Gary Gilder

gary gilder
Gary Gilder The eternal love of God embraced him and lifted him into the light. Gary Wayne Gilder was born April 30, 1948 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. At age 10 months, he was adopted by his parents, Charles and Florence Gilder, whom he always considered his true parents. He attended school in Vancouver until age 9, when his family moved to Blaine, Washington. He continued his schooling in Blaine and completed his studies at the University of Washington with an MBA. In 1973, he moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, to work for the Burlington Northern Railroad. While in Minnesota, he continued his love of running, participating is numerous events and completing Grandma’s Marathon in 1981. He also developed his love of travel, visiting Russia, Greece, and especially enjoyed France, its culture and language. To maintain his link to France and the French people, he arduously studied the language with a tutor. He loved long distance bicycle touring, experiencing a oneness with nature, and was also the volunteer youth group leader at his church. In 1985 he married Barbara Wiley and her two children, Jack and Justin. They moved to Fargo in 1987 when Gary took a job at Fargo Clinic to develop information systems for their business and patients. After 7 years, he became CIO at Scott and White Clinic in Temple, Texas, for one year, then he and Barbara decided to take an early retirement. He became a Master Gardener in 1996, volunteering at the NDSU youth gardens for the next 20 years. His love of learning and adventure continued with Barbara, bicycle touring almost every September to a new destination, including British Columbia, the Gulf and San Juan Islands, around Lake Michigan, and several times to Quebec and France. To continue his love of the French language, he became actively involved with Francofun, a community of French speakers in the FM area. He continued his running and began to study and practice yoga, successfully completing 200 hours of coursework for his Yoga Certification Program in December 2018. Gary also loved the time had with family, being with his grandchildren, and caring for his parents throughout their later years. In October 2013, he began what was to become a 6 ½ year journey with lymphoma. He chose to view it as another adventure through life, participating eagerly in any promising treatment or clinical trial. He lost his left leg to lymphoma in 2017 and continued forward with a new purpose. Throughout, he was an inspiration to all he met, until, on May 20, 2020, when he passed away. Gary is survived by his wife, Barbara. Also surviving are sons Jack Wiley (Carmen), and grandchildren Jason and Chloe of Spokane, WA; and Justin Wiley (Sally) and granddaughters, Dayna, Merill and Terra , of Fargo. His sister Barb from Bellingham, WA also survives as do her three children and her 5 grandchildren. Gary was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Florence Gilder and his brother Allan.

View current weather.

Memories Timeline


  1. Barb – our thoughts are with you and your family. Gary was such a special person and what a fighter. He always thirsted for knowledge, from learning French to his knowledge of plants, always asking about the boys and so on. We will miss him very much. the Sprague’s

  2. Barb, my heart aches for your loss. Gary was such a loving, caring guy and his embrace of Jack and Justin and their families was a true inspiration. As I process the news of his death, I am struck by the last image of him with you in his arms. The loss is great, but he is free of pain and struggle. Always in our hearts.

  3. Au revoir mon ami!
    I met Gary at “Franco fun” and always enjoyed his spirit and conversation. Enthusiastic about Life, we shared a common love for France and he proved me anything could grow in ND!
    Through the disease he remained gracious and was an exemple of courage and resilience.
    I will never forget him!

  4. Having worked with Gary, I understand how much he will be missed. My most sincere condolences to his family and friends. Virgil Benoit

  5. Gary, I was lucky enough to see you every weekend for a while at the French conversation group, Francofun, held at the Atomic Cafe on Saturdays. You were so active, alive and engaged that hearing of your passing was actually a surprise to me. Your enthusiasm and smile will stay with me for years to come. Thank you for your friendship. God speed. Rest In Peace…

  6. Gary, tu vas nous manquer! I will always remember how kind and welcoming Gary has been since the first day I started attending Francofun. He really had a passion for people and the francophone culture and was the force driving the club. Brian and I will miss him and will always have him in our hearts.

    Barb, we are so very sorry for your loss and hope that you will find comfort in all the memories you have of your life with Gary. You too had quite an exciting life of travels and discoveries. Please accept our most sincere condolences. We are here for you!

  7. I am so sad to hear of Uncle Gary’s passing. What a brave and remarkable man. I will always remember his kindness and patience, his deep interest in life and his skill with garlic. I admire his sense of adventure and that he really knew how to live life and be happy. Love, Steve

  8. So long neighbor. I ‘ll miss our daily telephone conversations, and our attempts to solve the worlds problems. I ll also miss our trips in your wheelchair around the neighborhood with Ducky, my dog pulling the two of us. Gary. its hard to say goodbye, and I know you ll be in heaven, but you re been a part of my life here in our north side neighborhood. As we both agreed on one visit, that life is good and we couldn’t ask for more, with our situation here is Fargo. If I knew any French, I would say good bye in his adopted language, but we both liked the German phase, ” arbeit macht das leben, suss”. which Gary practiced all his life, “Work, makes life sweet”
    Morrie Schwinden neighbor

  9. I will miss my uncle Gary. He always took an interest in learning about others, helping, and he authentically cared. His love for learning and trying new things was contagious. I will also never forget my visit to Fargo in 1999; touring Barb and Gary’s gardening successes, riding bikes across the river, and pizza night with family. Denitsa and I are also very thankful for Gary and Barb joining us at our wedding in New Rochelle in 2004, and how they connected so well with people they had never previously met- and how they continued to stay in touch with their French connection. Even though I grew up far away and moved even farther away (twice), I enjoyed the email, phone, and post office communication we shared. I’m certain Gary had a positive impact on countless people. If we learned well from him, I imagine we’ll continue paying things forward in our work and with those we meet along the way. With that perspective, Gary’s impact will live on indefinitely… but I’ll still miss him and will appreciate all he did, while wishing I could’ve done more for him.

  10. So sorry to hear if Gary’s passing. He was a kind friend and neighbor who was always full of knowledge and gratitude with a zest for life.
    I will remember him for his smile and determination with anything he wanted to do.
    Barb and family our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.

  11. Gary’s life was truly a life well lived. He began to learn the principles that guided him at an early age and he kept his curiosity and joy of learning and of living his life. People that knew him were lucky because he shared his joy and love with them. He is greatly missed, and we will never forget the memories that we have. I will miss the fantastic smell of his homemade bread that would float thru the house at our Hill Family Reunions!

  12. I feel very fortunate to have had Gary Gilder a part of my Journey through Life. He was inspirational without speaking a word. He had a peaceful vision in his eyes full of sparkle and life. He had kindness that was found in silence where I can always find him in my heart.

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle