What am I supposed to say?
Within the last 24 hours, one of the best lives I’ve known has been snuffed out. My friend and confidant, Gary Head, AKA Gyre-Viper, is now gone. There’s a huge, gaping hole that he’s supposed to be occupying, and it won’t be filled.
For those that didn’t know him, Gary left behind a girlfriend and three beautiful children. As he was someone who was long without his own parents, I know it would pain him to no end to know that his kids will grow up never having the opportunity to truly know and understand their father as we do only in our later years. Gary won’t have the opportunity to bring them along on the ride that was his adult life. As my own son approaches an age where I begin to share this hobby with him, I know that he will never get to meet Gary. For all of that, I am devastated.
Also, for those unaware of our inner workings, Gary was a large contributor to what you’ve come to love and enjoy as Joe Declassified. Since joining us in 2011, Gary was the most prolific of our staff. He created the JDSO podcast, organized many of our public appearances, and was recently appointed as our Media Director – taking under his wings the panels and magazines that we produce. It was Gary that started up our give-away contests, and much of the money to fund those came from his own pocket. Gary was in fact the first “outsider” (not one of the original group of friends involved in Declassified from the beginning) that I brought on to the staff. His infectious enthusiasm and love for charity were big motivators in our burgeoning friendship. To many of you, Gary was the face of Declassified that you were most familiar with. He often liked to joke with me that it was “his organization,” due to the misinterpretations of our public audience. And I loved him for it. We’ve been at this game for 9 years now, and in his short time with us, I can honestly say that Gary contributed much of the drive and aggressiveness that has enabled us to do what we have done as of late. I don’t think you’ll truly realize what he brought to your lives. His impact here was immense.
Gary was a polarizing figure in our hobby – to those who weren’t friends or fans, I can only say that you didn’t “get the joke” in a sense. If you were one of those that didn’t get Gary, I am truly sorry. He left an imprint for sure, and I encourage you to revisit his writings with a different set of eyes. It is a testament to the man, though, that when I first brought him on to the staff here at Declass, his preeminent concern was the effect that his polarizing reputation would have on the organization. I’ve never been one to dance around detractors, so as always buddy – fuck it – I’ll take the hit. And I’ll take any hits for Gary until I, too, am gone. The fact that so many consider him their “best friend” tells you what kind of love and energy he had for others. Gary was a giver, every step of the way.
I’d like to leave you guys with this. Below is an excerpt from one of my oldest emails from Gary. At the time, I was in Afghanistan, and missing the first convention since I started Joe Declassified. I asked Gary to stand in to manage our booth, and I share this because I believe his words here were a direct and accurate reflection of his love and enthusiasm not only for the hobby, but what we were trying to accomplish:
Hope all is well with you.
I just wanted to thank you for allowing me to be part of the booth this year. It meant a lot to me. And I had an amazing time. It meant a lot to me just to be able to have a dealer pass and spend extra time talking to Warden more so than not. The entire experience was invaluable. So thank you. Anything you ever need, I’m there. Hopefully I did the booth some justice and hopefully you haven’t heard any terrible things about me hehheeh.
Roshan kinda made me promise that I wouldn’t tell you this but it’d be wrong not to. No one came through with counter top cases and so on Friday Roshan drove hours in traffic to
get wood and plexi glass on his own dime just so the booth
could be the best it could be. He did this because of the amount of respect he has for YOU and of course Declassified.
Also… Chris Murray took the time to build the cases and volunteered his time at the booth just as much as Gary Godsoe and myself did. The response to the booth was really great this year. It seems a lot of people put the Declassified booth on their feedback forms this time around as well. Anyways… you were very missed by everyone and everyone hopes you’re safe. Again thank you so much for the trust and opportunity. It may not seem like it should be such a big deal but it amplified my con experience a thousand fold. So thank you. And take care.
You left a huge wound, man. There is so much more I want to say…