Deceased February 28, 2021

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In Memory

Gary died on Feb. 28, 2021, predeceased by his wife, Norma, in 2014 after 49 years of marriage. They had two sons who, with their spouses and children, survive him. They were Gary and Norma’s reason for settling in New Orleans.

He spent nearly 32 years of active Naval service as a designated surface warfare officer, 15 of which were on sea duty in cruisers and destroyers and nearly 15 of which were in command of ships, Naval Reserve and readiness installations bases. Gary made three Pacific Vietnam deployments and was deputy commander of 126,000 members of the Naval Surface Reserve Force, of which he directed 21,000 reservists for the first Gulf War. Gary received many Navy awards, including two Legion of Merit honors, two Meritorious Service Awards and the Commendation Medal.

Gary retired from the Navy in 1993 and began helping to establish and then serving many public organizations. He was a founding member and vice chairman of the Belle Classe Academy, the first charter school on a U.S. military base. Other organizations included the New Orleans Mayor’s Military Advisory Committee, Chalmette Refining West Bank Citizens Advisory Panel and Algiers Development District. He was active in Kiwanis and Junior Achievement and a supporter of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.

Gary didn’t intend a life in the Navy. He was working for the New York Telephone Co. when he got a draft notice: “I ran to the nearest Navy recruiter.” He returned to the business world but missed the excitement and challenge of sea service. He came home one day and told Norma that they were going into the Navy. She said, “Good.” He said, “I thought you didn’t like the Navy.” She said, “I don’t, but I like you better in the Navy.”

Paul Bracciotti ’61