Gary Vernon Skrien was born April 10th, 1951 in International Falls, MN to Jennie (Boresiuk) and Vernon Skrien. He was baptized and confirmed at Zion Lutheran Church. The family loved spending summers at their cabin on Dryweed Island on Rainy Lake. While attending Falls High School, he played trumpet and taught himself to play bass guitar using 2 X 4’s. Gary did coursework at Rainy River Community College, then went on to Bemidji State University. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree with majors in Mathematics, Psychology and Philosophy. After doing graduate work he taught mathematics and physics and coached at Northome High School for 2 years. Having played in local bands during college, he picked up his bass guitar and headed for California and continued his love of music. He spent the next 10 years working as a professional musician playing “all kinds of music, all over the country, in hundreds of bands and it was great!” He diligently studied Kung Fu martial arts and pursued weightlifting on the beach. He came home in 1988 to take care of his Dad who was dying of cancer. Another adventure began in 1989 when he entered medical school at the University of Minnesota in Duluth. While anatomy lab partners, he was enticed with chocolate chip cookies and married Lori Lynner the day after graduation in 1993. Gary went on to complete a surgical/family practice residency in Des Moines, IA. He remained drawn to the desert high country but was content to settle down to the life of a small-town Doc in Marshall, MN. He relished his relationships with patients and colleagues, including and especially his 11- year connections with nurses Tommie and Jenny. He retired June 30, 2020 after 22 years. He loved serving as medical director for Prairie Home Hospice where he worked for the 11 years until his death.
Gary became an excellent IPSC handgun shooter with his sharp eyesight, and keen mind in combination with athleticism and precision. This merged perfectly with his collector’s passion for Smith &Wesson handguns.
He loved to read. With Coldstone ice cream in one hand, and a cat in his lap, he studied with great passion the world’s “best loved books” in many genres. His most passionate study was the Word of God and theology - seeking God and listening for His will.
Quietly, contemplatively, yet with a quick wit, he loved his family and friends.
Gary is survived by his wife of 27 years, Lori; children, Jamie (Crystal) Skrien with Cheznee and McKynlee of Int’l Falls, MN, Tera (Dave) Vohler with Macy and Kalan; step-grandkids, Zeandra and Darius of Int’l Falls, MN, Jett and Lisi Skrien of Marshall, MN; mother, Jennie Skrien of Marshall, MN; siblings, Dale (Pam) Skrien of Manchester, ME, Linda Skrien of Albuquerque, NM, Richard(Janet) Skrien of Shakopee, MN, Douglas (Kristin) Skrien of Lake Elmo, MN, paternal aunt Delores (DuWain) Fagerstrom of Moorhead, MN, nephews, nieces, and extended family.
He was preceded in death by his father, Vernon; infant sister, Sheryl; maternal aunts, Mary (Walt) Mahle, Helen (Vernon) Weum, and paternal aunt Carmen (Gus) Haugen, and uncle Wes (Doris).
Gary died at home at the age of 69 as a result of his cancer, having endured more than we can know.
Blessed be the memory of this remarkable man, beloved husband, father, grandfather, doctor, family and friend.
Visitation will be held on Saturday, November 7th, 2020 from 6-9 PM with a prayer service at 8:15 PM at Living Word Lutheran Church in Marshall. Visitation will continue Sunday, November 8th, from 1-2 PM followed by the funeral service at 2 PM at the church. Due to COVID-19 masks are required in church. Interment to follow in the Clarkfield Lutheran Cemetery.
The service will be available by livestream for those unable to attend at http://youtu.be/VdNF5I1_iUc directly, or at the church's YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/livingwordmarshallmn and search for Gary Skrien's video.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Gary’s memory can be made to Living Word Lutheran Church or Prairie Home Hospice of Marshall.
Our family wishes to thank you for the gracious ways you have shown us your love and sympathy. We realize how truly blessed we are and thank God for providing all we need as we “trust in the Lord” as Gary simply suggested we all do.
Feel free to share any memories of Gary on his tribute wall.
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