Philip “Gary” Garfield Wienken
Philip Garfield ”Gary” Wienken, CLU, ChFC, CLTC, passed away on June 19, 2023. Born on October 29, 1940 in Centralia, IL, he remained a small town boy at heart. His simple yet civilized approach to life, as well as his warm sense of humor, charmed all who knew him. Gary was born the son of a tender union man, John Wienken, and a classy switchboard operator, Faye Evelyn (Reeves) Wienken. Gary met his bride of 60 years, Patsy Smith, during a junior college play called Laura. After graduating as a self-identified “C” student from Southern Illinois University, he and Patsy married and started their life together in Carbondale, IL. Gary’s friend and cousin, Dale Cozad, tutored him at College Life Insurance Company, setting a lifelong trajectory. Enchanted by a new opportunity and the rolling hills of central Pennsylvania, he packed up and moved his family to State College, PA to start a new adventure as a General Agent. Here is where Gary’s love of investing in both people and businesses began.
While developing a financial sales team of rag tag super stars at Wienken & Associates, he built his family and home on Crandall Drive. Many fondly looked to Gary as a friend, father figure, mentor, and role model. His business eventually multiplied locations spanning the state. Gary’s foresight and business acumen enabled him to invest in many local businesses and support numerous local charities. He became successful in work endeavors, and though he surprised himself, no one else batted an eye.
In his professional life, his crowning achievement was the family oriented culture he and Patsy created at W&A. With his “drive by” management style and his casual yet straightforward ease, Gary led by championing others and calmly delegating while maintaining his open-door approach as the Hondo in charge. He was also affectionately known at work as G. Money, P. Gar, and Elvis (much to his delight). Managing ambiguity became his forte. Gary’s collaborative style allowed for others to be mentored, elevated, and celebrated. He loved as he led, right up until “Elvis had left the building.”
In his personal life, his crowning glory was his family. He was fondly known as Papa, yo-Pops, At Your Service Limo, Fadu, and Bro. All four children and 13 grandchildren knew and believed they were, indeed, his favorite (NOSE). Papa found immense delight in taking his grandkids on tractor rides, to Hershey Park, Brothers Diner, and the Sports Emporium. He loved watching “The Incredibles” and cheering on Penn State football with them, as well as hosting epic family Christmas celebrations for them. Gary had many interests such as listening to Lake Wobegon tales, admiring architecture and landscaping, enjoying nature, and simply being with Patsy and his family. The newest technology enamored him as did his pontoon boat, Motown and blues music, and of course as everyone knew — GOLF. He faithfully exercised every M-W-F. Even in retirement, he loved his daily rhythms and was the king of habit building (which would make his idol Stephen Covey proud).
If one could whittle Gary’s life into a word, it would be FAMILY. Though Gary was born into a small, loving one, he married into the big hearted, boisterous Smith clan of seven siblings plus “outlaws” who took him on a “Sentimental Journey” through life. And he loved every one of them. They adored and adopted him as a brother from another mother through decades of beloved reunions and all of life’s joys and sorrows. To all of Gary’s family in every realm, he remained a safe harbor of support, levity, and love. His love, as Big As The Sky, will be with them always.
Gary’s survivors include his wife of 60 years, Patsy Ann (Smith) Wienken; his 4 children: Kristen Logan and her husband, Brian, of Mechanicsburg; Jennifer White and her husband, David, of Mechanicsburg; Matthew Wienken of Lewisberry; Allison Stryd and her husband, Todd, of Fort Washington; and his 13 grandchildren. In addition to his parents, Gary is preceded in death by his brother, John D. Wienken.
All are welcome to join Gary’s family at his memorial service, which will begin at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 13, 2023 at Mechanicsburg First Church of God, 28 East Main Street, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055; with Mr. Anthony “Tony” Feliciano officiating. Gary’s family invites everyone to join them for an in person where they will greet guests at Buhrig’s Gathering Place (across from the church), from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Friends and family are invited to attend the service or the open house or both. Parking for both events is available in the over 100 parking spaces at Buhrig Funeral Home & Crematory and Buhrig’s Gathering Place; just look for the “Buhrig” parking signs in all of the parking lots. Cremation was private.
Contributions in celebration of Gary’s life can be made to Bethesda Mission, P.O. Box 3041, Harrisburg, PA 17105, http://www.BethesdaMission.org/Help-Bethesda/Donate.
Gary’s family has entrusted his care to Buhrig Funeral Home & Crematory in Mechanicsburg, (717) 766-3421. Read Gary’s full obituary, view his memorial video and portrait, offer condolences and sympathy, share stories and memories, upload photographs and videos, light a candle and sign his official guest book by visiting Buhrig.com