- 76 years old
- Date of birth: Sep 11, 1939
- Place of birth:
Detroit, Michigan, United States
- Date of passing: Aug 28, 2016
- Place of passing:
San Marcos, California, United States
|"Who has more fun than people?" "When the going gets tough, the tough get going!" "Oh Lord it's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way."|
MEMORIAL SERVICE SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1st, 11am
St. Paul of Tarsus
41300 Romeo Plank Road, Clinton Township, MI 48038
This site is a tribute to Gary "Elvis" Mettie, who was born in Detroit, Michigan on September 11, 1939. Gary was the life of the party and often asked "Who has more fun than people?". Although he was an altar boy, and attended Catholic masses through much of his life, he wasn't a perfect man, despite his constant efforts to convince us of this by singing "Oh, lord it's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way"... He loved his family and friends, and would spend hours calling extended family members (at 5 o'clock) to enjoy a Mettie Manhattan as they chat. Gary had many years of fun.... pitching baseball while on scholarship to University of Detroit, playing baseball to avoid latrine duty in the Army Reserves, and continued to play until his early 70's at Tiger Fantasy Camp in Florida. While playing the field at U of D, Gary fell in love at first sight with Nan Guatto. Nan became the love of his life and they were married for 45 years, many of which were happy years. Gary spawned two lovely daughters, Terri Ann Mettie and Cheryl Hanson, and though he secretly wanted boys, he was thrilled when they turned out to be athletes. Gary instilled a competitive spirit in his girls at an early age when he encouraged them to fight over which one got to pick the t-shirt lint out of his belly button when he came home from work each night. He coached them in junior high basketball and upset the reigning champions when he took his team of underdogs to win the city championship. He taught his girls to be pitchers, too, which paved the way to their subsequent high school MVP awards. Gary finally handed off the responsibility for his daughter, Cheryl, to John Hanson, his stellar son-in-law. Gary loved his kids and was the proud grandpa "Papa" of Trevor and Taylor Hanson. Gary was a huge sports fan, playing basketball, baseball, bocce, badmitton, and anything with balls. He even played catch with his young brother-in-law Mark Guatto, tossing him back and forth to his friends (well before Mark topped off at his 6'-5" giant stature).
Gary worked at GM where he got to drive all the cool cars and bought his wife a Special Edition Trans Am with T-tops. He entertained his co-workers as a Pontiac Motors Program Manager and part-time Elvis impersonator for 31 years. Gary retired GM early to continue to build his social network and hone his skills as Elvis. Instead of business cards, Gary handed out his Detroit Tigers Fantasy baseball cards with all the vital stats for Gary "Elvis" Mettie.
Family was very important to Gary. He spent years driving the old woody wagon up north to vacation with his family on Sand Lake, captaining the pontoon for his infamous sunset cocktail cruises. Many weekends and holidays were spent with his fun-loving parents, Norm and Alyce Mettie, his sister and brother-in-law, Jan and Dick LaFaive and the whole LaFaive crew. Gary loved spending time and festive holidays with his many aunts, uncles and cousins, singing and laughing on the round robins and playing games at the family picnics. Gary was also a good son to his in-laws, Mary and Joe Guatto, helping build decks, make ice rinks and eating a lot of homemade pasta at Nonie's Sunday dinners.
He kept in touch with his old buddies from Austin High School and University of Detroit. He loved his friends and loved to share his energy and silliness with them....except you, Bob, he never really liked you.
Gary brought fun everywhere he went (along with a blow- up microphone, guitar, Elvis scarf and glasses with sideburns).
On Sunday, August 28, 2016, Gary "Elvis" Mettie left the building. He is much loved and will always be remembered.
"I remember cousin Gary three months before he was born. I can't remember the occasion, but his mother Alyce (pregnant with Gary) and his father Norm were over at our house. The funny part of this visit was when they left, Norm had to crank their 1925 Dodge to get started. How's that for old memories?
Gary was approximately 10 years younger than I, we finally met competitively playing senior softball in Clarkston. He would go through his Elvis act after games. That entertained everyone. Gary played for Troy, and I played for Clarkston. In one game Gary was playing 1st base and I hit a single to the outfield. As I touched 1st base, Gary turned and shouted "why don't you just act your age!" Very funny. Everyone around laughed for five minutes. That is my most fond memory of Gary. Great Guy."
You are missed…by me, my family, your family and friends. I know you recently celebrated your birthday on Sunday. I’m sure you were up in heaven with those who have passed before you singing, “Your a Hunk O’ Hunk of Burning Love?” and “Love me Tender”. I actually listened to these songs when I went to the beach Sunday to “think and reminisce” while everyone else in San Diego was watching football. I started to go for a run, then stopped and actually laughed out loud thinking how you and I would go for a run. You would only run when someone was coming in your direction. When they passed, you would stop. I’d look back and ask what you were doing. You said, “why run when others aren’t looking? “ When you visited me in San Diego and saw all the runners you said,“why is everyone in such a hurry around here?” I laughed again. You made me laugh with your silly jokes. “Who has more fun then people?” In the morning you would put on your “go forward shoes”. What!? You told me your slippers were “go forward shoes” because you could only go forward in them or they would come off. You were such a goof.
I have so many fond memories with you. You were so “big and strong” to Terri and I when we were young. You would come home from work and have us swing on each one of your biceps. We would compete with each other once again…who could hang on longer. I would usually win because I would dig my nails into you for extra grip (right Ter?) :) Of course you wanted us to play sports. So starting at a young age you instilled the competitive spirit in us. From Softball to Basketball, soccer, track and even bowling where we still proudly display our trophy’s. My CA friends are like, “Really? Bowling State Champion?”…that’s what we did in Michigan. You said, "if you were going to do, you’re going to do it well.” Or was it, “Take all you want, but eat all you take?” Something like that.
Your passion for sports made us who we are today. It instilled confidence (concentration and connection..the 3 C’s) into us which is what all teenage girls need. To have that feeling of accomplishment and teamwork..a purpose and a goal. Your dedication to the church gave us a foundation from which to develop our morals and values. We weren’t too happy with the fact that we had to use our allowance to put in small envelopes and donate to the church each Sunday. But even that gave us an appreciation for the value of a dollar and how to budget, save and (not) spend. I remember in college I didn’t “budget” my money appropriately. I guess I wanted a beer more than electricity. So when I couldn’t blow dry my big hair because my power was turned off due to unpaid bills, you taught me a lesson and did not bail me out. I had to live with wet hair and cold meals until I worked harder to pay those bills off. I had to pay you interest when borrowing money, bondo my own car if I wanted it to look better and work my way through college at Spartan Spirit. I was mad at the time. But honestly, as an adult , I’m so happy you did that. You taught me the value of money.
Dad, you were so proud to send your girls to Michigan State. We would go to football games together and belt out the Michigan State fight song. Even these last few years you would call me EVERY SINGLE time MSU was playing in a game whether it basketball or football. You had to make sure I was aware. 3 weeks before you passed away we watched the re-run of the MSU vs. U of M game played last season. When MSU got that touchdown in the last 10 seconds to win, you smiled big and we both broke out in, “Go right through for MSU….” Thank you for that!
Dad, I had no idea how it would effect me when you died. It is still raw, but I focus on the memories. I am happy I got to spend the week with you in AZ as we were figuring things out. I feel relieved that we were able to get you back closer to me to San Diego where you could see your grandchildren, John, Terri, and Mom. And I am so blessed…more than you will ever know... that I was at your side for days and nights leading up to your passing. This quiet, alone time with you allowed me to process what was happening. It allowed me to share with you stories, pictures and memories. It allowed me to play your Elvis songs, give you that soothing Lavender bath and hold your hand as you passed away peacefully.
Nobody is faultless. No relationships are perfect. But I can say that I’m so proud you are my Dad. I’m happy you taught me to love, be athletic, confident, funny (at least I think I am), and just to be who I am today. As a parent myself, I hope to raise my children to be loving and successful. Successful defined as “ being happy in life, surrounded with love and friends”. That is what you did for me and I’m so thankful for that. I love you!!
“Daddy’s little girl”,
Cher Bear xoxo"
"Cousin Gary will be missed - he brought fun everywhere he went! Terri & Cheryl, we send our condolences. He will be missed. Our dad's (Earl Hagen) played ball Senior Softball with eachother - I shared pictures of one of those times - about 8 years ago he had my children pretending they were a part of the Elvis experience with him. We'll miss his laughter and fun loving spirit!"
"Gary was a key team member in our Sales Analysis area at Pontiac. He was always keeping everyone in a good mood with his upbeat personality and love of life. i fell victim to the Mettie Manhattan more than once. Heaven has a new ace pitcher."
"I am so sorry to learn of Gary's passing. I worked with Gary from May, 1982 to March, 1984 in Pontiac Marketing Operations. He was always a fun guy to be around, and in his "spare" moments, did a terrific job for Pontiac in market research. He will be sorely missed by all. RIP, my friend."
"I worked with Gary for several years at Pontiac Motor Division. Your tribute is perfect....he was the life of every party and always fun to be around. He was the 'ace' pitcher on our softball team and always lead us to the bar for refreshments post game. He was famous for his Mettie Manhattans and Elvis impersonations. Great guy -- he will be missed."
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