In Memory

Gary Pregi







Here it is—Gary's authorized biography. Check out Gary's Q&A for some personal factoids.

Gary passed away on March 30, 2008. He did it his way visiting his sister Linda (NHS 1967) in Michigan, his heart failed while out to lunch with his niece. Gary had his 1st heart attack in the late 1990's. His parents passed away in the 90's and his only immediate family member was Linda.

Gary's close friends included Ron Bergeron (NHS 1970), who goes back with Gary to their mothers walking them together in strollers as babies right on through adulthood. Brian Morse (NHS 1970) remembers Gary for all the culture Gary introduced him to - starting with Gary taking him on his first visit to Sheppard Park in 1971.

Let's not forget all the wonderful friends he had at Fred & Harry's and O'Donnell's Seafood - the 2 places he worked most of his life.

We think Gary would want us to mention his close relationship with The Marlboro Man. It's probably no coincidence that Phillip Morris's stock dropped 1 1/2 points the day after Gary's death!

Everybody who ever met you,
considered you a friend,
and loved you.


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09/07/09 06:28 PM #1    

Steven Butler

It came as a shock to me as I worked with Gary at Fred & Harry's not to mention we went to Four Corners Elementary School, Sligo and the Northwood together.

We stayed in touch when I went to Clemson and when I came home for holidays we would link up and yes drink!!!!

I was close to his Dad as well as he use to work at Doc's...anyone remember that place???

My most two lasting memories was when Clemson played Maryland in Basketball at Clemson and we upset them....I immediately called his Dad and we just talked...and then Gary at our reunion and we just sat for awhile and brought back memories of our past...

Gary....Rest in Peace and say hi to your Dad for me....I will always remember those times!!!!!

09/26/09 11:47 AM #2    

Robyn Cavanaugh (Zimmerman)

I remember the only time that I skipped class at NHS. It was senior year, and I had my 1963 Pontiac Star Chief at school. Gary and Frank Bussink said that they would buy the wine coolers if I would drive. We went to Mr. Henry's at Tenley circle for a drink, and then, properly fortified, went on to the Good Guys topless bar on Wisconsin Avenue. I still feel bad that I played a fast tune on the juke box, causing the dancer to work hard for her money.
Here's to you, Gary!

Robyn Cavanaugh (Zimmerman)

10/20/09 12:45 PM #3    

Barbara Kleinknecht

What I remember is playing at Four Corners Recreation Center in the summers (during our elementary school years). Gary seemed to always be there!
Also, being part of the Greek Dodge and Dodgeball games during our recess time at Four Corners Elementary School....Gary smiling while we played.

10/29/09 08:02 PM #4    

James Foster

Quite a few memories with him. One that stands out is we were at Wheaton Plaza on a school night. No idea why and ran into Mr. Kuchnic (earth science, football coach, etc.) and somehow the three of us ended up going to The Keg(?) on Wisconsin Ave. for beer. Next day I think we all went to school. Gary was a great guy. He's gone way to soon.

10/31/09 02:52 PM #5    

Damian Smigocki ('71)

Being married to Debbie Sawyer and of the graduating class of NHS of 1971 I have a number of stories I have shared with Debbie about Gary. Debbie suggested sharing them with the rest of the class so here goes.
Like other classmates who have posted memories, Gary had a profound affect on my early youthful indiscretions in high school. I met Gary and his cronies who worked at Fred & Harry's in the summer of 69. The others included, Ron Bergeron, Steve Butler, and Louie Eliopulos. What struck me right away about Gary was his fiendish infectious laugh and sense of adventure. I can still hear that laugh today despite losing track of Gary after college. I was looking for an upper class man to show me the ropes and Gary was the guy. I got more than I bargained for. I have 3 stories about Gary.
The first involved meeting up with Gary in Ocean City in the summer of 1969. I went on a camping trip to Ocean City with Steve Butler and another friend in Steve's red VW. We set up the tent outside of OC and then went into town to meet up with Gary who was staying in a hotel. Upon entering his room Gary pulls out a fifth of grain alcohol and begins mixing drinks. I don't remember much about the rest of the night except waking up on the floor of his hotel room the next morning. Gary said it was a wild night on the board walk full of delinquency and debauchery with a few girls we had met. First lesson learned. There is a reason it is called white lightening and vowed never to touch it again.
The second story happened in the fall of 69. I had met a girl from Blair and asked her out on a date. Gary suggested a double date since he had gotten his driver license and he was dating a girl I knew. Gary picked the movie, "The Boston Strangler" which was playing at the theater on the corner of Viers Mill Road and Randolph. Quite a shock if you remember the movie with Tony Curtis for a first date ice breaker. Like always Gary had a plan. After the movie Gary suggested going "Parking". As the song "Taxi goes by Harry Chapin, "I learned about love in the back seat of a Dodge. The lesson hadn't gone very far". Second lesson learned. Let the girl pick the movie and wait to the second date to go parking.
The third story was a classic set up by Gary and his cronies from Fred & Harrys and I was the victim. The rest of the cronies can vouch for the story. In the late fall of 69 I was playing basketball on JV team. Coach Grimsley(JV) and Coach Frye(varsity) like to celebrate with drinks after the game at Fred & Harry's. Gary happened to be working at the restaurant with Steve Butler, Ron Bergeron, and Louie Eliopulos. Gary always conniving says to his cronies, "Lets have a casual conversation as we are walking past the coaches about seeing Smigocki drunk on his ass in the back parking lot. Sure enough, Gary pulls it off flawlessly. Coach Grimsley takes the bait, hook, line and sinker. Coach Grimsley calls Gary back to find out more about the story. Gary says it was just a joke but the coach didn't believe him. The next practice I get confronted by the coach about the incident which I denied but he wasn't buying it. I didn't get any playing time for the next 4 games. Gary was that good. Third lesson learned. Its better to laugh with the sinner than cry with the saints, the sinners are much more fun, only the good die young. Thanks for the memories Gary.

11/02/09 04:33 PM #6    

Stephen Ehrlich

Gary and I grew up from elementary school. We spent many evenings playing the "What If game" after work at Fred & Harry's in Four Corners during high school. A nonsense game of young guys just passing the time before going home. Gary always sent a card during the holidays and I can't every remember him forgetting to send one. It was an extreme shock when Ron Bergeron drop by and told me he had died. He will always be a part my memories and I am thankful for the time I spent with him.

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