Gary Wayne Elder, Nov. 30, 1951 — May 7, 2012, of Ridgecrest, Calif.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 | 4:20 p.m. CDT

Gary Wayne Elder, 60, of Ridgecrest, Calif. passed away suddenly on May 7, 2012.

Memorial services will be at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, May 27, 2012 at Bach-Yager Funeral Chapel, 1610 N. Garth Ave., Columbia, MO.  A time of gathering for family and friends will follow the service.

Gary was born November 30, 1951 to James and Jaunita Griggs Elder and they preceded him in death.

Survivors include two sons, Jason and David Elder of St. Charles, MO; two sisters, Patsy Wyatt (Bill) and Judy Lytle (Bob) and an aunt, Mildred Pomie, all of Columbia.  He was also a dear uncle, cousin, step-dad, grandpa, teacher, mentor and friend to many.   

Gary held many jobs in his lifetime, but his passion always remained with teaching and mentoring.  He was an outstanding Special Education teacher who often spent his own money in creating incentives to encourage each student to work hard and to give his or her best effort.  While most teachers focus on teaching only academics, Gary also concentrated on teaching important social skills so that his students could function successfully in society both in the business and social worlds.  He was a firm believer in not leaving any child behind.  He worked tirelessly to leave a positive impact on his students.  Gary was dearly loved and respected by his students and his colleagues.  He was a gifted man who loved living life to the fullest and will be greatly missed by many.

Online condolences and tributes may be shared with the family at

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