to educate at both the local and state levels. He was equally meticulous at home in the technical world. Whether he was working on his computer, in front of local governing boards, or walking his woods with an axe, saw, or macheté - he did these things to the best of his ability.
‘Think Globally, Act Locally’ was Gary’s motto. He created a web-based platform that allowed international accessibility while also continuing to work fiercely in his local community. After moving to Lawton, Gary attended every local township meeting. In 2018 he had the honor of serving Antwerp Township as a Trustee on their Board, sat as a Member and Township Liaison on the Planning Commission and from 1995 to date was Chair and Township Board Liaison of the Zoning Board of Appeals. To my knowledge, he never missed a meeting until it became too difficult physically due to his illness.
“I started working for Antwerp Township when I was in my 20's and have worked with Gary on various township issues for over 25 years. I have always respected Gary's intelligence and appreciated his love and protection of nature. He has always been a good steward of the township and worked hard to protect it. Much of this work had been done with little or no compensation and certainly little appreciation. Please let Gary know he has been in my thoughts and give him my thanks for all he has done for Antwerp through the years.” - Ben Brousseau
In his lifetime, he was the Co-Founder and Technical Compass at Nexcerpt / Exfacto, and CTO / Director of Change Technologies at InGenius / Aeneid. He also worked as a Systems and Programming Analyst at the Upjohn Company where he assisted in developing pharmaceuticals such as Minoxidil (known as “Rogaine” to aid in hair growth). He utilized his character strengths to earn his most coveted position - the Special Projects Cryptanalyst, within the DoD, National Security Agency. Most recently he worked as the Information Technology Officer with First National Bank of Michigan, having come from Newmind Group as an IT Managed Services Engineer.
Gary was a gifted speaker and was asked to speak at conferences both here in the U.S. as well as the Dutch Netherlands. From 1988-1990, he was the host of Environmental Update, an award-winning regional cable TV program.
The new digital age provided him with the opportunity to explore new technology. Gary was the innovator of a global, viral sensation titled “Googlewhack". The term googlewhack, coined by Gary Stock, first appeared on the web at UnBlinking.com on 8 January 2002. The goal was to search for two words, then, when placed into a Google search would create a single, solitary result. “My creating "Googlewhack" brought interviews by CNN, Reuters, AP, and BBC for coverage in fifty countries and a dozen languages. I also contributed to O’Reilly Google Hacks, a New York Times business bestseller.” says Gary. As of 2004, 7 million people had utilized this technology and 300,000 whacks had been submitted to the website Gary maintained until the numbers were too overwhelming to keep up with.
Gary was a huge fan of NPR’s Weekend Edition Puzzle with Will Shortz and rarely missed it. He was invited to participate in the show which I was so pleased to find a recording still available here:https://www.npr.org/2004/02/15/1677498/weekend-edition-puzzle
He and his then wife, Julie, were one of the first to create a group of ‘start-up’ internet companies, eventually being bought out by another company at a very generous price. They co-wrote and published an environmental awareness magazine and were generous philanthropists for organizations such as The Nature Conservancy and the Kalamazoo Community Foundation. Gary and Julie were among the original founders of the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (1991–1994). During his lifetime Gary was responsible for approximately 150 acres of land (much of it containing the eastern branch of the Paw Paw river) under conservation easement, and prior to his death prepared a plan for 30 more acres to be protected from development.
Gary was always on the lookout for abandoned couches, old bath tubs, and once even a meth lab that was continually being dumped along 26th street and would initiate the clean-up.
“Gary’s love of the land and all its inhabitants (flora & fauna) will always be remembered. He was a good neighbor who did his best to support everyone in the neighborhood. He supported the safety of all of us by serving as a moderator for the neighborhood watch group. He will be missed.” - Elaine & Doug, Oak Ridge/Antwerp neighborhood watch
Gary Emerson Stock, age 66 and resident of Lawton, Michigan passed away on Monday April 3, 2023 in the loving arms of his partner, Pam. Preceded in death by his parents, Louis Avery Stock and Anna Jane Stock of the Paw Paw and Kalamazoo area, his brother, Rev. Michael Louis Stock, and his brother-in-law. Thomas Sheppardson.
He is survived by his sister, Sandra Jane Stock, his sister-in-law, Sally S. Stock, and his best friend and partner, Pamela Martilla Parise, He was an uncle to five nieces and nephews, nine second cousins, and five great cousins.
“Gary Stock will be remembered as one of the smartest people you will ever meet and as a loyal friend, fabulous musician and an unrelenting champion for the environment. Gary will be missed dearly by those that knew and loved him. This world was a better place with him in it as he cared so much about the world around him. We will all continue to hear the beautiful sound made by the keys on the piano that he gracefully played.” - Maria Maki
A Life Story visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared will be held Thursday, May 11, 2023 from 4-7 pm at the Betzler & Thompson Life Story Funeral Home, 60900 M-40 Hwy; Paw Paw (269) 657-3870. A time of sharing will be held at 7pm. Visit Gary’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook Memorial donations may be made to South West Michigan Land Conservancy or to a Conservancy of your choice.