Submitted by Bill Bartsch
The children of Coronado just lost a prized life and football coach.
Chip ran through his Long Island, NY childhood as the bright son of Maurice and Jean Garry. Those were Rockwellian years packed full of Little League, basketball, water skiing, beaches and backyard pools. There were pick up games in the streets and running barefoot all summer long into the evenings amongst the fireflies. The smells of bubble gum in baseball cards and Dads grilling hamburgers.
Young Chip was a shining summer star amongst his family, friends, neighbors and teachers. He was open for business every day and loved to learn and compete. He excelled in everything from sports to working his newspaper route and his job at the delicatessen.
Chip loved his Catholic schooling. Attended St. Mary’s in Manhasset for elementary and high school, then Villanova University for his mechanical engineering studies. And he got the most out of all that was offered. From fraternity to spiritual life, he took it all in.
Somewhere along the way he developed an indestructible confidence in his ability to rise and conquer any challenge. Without having played organized football as a child, Chip tried out for the Division 1 Villanova program. He had never put on a football helmet in his life before that day yet he made the team as a wide receiver. Imagine the audacity. The look in the eyes of those coaches and other players.
This is the very same look that everyone who came to know Chip will carry with them forever.
In 1986 Chip was in a car accident that took use of his arms and legs away from him. He was twenty-four at the time and making a strong name for himself as a project manager constructing buildings in Manhattan. Making great money, engaged to his sweetheart, being promoted early… then the crash.
It took a full year of excruciating physical therapy to re-engage society and leave the hospital (The first of several years he spent in hospitals). But he was unwavering. Faced with painfully constant life threatening medical attacks on his body Chip Garry attacked back at each and every one of them for thirty-five years. There was no giving up. No letting up. No tears of “Why me”? He approached every day like a Quarterback in the huddle shrugging off the brutal sack he took on the last play and re-focused like a laser on how to get the next first down.
For many years Chip worked in the commercial real estate construction business in New York. Eventually establishing his own successful company there. It was a fiercely competitive industry where he figuratively fought with both hands tied behind his back. Yet won his share of victories.
Chip and his parents moved to Coronado in 2005 to be closer to his sister Susan Garry Bartsch. He quickly became a very active Coronado Rotary Club member, a Coronado Pop Warner football coach and a celebrated friend of Navy SEALs both formally as an inspirational speaker and as someone to have a beer with at McP’s and Danny’s.
From old witty Admirals to tow-headed young boys on the football field, Chip’s natural humor and mentoring skills helped many people through challenges in their own lives.
At some point we all ask ourselves if our life was meaningful. Did I make an impact?
Chip Garry’s body of work stands before us now. Tall and broad shouldered, alive in so many hearts and minds. Like no other. Come celebrate that strength of spirit at his service July 15th. Chip will be running among us, barefoot and laughing, having a catch with his beloved father upon the grass on high.
Thursday July 15, 10:30 Service at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, followed at 11:45 by Celebration of Life at Coronado Yacht Club.