Gary Monroe Cella, 80, passed away at his home in Loganton, on February 12, 2022.
Gary was born on January 14, 1942, in Paterson, NJ, son of the late John D. and Mildred (Brodmerkel) Cella. A 1960 graduate of Butler High School, he enlisted in the United States Navy and served from 1960-1967. He was a Ballistic Missile Fire Control Technician, Petty Officer 2nd Class on the USS James Monroe and USS Canopus. During his service, he received the Good Conduct Medal, was a plank owner on the USS James Monroe, and was inducted into the 'Order of the Blue Nose' on a mission above the Arctic Circle.
After his honorable discharge from the US Navy, Gary moved to central Pennsylvania. He worked for J.A. Jones, hauling explosives used to blast the mountain between Lock Haven and Loganton so that I-80 could be completed. On June 14th, 1969, he was united in marriage to Patricia (Pat) Russo at St. Agnes Catholic Church in Lock Haven, PA.
While attending college, he worked part-time at C.L. Miller Garage and Bell Telephone. In 1972 he graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor's degree in Industrial Arts Education, then taught at Keystone Central. He became a truck driver for Thompson's Packing Company, hauling swinging beef then worked at Fred Hoy Construction, assembling steel buildings, and operating heavy equipment. Later he performed maintenance and mechanical work at Ridge Homes, before working on the assembly line at Champion Parts, from which he retired.
Gary was a jack-of-all-trades, great problem solver, and could think outside the box! Putting his education to work, he drafted, designed, and with the help of family, built the family home in Loganton. To this day, it lacks siding because that modification would have raised the taxes! He was a great mechanic and could fix just about anything. Over the years he did work for many of the neighbors, servicing diesel engines, fixing farm machinery, and finding creative solutions to problems.
Gary enjoyed hunting, fishing, and trapping; he was a member of the NRA and the Pennsylvania Trappers Association. He loved feeding and watching the birds on the back porch, tinkering on projects, and reading. A dog lover, all the neighbor dogs knew his car and loved him because he always had treats in his car or pocket. He enjoyed sharing stories of his adventures and imparting his wealth of knowledge to others. Everyone that knew Gary could never pass up a yard sale; he was the living embodiment of 'One man's trash is another man's treasure!'
What many did not know is that while Gary was not always a people person, he did a lot behind-the-scenes to help his wife, daughters, and the community. For many years, he helped design scenes for the Sugar Valley Haunted Hayride. The most notable was the huge train that he constructed from an old car, building a frame covered with black plastic and completing it with an air horn and head lights. Gary also helped with the local Girl Scout Troops by cutting tree limbs to make name tags, teaching orienteering, and making countless buddy burners, box stoves and fire starters!
Gary is survived by his daughters Jennifer (Robert) Johns of Virginia Beach, VA, and Traci (Timothy) Wilson of West Des Moines, IA; the son he never had, Justin Snook of Castanea; four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He is also survived by one brother, Craig (Charlene) Cella, two nephews, Mark (Alethea) Cella, and Matt (Tammy) Cella all of Loganton, a sister-in law Mary Jo (Bruce) Mathie of Montoursville, one niece Beth (Ben) Hellar of State College, and numerous cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents and wife of 52 years.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Sugar Valley Historical Society, Sugar Valley Community Volunteer Fire Company, or Misfit Hounds Dog Rescue through the funeral home. Interment will be at the convenience of the family.
Please join us for a Celebration of Life at Sugar Valley Firehouse Banquet Hall on Saturday, February 19th from 4:00pm - 6:00pm. Come share your best Gary story.