It is a sad day today. I have to say goodbye to a very dear friend—Gary Engelmeier.
I have known Gary since I moved to St. James in 1969. I played two years of baseball and football with Gary. I have to say that he is arguably the greatest athlete to come out of STJ. While he was a four-sport athlete, he made his mark playing football and baseball. He went on to start in both baseball and football, as a freshman at Central Missouri.
Gary was such a humble star. You tell him that he had a great game and he would deflect to the team or a teammate. He always told me the reason he was such a good running back was because I was blocking for him. We all know that was a lie; it was all Gary. He did so well at football and he never had the eight or nine years of youth or middle school ball to get ready to play varsity ball. Before a game you could always find him alone somewhere with his bible. Knowing Gary it was for the team to play well and injury free and not for himself to play great.
He was one of the most knowledgeable people I know when discussing how to play a sport. He could show a catcher every technique needed to make a throw to second, and then go demonstrate the footwork needed at first base.
Later in life was always so proud of both his son and grandkids as he watched their sporting events. Never in the bleachers, but always off to the side, never drawing attention to himself, but cheering alone. I told his granddaughter Liv that if she grew up to be half the person grandpa was, she would be a very lucky person.
Gary was my friend for 53 years—not the go out drinking or to dinner type of friend, more the give him a hug and tell him you love him type of friend, which I did every time I saw him. He would give me that silly grin and infectious laugh and we would then proceed to discuss how the coach of that particular sport was messing up.
A scholarship fund has been set up in his name. Rest in peace my friend, you will be missed.