A Tribute To

Gary's Life with ALS

(Lou Gehrig's Disease)

March 15, 1961 - February 5, 2001

Gary & Jessie ~ 1990

Gary & Jessie ~ '90

Gary & Alex ~ 1991  Gary &  Jessie ~ 1994  Gary 11/99  

Gary & Alex ~ '91      |      Gary & Jessie ~ '94      |       Nov '99             

2-1-96.  Gary with his ever famous grin that says he's up to 'something'....and he usually was!     The last, complete, family picture.     

March, '96                                                       November, '00           


About the Disease:

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Gary's Status:

October 20, 2000:  My brother Gary was diagnosed with ALS ( Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis ), a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's Disease.  Gary is 39 years old, has been with his wife Joanne since Jr. High, and has a son Alex (14), and daughter Jessie (11).

Gary has had trouble sleeping for ~ 2 years.  3-4 months ago he developed breathing problems.  3-4 weeks ago he began loosing use of his right arm.  It has now spread into his face, right leg, and surely throughout the rest of his body.  His speech is impaired, one vocal cord is paralyzed, and he has difficulty drinking or eating anything.

November 29, 2000:  Gary's health has been on a very rapid decline.  His breathing is now at 30% of capacity (~Oct 25th was 40%), and he gets winded even talking.  He has a BiPap machine that forces oxygen into his lungs, and he needs it more and more all the time.  His right side is heavily affected, and he now feels it in his left side as well.  His neck muscles are so weak he often wears a neck brace to hold his head up.  He has lost 30 lbs over the past ~3 months.  A feeding tube will happen any time now.

The decision needs to be made very shortly between a ventilator and Hospice......  ( 'Good' articles on the reality of ventilators from a PALS {Person with ALS} and his spouse:  Short Term Ventilation    Some Pros & Cons of Extending My Life On a Ventilator )

December 12, 2000:  From 3-1/2 year old Hannah (niece of Gary's), "Daddy, I'm sad.  I wish Happy Gary wasn't sick and that he would feel better."

December 21, 2000:  Gary was briefly admitted to the Pennsylvania Hospital to receive his feeding tube.  The tube went in OK, although his body's adjusting time to the new found food and nutrients has been more difficult and longer than expected.  The feeding process is timely and challenging.  His BiPap breathing machine is used very often, and he cannot sleep without it.

Gary's health continues to decline rapidly, and he uses his BiPap machine ~95% of the day and night. 

January 11, 2001:   We went to the ALS Clinic at Pennsylvania Hospital for a regular checkup.  Soon after we got there, Gary's breathing got very bad and was unable to clear the mucus in his throat.  We rushed him to the emergency room across the street where he was stabilized, and then admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.  Gary has made the decision to go with a tracheotomy and a ventilator, and we support him 100%.  Gary will remain in the ICU until he is able to have the relatively easy surgery done, hopefully on 1/15.  He will remain in the hospital for ~ 1 week after surgery before he can return home, he will require 24x7 care, and his ventilator will be doing the breathing for him.

January 15, 2001:   Gary's surgery for the tracheotomy happened today, and he is now on a ventilator.

Not being able to speak is NOT the same as not having anything to say.    --Anonymous

January 29, 2001:   Gary remains in the ICU.  There is a shortage of needed nursed for the 24-hour coverage that he needs upon his return home.  18 days in the ICU is really wearing on Gary (remember, we were planning on a 3-4 hour visit to the ALS clinic on the 11th, and he has been in the ICU ever since).  There are still plenty of challenges getting used to the ventilator as well.

Our father, Bob, underwent surgery today (1/29) to remove a lump from his lung.  They removed one rib to access the lump, and ended up removing 1/2 of his left lung as well.  His spirits are high, and he is hoping to return home at the end of the week.  Results from the lab are due in a few days.

February 3, 2001:  Our father, Bob, returned home from the hospital, and is recovering well.  The results from the lab showed the mass to be benign!!

Gary is at peace with everything.

February 5, 2001:  Gary entered into the arms of our Lord.  Gary will be dearly, dearly missed by all of us.  Everything that has happened in the last few months seems so very unfair, but when we looked into Gary's eyes and saw the peace and contentment, it made things a little bit better for us.  Gary was and is at peace with everything and everyone, and surrounded by his entire family, he crossed over into the Life-Everlasting.

Gary Alan Kramlik

March 15, 1961 - February 5, 2001

We Love You, Gary!!!!!


A Memorial Service was held for Gary on Saturday, February 10th at Zwingli, UCC.  The incredible turnout was very heart-warming for the family, and we dearly appreciate all who attended to show their respect.  Thank You!!

Memorial contributions may be made to the "Gary Kramlik Memorial Children's Education Fund", c/o Union National Bank & Trust, 10 West Broad Street, Souderton, PA 18964, or, to the Philadelphia ALS Association, on Gary's behalf, at 500 Office Center Drive, Suite 340, Ft Washington, PA, 19034.



I am standing upon the seashore.  A ship at my sides spreads her white sail to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.  She is an object of beauty and strength.  I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says: "There, she is gone!"

"Gone where?"

Gone from my sight.  That is all.  She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destination port.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her.  And just at the moment when someone at my side says: "There, she is gone!" there are other eyes watching her coming, and the other voices ready to take up the glad shout: "Here she – comes!"

Henry Van Dyke


The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want; he makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Psalm 23: Revised Standard Version (RSV)


PEACE, my heart, let the time for the parting be sweet.

Let it not be a death but completeness.

Let love melt into memory and pain into songs.

Let the flight through the sky end in the folding of the wings over the nest.

Let the last touch of your hands be gentle like the flower of the night.

Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a moment, and say your last words in silence.

I bow to you and hold up my lamp to light you on your way. 

The Gardener (a book of poetry from the Indian (east) Rabindranath Tagore)


A person is not completely born until he is dead.  Why then should we grieve that a new child is born among the immortals?  We are spirits.  That bodies should be lent us while they afford us pleasure, assist us in acquiring knowledge, or in doing good to our fellow creatures is a kind of benevolent act of God.  When they become unfit for these purposes, and afford us pain instead of pleasure, it is equally kind and benevolent that a way is provided by which we get rid of them.  Death is that way.  – Ben Franklin


What can I say?
It's really been fine
You gave me so much
In such a short time
And your laughter still melts me
And your smile makes me cry
And I'm sure gonna miss you,

I'm angry with you
Cause you just left me here
Though you loved me, I know,
You were so straight and clear
And I feel like I'm dreaming
Hold my hand through the night
And I'll never forget you
And I'm scared that I might.

You groaned at my jokes
And you laughed at my songs
You made-up great excuses
When I did things wrong
And when you went away
You'd ask me along,
Except for this last time,
So long.

Filled to the brim
Filled to my eyes
Your heart and mine
You'll always be with me,
And I'll see you sometime!

Music & Lyrics by Peter Alsop  -  www.peteralsop.com
©Copyright 1985, Moose School Music (BMI)

Scripture readings from Gary's Memorial Service:

Psalms 23  |  I Corinthians 13:1-8a  |  John 14:18-19, 25-27

Additional Scripture readings:

Psalm 121  |  Psalm 139:1-18, 23-24  |  Romans 8:31-39  |  Revelation 21:1-6  |  John 11:17-44  |  John 14:1-3, 18-19  |  Isaiah 43:1-3

An excellent on-line Bible (good GUI, multiple versions, and searchable): 



Additional inspiration can be found here.

Recent Fund Raisers:

A Christmas Card campaign was sponsored by John and Kathy Nolan, and Pecora raised money for the family in December of 2000.

A Beef & Beer to benefit Gary & his family, hosted by the Indian Valley Jr. Women's Club, was held on February 10th, 2001 at the Forrest Lodge\VFW in Sellersville.  The turnout was FANTASTIC, with approximately 500 people in attendance!!  The money raised for the family from this event is far beyond what any of us could have imagined!  Thank You to Bev, the I.V.J.W.C., Joe, and to all who attended and contributed!!!

The Tupperware fundraiser #2 was held at the Beef & Beer on February 10th, 2001 in Sellersville.  Thanks, Pam!!  

The 'Sons of Italy' sold raffle tickets to benefit Gary's family.  The raffle was for a 4day/3 night cruise for 2 to Nassau & Port Lucaya, Bahamas.  Thanks, Kathy & John!!

The Hardcore Jam was held on February 11th, 2001 at the Knights of Columbus in Lansdale.  Seven bands put on the show: Downwire, Fake ID, M.O.V.(Margin of Victory), Incite, Locked in a Vacancy, 4inthachamber, and Kazm.  Thank You Scott & Matt!!

The "Kramlik Family Silly Hat Day" was held on February 23rd, 2001, at West Broad Elementary.  If you made a donation, you got a Ribbon for the Kramlik Family, and you got to wear a silly hat on Friday!

There was a Silent Auction held by the Pennridge National Honor Society to benefit the ALS Association.  The event took place in Perkasie at the Pennridge Lower House cafe on February 24th, 2001 from 2-5 PM.

The 6th annual Hot Rod Hangout took place on June 10th, 2001 at Bearing and Drives in Souderton, and all proceeds went to the Gary Kramlik Memorial Children's Education Fund.  Gary, Alex, Tom, Dad, and many friends have enjoyed this event over the years.  There were many muscle cars, street rods, classics, customs, and race cars there.  Thank You to Tom of Bearing and Drives!!

Thank You to the new Mr. & Mrs. Todd & Rachel Drace!  June 16, 2001.  Best wishes to the two\four of you!!

A "Special Thanks" to Indian Valley Jr. Woman's Club, Harris Bros. Buick Olds (Quakertown), Indian Valley Bulk Carriers (Tylersport), Pecora Corporation Sealants (Harleysville), ALE Hydraulics (Levittown), Fastener Tool Supply (Souderton), Bearing and Drives (Souderton), and all the support from our friends at the Philadelphia ALS Assn. (!!) and Zwingli, UCC (Souderton)!!

Questions can be directed to Gary's brother, Tom: 




...Please remember Gary and his family in your prayers...



What we do for fun...



Take me Home Sweet Home...

Date Created:  December 15, 2000

Date Last Modified:  July 9, 2001

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