Cover photo for Gary Lee Conklin's Obituary
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1943 Gary 2023

Gary Lee Conklin

March 11, 1943 — October 30, 2023

St. Johns

     Gary Lee Conklin, age 80, of St. Johns, MI, passed away Monday, October 30, 2023.    
       Funeral Services will be held at Smith Family Funeral Homes Elsie, MI at 11:00 A.M. on Friday, November 3, 2023, with Pastor Andy Croel officiating. At a later date, burial will take place at Riverside Cemetery, Elsie, MI. Visitation will be held on Thursday, November 2, 2023 from 2-8 P.M. with family present from 2-4 & 6-8 P.M. at the funeral home.  
     Gary was born in Elsie, MI on March 11, 1943, the son of Bernard W. and Lucille Marie (Loynes) Conklin.  He was a graduate of Elsie High School.  He married Sharon Kay (Searles) Conklin and would have been married for 21 years in November of this year.
      Even when distance separates us we can keep images close to our hearts, such as a happy face and big smile.  Gary greeted family with a glimmer in his eyes, a big bright smile and a hug that felt like a vice grip.  For many years, Gary and Sharon loved spending winters down south together. He was an avid sportsman, and enjoyed fishing and hunting. He did enjoy watching his boy’s dirt track racing, going to semi-truck shows and was excited about Ken and the boy's trucks. Gary had a huge sweet tooth and knew the best places to get homemade pies and donuts, but nothing compared to desserts made by family. He was passionate about sharing stories of his early life in Elsie and loved hearing about new things discovered in the research of their family tree. Gary retired from General Motors.  He passed away doing what he loved, hunting. On his last day, he finally got that 10-point buck that he had been waiting for, which surely brought that big smile to his face.  
       Gary is survived by his wife Sharon Conklin; daughter Lisa Marie (Matt Meyer) Conklin; daughter Deborah (Brad) Hinken; daughter Angela (Matt) Yeager; son Christopher Smith; daughter Melody (Ricardo) Palacios; daughter Nancy Smith; son Kenneth (Tracy Carson) Smith; grandchildren:  Zechariah, Caleb, Nicole, Sarah, Sam, Travis, Jarred, Amber, Branden, Myranda, Chandra, Ashton, Erica, Tyler, Lindsey, Ethan, Ryan, Jacob, Marissa, Toni, Crystal, and Megan; 15 great-grandchildren; sister Carol (Ed) Polack; several nieces and nephews; devoted pet Tilly. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Dora Mae Linman, brother Terry Conklin, son Shaun Conklin, son Mark and Pauline Smith, and great-granddaughter Ann Marie Palacios.    
        Memorials may be made to Kids Hunting Foundation, website:         m.kidshuntingfoundation.com. Online condolences can be sent to www.smithfamilyfuneralhomes.com. The family is being served by Smith Family Funeral Homes, Elsie, MI.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, November 2, 2023

2:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

Smith Family Funeral Homes Elsie

221 E. Main Street, Elsie, MI 48831

Family present from 2-4 & 6-8 P.M

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Funeral Service

Friday, November 3, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Smith Family Funeral Homes Elsie

221 E. Main Street, Elsie, MI 48831

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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