Cover photo for Gary Lee Vandergrift's Obituary
1939 Gary 2020

Gary Lee Vandergrift

February 9, 1939 — July 9, 2020


Gary L. Vandergrift

A Wonderful Sense of Humor -

Gary Lee Vandergrift, age 81, of Mechanicsburg, passed away at Claremont Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Carlisle on Thursday, July 9, 2020.  Gary was born on Thursday, February 9, 1939, in Mechanicsburg, to the late George R. Vandergrift and Lillian M. (Murdock) Vandergrift.

Gary’s survivors include his wife of 53 years, Nancy Eileen (Cotner) Vandergrift; his “daughter”: Julia (Taylor) Stuart and husband Ronald of Middletown; his two precious “grandchildren”: Taylor Stuart, Jessi McClure and husband Colton; and his beloved Boston Terriers: Dolly Parton and Daisy Duke.

Gary graduated from Mechanicsburg High School as part of the class of 1957 and proudly served in the U.S. Navy for six years.  He retired from Cummins Power Systems in Harrisburg and later taught diesel mechanic classes at the Cumberland Perry Vocational School in Mechanicsburg for two years.  Gary was an honorary member of the Mechanicsburg Fire Department and a life member of the Washington Fire Company #1 in Mechanicsburg, where he portrayed Santa Claus during the Christmas season for 40 years.  Gary was a life member and past board member of the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing.  He also belonged to the York County Racing Club and the Williams Grove Steam Engine Association.  Gary had a passion for dirt track racing and raced cars in the hobby, late model, and vintage classes.  Although he enjoyed racing at many of the local tracks, Silver Spring Speedway was his favorite.  Gary loved animals and they loved him.   He adored the many Boston terriers that became part of the family over the years.  His family and friends will remember Gary as the “old fart” with a wonderful sense of humor.

Gary’s family will be celebrating his life privately.  Cremation was private.

The family sends their most heartfelt thanks to all of the nurses and aids, especially Isaac and Ryan, who so lovingly cared for Gary during his illness.

Contributions in celebration of Gary’s life can be made to Eastern Museum of Motor Racing, P.O. Box 688, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055,

Gary’s family has entrusted his care to Buhrig Funeral Home & Crematory in Mechanicsburg, (717) 766-3421.  Read Gary’s full obituary, view his photo, offer condolences and sympathy, share stories and memories, upload photographs and videos, light a candle and sign his official guest book by visiting

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gary Lee Vandergrift, please visit our flower store.


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