Gary D. Wachs (age 62), of Austin, Texas, passed away on January 29, 2021, after a brief battle with a rare form of cancer.
Gary grew up in Mystic, Connecticut, and attended high school in New Jersey and England. He graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas (B.S. Business Administration 1980), where he met some dear lifelong friends. He later earned his MBA from the University of Texas at Austin (1989).
Gary had a formidable intellect and his career in the financial services industry encompassed many areas, including sales, teaching, government service and broker/dealer investment advisor compliance. Between 1996 and 2019, he worked at Banc One Securities Corporation (JP Morgan Chase), NFP Securities, Inc., and Charles Schwab & Co., among other firms, in various roles, including Chief Compliance Officer. A gifted public speaker, Gary was a lecturer at UT Austin for seven years. In addition, he worked at the Texas State Securities Board from 1989 until 1996 and then again at the end of his career.
Gary was a devoted dad, grandpa, husband, son, brother, friend and colleague. He loved spending time with his grandchildren (baseball practices, attending softball games, playing pool, card games, etc.) although grandson Jeremy noted that Gary’s virtual schooling standards were tougher than the school’s. Fathering his son Shawn was the greatest honor and privilege of Gary’s life. They were best friends who always had each other’s backs. In 1994, Gary’s first thought while lying paralyzed on a beach after a spinal cord injury was for Shawn, assuring him that they were and always would be a team that stuck together. That relationship will live on as Shawn carries on that tradition with his own children.
Some of Gary’s passions included baseball, golf, travel, music and barbecuing. A lifelong Boston Red Sox fan, he lived to see the curse broken. He attended Game 4 of the 2007 World Series in person (accompanied by his wife, Ruth, a Rockie’s fan) and attended a memorable Game 2 of the 2013 Series in Boston accompanied by his brother, Rich (also a Red Sox fan), father (Norman) and nephew (Michael) (both devout Cardinal’s fans). The Cardinals won Game 2 but the Red Sox won the Series so Gary thought it worked out well for everyone. Gary was also a Texas Longhorn baseball season ticket holder. One of the many disappointments of 2020 was the cancellation of the NCAA baseball season (we had such a good team!).
Gary enjoyed frequent (pre-pandemic) trips to the Caribbean (typically involving golf in the morning and afternoons by the pool). Several of those trips were laugh filled family vacations with his large, crazy extended family. He and Ruth were fortunate to take a couple of trips to Austria/Germany with Gary’s mother and other relatives, including, among other highlights, a viewing of “Rescue in the Philippines: Refuge from the Holocaust” a documentary featuring his mother. Gary also organized an incredible trip of a lifetime to Greece for one of Ruth’s special birthdays.
Gary loved live music and when he was living in the midwest he made annual sojourns back to his beloved Austin for SXSW whenever possible. Barring major remodeling projects or global pandemics, Gary’s annual 4th of July barbeques were legendary. He enjoyed cooking for other people (and there was always enough food for an army).
Gary is survived by his wife of twenty-four years Ruth (Fulton), son Shawn, grandchildren Amber and Jeremy, parents Brigitte and Norman Wachs, sisters Sheryl (Jorge Logan) and Diane (Drew Keane), brothers Doug (Bari) and Richard (Jodi), nieces and nephews Michael (Leite), Brian (Leite), Ryan (Keane), Danny (Keane), Alyssa, Aaron, Hayden, Macey, Bryce and a new great-nephew Carter (whom he had yet to meet), several cousins, other extended family and a host of loving in-laws. He was preceded in death by his paternal and maternal grandparents and daughter-in-law Nancy Wachs (Hoxsey). Gary lived and died with tremendous grace and retained his sense of humor until the end. His decision to spend his final days at home surrounded by his loved ones was a testament to his selfless and loving nature.
Family, friends and colleagues are invited to attend a private virtual Celebration of Life (Memorial Service) for Gary on Sunday, February 7th, at 12 pm central time. Please contact the family for dial in information. An in-person celebration (involving BBQ!) will follow at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate contributions to the Amber and Jeremy Wachs Educational Fund. Those interested in contributing may do so by sending checks payable to the “Amber and Jeremy Wachs Educational Fund” to Ruth Fulton or using the gofundme account named “Amber and Jeremy Wachs Educational Fund”.