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Gary Herbert Metzig

January 9, 2020 | 15 comments

Our generous, caring, kind, fun loving and uniquely witty Gary passed away on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at Gunderson Lutheran Hospital after a brief illness.
Gary’s greatest love was his family. His wife, Jeri, was his soulmate and life partner. They had a special, undeniable love for each other and were the best of friends. To all who knew them, Jeri was the yin, to Gary’s yang!
Together, Gary and Jeri raised their two sons, Tyler and Jordan. He was incredibly proud of the fine young men they’ve grown into. They welcomed their beautiful daughter-in-law, Brittney, into the family with open arms. Gary’s family circle didn’t end there. His family included all those who were closest to him, extending beyond Onalaska to Boston, Florida, Chicago, Lake Geneva, Arizona, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Neenah, Oshkosh and more.
Gary dedicated his life work to the hotel and tourism industry for over 40 years. As one who was accustomed to the finest cuisine during his travels, Gary felt most at home in his own kitchen preparing and sharing meals with intimate friends. His favorite family recipes included his unforgettable soups, his perfectly sliced ham and cheese sandwiches and let’s not forget his annual batch of homemade canned tomatoes. His dry and lightning quick sense of humor at appropriate (or better yet) inappropropriate times, could make any situation one of laughter and delight; even in the most stressful of times.
He was born October 23, 1957 in Neenah, Wisconsin. Gary attended Appleton area schools and graduated from Fox Valley Lutheran High School. He is a graduate of UW-Oshkosh and upon graduating, entered the tourism workforce. His extraordinary work career led to many lifelong friendships. On September 11, 1982 he married the love of his life, Jeri Smith of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Gary served in various clubs and organizations including Kiwanis, Meeting Planners International, church council and was an active member of First Lutheran Church of Onalaska.
He is survived by Jeri, his wife of 37 years, his sons Tyler (Brittney), Onalaska and Jordan, Eau Claire; his brother Fred (Vicki ), Neenah; niece Meghan, his sister Mary Pakalski, Tucson, Arizona; sister-in-law Judie Taggart, Lake Geneva; nephew Dave (Becky) Moe, niece Alison (Mark) Routt, nephew Sturge (Barb) Taggart; sister-in-law Mary Smith, Lake Geneva; nephew Tim (Kristen); niece Lindsay (Mike); brother-in-law
 Tim Smith (Joan), Seminole, Fla.; many great-nieces and nephews, treasured cousins and special friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Herbert and Verna Metzig; brother-in laws Gary Pakalski, Terry Smith and Sturge Taggart; nephews Glennie and JohnTaggart; and great-nephew Jason Taggart.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, January 18 at First Lutheran Church, 410 Main Street, Onalaska, Wisconsin 54650. Pastor Jason Stanton will officiate. Family and friends may call the church from 8:30 AM until the time of services.
We would like to express our sincere appreciation to the entire staff at Gunderson Lutheran Hospital who provided extraordinary care for Gary; and for Pastor Jason for his spiritual guidance. We are eternally grateful for the overwhelming amount of support we have received from our family and dear friends who provided comfort during our time of need. Coulee Cremation of Onalaska is assisting the family. In lieu of flowers, please make any donations to First Lutheran Church, Onalaska.



  1. Mary Kron

    We were so saddened to learn of Gary’s passing. We are sending our love to you, Jeri, and the boys. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Keith, Mary, Ben, and Aaron Kron

    • Vicky Gunderson

      Jeri, Tyler, Jordan and family
      You have been and are in our thoughts and prayers. We pray for your comfort and peace knowing he is always a part of you and within you. A great man with a fantastic smile.
      Vicky and Kermit

  2. LuAnn and Chuck Roth

    Jeri, Tyler and Jordan,
    We’re all stunned and so very sad at Gary’s passing. Our love and prayers go out to you. The outpouring of support you’re experiencing is a benefit of a life well lived. One that included deep and extensive friendships. We will all miss him. Rest In Peace, Gary.

  3. Kevin Baneck

    I know Tyler and Jordan through work and can see the strong family commitment in them…..we will keep your family in our thoughts and prayers!

  4. Wendy Nowak

    Tooker: First of all, what a beautifully written obituary. Such a nice tribute to Gary. I would like to send our condolences to you and your boys. May all your good memories help ease the pain of your loss. Gary will now be the angel on your shoulder watching over you and your family. God bless you all. Wendy & Ed Nowak

  5. Candy Sorenson

    There are not words to express the sadness at the sudden loss of such a wonderful family man. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. May the many wonderful memories and love be with you forever.

    • Tess Wheeler

      Dear Jeri, Tyler, Jordan, Mary, Fred and Vicki,

      My thoughts and prayers are with you.

      Sounds like Gig had a fun, wonderful , happy time during his lifetime and right now he is probably up in heaven with Gary having a great time.

      May God Bless you.

  6. Sarah Essmann-Frie

    Dear Jeri, Tyler, and Jordan –
    I am so very sorry to hear of Gary’s passing. You have written a lovely tribute to him. May you all find peace at this difficult time in the happy memories and funny stories that friends and family share. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  7. Diane L Hill

    Jeri and Boys,

    We are so very sorry for sudden loss of such a great man, father and husband. It was a true privilege to have known him and he was equally lucky to have such an awesome wife and sons! I am so sad that we will be out of town next Saturday and will be unable to attend his funeral. Please know that all of you will be in our thoughts and prayers. Love to you and your family Jeri.

  8. Bryan Gilbertson

    I was proud to call Gary a friend in High School. We graduated together. We met a couple times after graduation, usually at class reunions. He will be missed. My condolences to Jeri, and his two sons. Gary was a good man. RIP. Until we meet again. Peace brother. 🥺

  9. Stephanie Jack

    Gary was one of the best! His quick wit and kindness made work into fun! Such a wonderful and perfect tribute to a wonderful and near perfect man. My prayers are with you.

  10. Sarah Lamprecht

    Jeri, Tyler, Jordan and family,
    We are so sorry for the sudden loss of Gary. We are keeping all of you in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. May you find peace in all of the happy memories that you all shared with him.

  11. Jennifer Zaccone

    Jeri, Tyler and Jordan:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. Gary and I enjoyed so many great adventures together! He was a dear friend and I will miss him! You are all in our thoughts and prayers and we will be toasting Gary this upcoming Saturday.

    Our love,
    Jennifer and Lou Zaccone

  12. Sal Sorrentino

    Dear Jeri, Tyler and Jordan:
    Sal and I are very sad to learn of your sudden loss. I hope that your beautiful memories keep Gary’s memories bring you peace.
    Sal and Susie

  13. Peggy Haggerty

    Dear Metzig Family, we are so sorry for your loss. Your family has been in our thoughts and prayers. May the wonderful memories you have help you through this difficult time.
    The Haggerty Family

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