Head Shot
Gary Colberg
  • 74 years old
  • Date of birth: Aug 8, 1941
  • Date of passing: Jul 4, 2016
Please share your stories and memories of Gary

This memorial website was created for anyone to post their experiences and thoughts about our friend, mentor and role model, Gary Colberg. Feel free to use your creativity and post comments and stories that you want to share. After the memorial service on July 23rd, these postings will be shared with his family.  

Thanks for helping to honor such a great member of our volleyball community. Gary will be greatly missed, but your contributions will help keep his memory in our hearts for a long time to come.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Michael Rolfes on 4th July 2017

"Remembering Gary today. RIP"

This tribute was added by Michael Rolfes on 4th July 2017

"Remembering Gary today. RIP"

This tribute was added by Michael Rolfes on 4th July 2017

"Remembering Gary today. RIP"

This tribute was added by Kevin Cull on 25th July 2016

"I did not know Gary personally, but I am very thankful for all the time, effort and energy he devoted to, not only for referees, but the sport of volleyball.  His work with and for referees certainly paved the way for many referees who came along later, myself included.  Thank you very much!  My thoughts are with Gary's family and friends."

This tribute was added by Kathy Rogers on 24th July 2016

"My first encounter with Gary was when he refereed the professional league here in Sacramento/Elk Grove, and I was a line judge wearing a very large Polo shirt.  I was very new at it and nervous, and he was so kind and helpful.  
That was over 20 years ago and have had so many more great "encounters" with him in the volleyball world.  

He will be missed."

This tribute was added by Cecile Reynaud on 23rd July 2016

"Gary was one of the kindest men I have ever met.  He was dedicated to the sport of volleyball and provided his service in numerous areas.  He was a major part of the Boyce Banquet at the annual volleyball meetings.  He gathered biographical material, pictures, and video as he worked tirelessly to honor each person being recognized at the  banquets.  Gary will be deeply missed by his family and many others around the world that were fortunate enough to know him."

This tribute was added by Lisa Walter on 22nd July 2016

"Although I never met Gary, I have worked at the Volleyball Festival and NCVF, and am grateful for Gary's involvement that allowed me to participate many years later.  Festival kicked off my adventures in officiating and gave me the opportunities I have had since - including working at NCVF.  I appreciate all he did for the game of Volleyball!"

This tribute was added by Marcia Costley on 22nd July 2016

"Gary a volleyball enthusiast, always sharing his love of the game with his knowledge, camaraderie, friendship and vision. We have been blessed to have crossed paths in the many trails of Volleyball. With our first meeting on the campus of UC Davis with the Volleyball Festival, we shared many NIRSA and NCVF events to follow. The moment that stand out the most was in 2003 when Gary was the light man at the Boyce Banquet, sitting in the back of the room up on a high rise with the spot light searching out the recipient of the "Frier" Award when in fact he was the honoree of the evening. It was wonderful to see the surprised look on his face with his family awaiting him on stage to accept his award. These were good times, and sweet fond memories. Always to be remembered with his infectious smile. Rest in Peace my friend. My thoughts & prayers go out to Debby & entire Colberg Family"

This tribute was added by Ann Casey on 21st July 2016

"I receive this message with sadness and  send my sympathies and prayers to Debby and family.  I met Gary over 30 yrs ago, of course on a volleyball court as a young and aspiring volleyball official.  Gary always had time for people, always something kind and good to say, always positive and up lifting. Gary was always a kind and thoughtful gentleman on and off the court.  And although I have not seen Gary in many years my immediate memory is of him totally engaged in his work, smiling and enjoying everyone around him.  He has left an important and significant legacy not just regarding sports, but more importantly about how live a good life and leave the world a better place because of how and what you are able to contribute."

This tribute was added by Kevin Twohig on 21st July 2016

"Early on in my experiences with USAV, I met a great man who was always more concerned with getting the job done, than in being acknowledged for his efforts. Gary was classy and humble and it was aiways a pleasure to interact with him. If he was on a project, it was going to go well. No question. He will be
and is missed."

This tribute was added by Michael Rolfes on 19th July 2016

"I met Gary at NIRSA and he was very outgoing and complimented me on a men's match my first year working the tournament. A player was mad at my partner (R2) for a call and was throwing a mini tantrum. I called him to the stand and defused the whole situation and had him laughing by the time he walked away with no card issued. Gary asked me what I said to him and I made an off the cuff remark that I won't post here.

2 years later Gary and Ray Mink walked up to tell me that I had been selected to work the men's Div IAA final as R1.

Gary's absence from NCVF has been missed and his absence from our earthly life makes us miss him even more. Rest in Peace Gary and enjoy volleyball in heaven."

This tribute was added by Fred Buehler on 18th July 2016

"Gary and I arrived at UCD in the fall of 1966.  He was the brand new Intramural Director, and I was a 17 year-old freshman.  I had learned volleyball that summer from Tom Blue, another Cal Ag.  Gary discovered it that spring and played, coached, organized and administered the club program throughout my career at Davis.  More importantly, Gary hired me to be an intramural referee, first for volleyball (outdoors, sitting on an 8' step-ladder) and eventually most other sports.  My Junior year, after reffing and serving as a student supervisor, I became the Sports Editor of the Daily Aggie.  This was not only a newspaper position, but one where Gary provided support and funding as a way to promote intramurals and recreation on the campus.  He dreamed of the new rec center, and with the help of many student supporters, was able to get a student referendum passed to levy an assessment to all students to get it built.   He was always ahead of the curve.  I loved working in the Intramural Office, and learned all I could from Gary.  He was a true mentor.  When I finally graduated, rather than head off to law school, I asked Gary if he could help me get into Grad School in Recreation and Intramurals, which he gladly did.  He inspired me on my career path and served as a resource for all my years in campus recreation.  Oh yeah, we became referees as well, and along with Tom Blue, International Referees representing our country.  I observed and learned from Gary on assignments we had together, as well as just watching him work.  He would always help anyone who wanted to learn. I will miss him a lot.   And thanks Casey for introducing me to Dan Brown books on that Poland trip!"

This tribute was added by Marcia Alterman on 16th July 2016

"Gary was one of the kindest human beings I've ever encountered.  My thoughts about him are all about his engaging smile, mentoring other referees, and service to others.  He brightened the room when he entered!"

This tribute was added by K. A. Gee on 16th July 2016

"Like many, I was once a poverty-stricken college student who needed a little extra cash to make ends meet. I had learned the basics of refereeing volleyball in high school, so I decided to try my hand at officiating intramural volleyball at UC Davis. This was a major turning point for me because I ended up meeting Gary Colberg, who was the intramural director at the time.

Gary seemed to think I had some potential and took me under his wing. As I gained more skills with his help, he guided me to start refereeing junior college volleyball, then 4-year college matches. In those days, USVBA officiating wasn't very friendly toward female officials. Gary encouraged me to cross the gender gap and helped paved the way for me to expand my officiating beyond the college scene.

When I look back and see how significant a role volleyball has played in my life, I can honestly say that Gary was the person who opened that door for me. Without his guidance and mentorship, I wouldn't have had the opportunities for leadership that have come my way.

Thank you, Gary, for being such a great influence in my life. I'll miss you very much.

Love, Karen"

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This memorial is administered by:

K. A. Gee


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