One of the Elk Grove Lions Club’s most stalwart members, Gary Dapelo recently lost his battle with cancer and died June 10, 2014 at the age of 59.
A member since 1986, Gary held almost every position the club had to offer and racked up 27 years of perfect attendance. During that time he chaired countless projects for which he was named Lion of the Year twice and was honored as a Melvin Jones Fellow three times, the highest award a member can receive.
He was also active in District 4C-5, serving as District governor from 2007-2008. He served for many years on the Northern California Lions Sight Association including a term as president, and was a board member of the Lions Education Foundation where he was recently elected president. The foundation is dedicated to helping youth in the local communities.
In 1999 he was named the Sacramento Region Lion of the Year; in 2013 he received a President’s Medal from Lions Club International and in 2014 a Presidential Leadership Medal.
Gary was born April 29, 1955 in San Francisco to Louis and Claire Dapelo who preceded him in death. He grew up in Burlingame. In 1973 he met Laurie Hunter and they were married in 1975.
They moved to Elk Grove in 1981 and Gary started his construction business, Dapelo Construction.
He used his expertise as a general contractor to help build several community projects including props and floats for Miss Elk Grove in parades, the bridge for the Strauss Festival and numerous wheelchair ramps.
Both he and Laurie have been involved for many years in their church, St. Peter’s Lutheran, also the Western Festival board, Chamber of Commerce, Youth Soccer League, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, Parent-Teacher Club and cooking and serving Thanksgiving dinner for people in need for the past 18 years through People to People.
The chamber honored him with its Community Service Award in 1987 and the community of Elk Grove named him as its Citizen of the Year in 2012.
Gary is survived by his wife of 39 years, Laurie of Elk Grove; sons Matthew of Wauwatosa, Wisc., Joseph of Waterloo, Iowa and David of Snohomish, Wash.; and grandchildren Melissa, Joshua, Madeline, Lauren, Lily, Jacob, Hannah, Matthew, Shane, Layla and Micah.
He was the brother of Marie and Jim and wife Mariana all of Elk Grove, and Michael and wife Judy of Montgomery, Ala. He also leaves behind several nieces and nephews including Daniel of Parshall, N.D., who, the family said, was like another son to him.
Graveside services took place Monday. Remembrances may be made to the Lions Education Foundation, P.O. Box 13523, Sacramento, CA 95853.
Arrangements were by Herberger’s Elk Grove Funeral Chapel.