Gary John Demichelis

January 27, 2020

Gary John Demichelis, a longtime resident of Miami, Arizona, died on January 23rd, 2020, after a long battle with lung cancer.  He was 64 years old. 

Gary is survived by his daughter, Barbara Ann Warner, and 3 brothers and 2 sisters.  Bobby Demichelis (Denver, CO), Richard Demichelis (Arlene) (Aurora, CO), Bernard Demichelis (Ramona) (Aurora, CO), Nancy Lopez  (Jeff) (Cave Creek, AZ), and Kathy Fischer (Gary) (Buckeye, AZ).  Along with many nieces, nephews, and friends.   He is predeceased by his mother and father, John and Alice Demichelis. 

He was born in Chariton, Iowa on June 28th, 1955 to father John Demichelis and mother; Alice Demichelis.   He grew up in a large, loving family with 3 brothers and 2 sisters.  Gary lived in Iowa until the age of 9 years old.  He moved to Miami, Arizona as he suffered severe asthma and was told a warmer climate would benefit his health.  His parents were avid farmers and decided on Miami, Arizona, as his father could gain employment at the Copper Mine.   During his childhood, he attended Holy Angels Parochial school.  He was a very creative writer and enjoyed writing poetry.  During his high school years, he was on the Bowling and Track teams and excelled in both sports. 

Gary shared a passion for the outdoors.  Camping, hiking, and fishing were his hobbies.  He had another passion, and that was for rocks and minerals.  He accumulated a large rock collection and would often teach his nieces and nephews the differences in the rocks.   There were many rock shows that he attended and he learned to make small figurines out of his rock collection.  He also shared a love for reading books.  Although Gary had a rough exterior, he had a big loving heart underneath it all.  He cared deeply for his family and pets. 

He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2016, he obtaining chemo/radiation treatments for 3 years.  Gary remained dedicated and optimistic that he would beat the cancer.  He remained brave, even throughout his final weeks.  Never wanting to burden anyone with his care.  

He requested to be cremated and wanted his remains to be spread out in the forest.  After some research, we found a company called Better Home Forest that could fulfill his wishes.  This company purchased 160 acres of land in the forest of Flagstaff, Arizona.  We have purchased a tree, and Gary’s remains will be mixed into the soil of the tree, along with a headstone at the base of the tree.   Please visit www.betterhomeforest.com for details.   A memorial service was held in Phoenix, Arizona, and a celebration of life will be planned in Flagstaff, Arizona upon the opening of Better Home Forest (Mid-Summer).

The family would especially like to thank the staff at May’s Haven and Aviant Hospice for their constant, attentive treatment and care of Gary in his final months with us.  His cremation was handled by Horizon Funeral Care in Mesa, AZ.   You can post condolences to their website at www.horizonfuneralcare.com. Donations can be sent to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  They are the leaders in Lung Cancer Research.  They can be sent to https://giving.mskcc.org/lung-cancer.

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