On the evening of Tuesday, November 14, my beloved Gary died suddenly at home. Gary was born in Ventura on December 25, 1945 to Lois and Alexander Baltzer, both now deceased. His much loved young sister Linda Vencill died in 2007.
Gary grew up in Ventura, graduating from high school there. He attended Ventura College before joining the Peace Corps, spending time in Iran. Gary’s love of farming and travel developed in his teens, working on a ranch in Somis. After finishing his BS degree in CalPoly Pomona, he worked in farming for several years in Porterville, Ca. In 1983, Gary’s company sent him to Yemen to manage a farming contract with World Bank .
In 1984 Anne left the green fields of Ireland for the desert landscape of San'a Yemen. There, two hearts collided and Gary and Anne have been together ever since. They lived in Yemen, Spain, and Turkey, where Gary managed various agriculture projects. Returning to the US in 1993, he worked as Consultant for World Bank on short-term projects in Jordan, Africa, the Balkans, and South and Central America. His last overseas project was in Afghanistan. His love of farming never waned and he worked until the day he died. His last day on earth was spent on a hillside at Rancho Filoso where he worked for the last 17 years.
Gary is survived by his wife Anne, his beloved dog Winnie, his nephews Robbie and John and their families (Fresno), his cousin Diane Lang (Burbank), his Irish family include his brother and sisters-in-law, Joe, Eileen and Catherine, and Irish nieces, nephews, John, Fiona and Jim, and their families.
Gary was a gentle man, and a gentle soul. He will be greatly missed by his family, his dear friends and colleagues, especially his team at Rancho Filoso.
A Memorial Service will be held on Wednesday, November 22 at 10 am at the Perez Family Funeral Home, Santa Paula, with private cremation to follow (www.perezfamilyfuneralhome.com). A Celebration of Gary’s life will take place at a future date.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Gary’s memory to a Food Bank of your choice, or to Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center (SPARC) santapaulaarc.org.