Celebration of Life planned February 5 for Gary W. Wofford, 1939-2021

Family and friends will gather February 5th to celebrate the life of Gary Wofford. Here’s the remembrance they’re sharing with the community:

Gary W. Wofford, age 82, passed away on Nov. 3, 2021, at St Clare Hospital, Lakewood, Washington, from Pulmonary Fibrosis. He was surrounded by his family.

Gary was born to George Wofford and Helen (Johnson) Frederickson of Bremerton and grew up in Poulsbo. He graduated from North Kitsap High School, class of 1957. He was very active in sports and school activities.

Gary married Ellen (Waali) Wofford in 1958. They were married for 62 years. They lived in West Seattle for 36 years before moving to the Lake Tapps / Enumclaw area.

When Gary resided in West Seattle, he coached football for The West Seattle Boys Club and West Seattle Jr. Football from 1959-1976. We know he impacted many young men’s lives and won several City Championships along the way! He also worked on the “Chain Gang” for the University of Washington football program for several years.

In his earlier years, he worked for Boeing, Sid Eland Distributors, and North Coast Electric. After moving to the Lake Tapps area, he had three restaurants in Bonney Lake and Enumclaw: Pard’s Place (Enumclaw), Midtown Grill (Bonney Lake), and 23 years as proprietor of BLT Sports Bar and Grill, 1997-2020 (Bonney Lake).

He was very supportive to the local community programs, charities, several youth programs, and the Veterans Home, located in Orting. He was active with WIAA High School Basketball by hosting teams in state tournaments at the Tacoma Dome for several years and supported many High School athletic programs. He also provided holiday meals for families in Enumclaw and Bonney Lake communities.

He is survived by his wife Ellen and their three children: Jana Decker (Joe Fox), Connie Bray, and Brent Wofford, and grandchildren Travis Decker (Lindsey), Kyle Bray (Willa Rector), Jennie Roush (Brandon), Brooke Coyle (Frank Tanner), Taylor Wofford, Devin Wofford, Domi Wolmer (Chris), and JJ Fox. Gary also is survived by 11 great-grandchildren and his brother Richard Wofford (Cathy).

In lieu of flowers, please donate to any of these organizations:

Bonney Lake Food Bank: PO Box 7521, Bonney Lake, WA 98391
Enumclaw Food Bank: PO Box 827, Enumclaw, WA 98022
Or any Youth Organization of your choice.

A private burial was held Nov. 9, 2021, at the Enumclaw Cemetery, Enumclaw. A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, February 5th at the Eagles in Buckley from 1-4 PM.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries and memorial announcements by request, free of charge. Please email the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

10 Replies to "Celebration of Life planned February 5 for Gary W. Wofford, 1939-2021"

  • Danny McMillin January 18, 2022 (3:19 pm)

    Gary Wofford impacted (literally!) my life as my West Seattle Little League when I was a midget, age 11. We won the city championship in 1966. Again he was my coach in Gil Dobies age 14 and we won the city championship beating Laurelhurst in Husky Stadium. Coach Wofford demanded your attention at all times when on the playing field. I remember one practice where we were scrimmaging. We were in the huddle when I heard a jet flying overhead. At that time, there were few jets flying; mostly they were prop planes. Coach Wofford caught me not paying attention. “McMillin! Get your head in the game. Just ’cause your old man builds those planes, doesn’t mean you can gawk at them on the playing field.” But he was laughing as he said it… Mr. Wofford taught me a lot about football and about life. May he rest in peace.

    • Ellen Wofford January 18, 2022 (4:05 pm)

      Thank you for the kind words.  He had the most  admiration for sports and guiding the youth. What a sense of humor and never lost it! Blessings to the young people in West Seattle. 

  • Kevin Fitz January 18, 2022 (7:46 pm)

    Gary and Ellen use to frequent my restaurant in Burien.  What wonderful people, loved Gary’s humor and enjoyed the banter.  Gary was a prince of a guy and could relate to the challenges of operating a restaurant.  My sincere condolences to you Ellen and your family.  May he rest in Peace.

    • Ellen Wofford January 19, 2022 (6:58 pm)

      We came to your restaurant in Burien on Gary’s night to cook. 😜😍

    • Ellen Wofford January 19, 2022 (7:01 pm)

      Thank you .  It must hsve been Gary’s night to cook.❤️

  • Matt Carson January 19, 2022 (10:38 am)

           The man, the myth, the legend – Coach Gary Wofford. He earned those accolades during his tenure as an exceptionally successful West Seattle Junior Football Coach. If you played for him I know you remember him. His teams were skilled, smart, prepared, proud and always, tough. Most importantly, TEAMS. Teams that built memories and bonds that truly last a lifetime. A very long list of his players went on to play for West Seattle and Chief Sealth High Schools. I would be remiss to not mention the outstanding and dedicated Assistant Coaches that provided their knowledge and complemented Coach Wofford.  Many of his former players followed in his footsteps and came back to coach West Seattle Junior Football.  Danny McMillin (above) and I each coached for over 10 years using drills, plays and philosophies passed down from Coach Wofford.  He was indeed the man, the myth, the legend. 

    • Ellen Wofford January 19, 2022 (7:03 pm)

      He was so proud of you “boys”. 

    • Todd Stratton February 2, 2022 (7:43 pm)

      Wonderful comments Matt. We were teams 

  • Mike Smith February 2, 2022 (11:42 am)

    Coach Gary Wofford…a coach’s name and voice that echos in the hearts and minds and character of sooo many. He coached me at 9 years old on that Midgets championship team and for those 2 years in Gil Dobie. He pushed me to know I can exceed my self-imposed limits. He challenged me to be better than anyone who was my opponent. He trained me to “always get up” when I’ve been knocked down. Most of all, he believed in me. There has not been a year in my life when I did not exercise and impart what Coach Wofford instilled into me. He taught me how to humbly win like a Champion, and how to respectfully lose like a Champion. He “championed” his players! In the spirit of Danny’s story and Matt’s wonderful euloge, here is a myth busting story I’ve told my whole life.THE MYTH”Coach Gary Wofford could throw you a pass that could knock you over.”THE TESTIMONYOur Midget team (9&10 year olds?) would practice on the Little League diamond behind Hiawatha fieldhouse at times. Coach Wofford would stand near the first base line and, one at a time, he would tell us to run toward the wadding pool on a fly pattern. “Keep going!” he would yell as we might turn around to look for the pass. Then, as we were about 30-40 yards out, he would unleash an “UNDERHANDED” pass like a fastpitch pitcher, and yell, “Turn around!”. The wouldbe reciever would slow down, turn around, be running backwards while trying to locate the football somewhere in the sky, when suddenly, Coach Wofford’s perfect spiral pass would hit the lone reciever knocking him to the ground! Remember, we were 40 yards out and those of us players watching knew we would soon be next!Thanks for everything Coach! And thanks to all of you who carried on with his passion to coach, inspire and champion!

  • Mike Smith February 3, 2022 (6:26 pm)

    Coach Gary Wofford…a coach’s name and voice that echos in the hearts and minds and character of sooo many. He coached me at 9 years old on that Midgets championship team and for 2 years in Gil Dobie.  Coach Wofford pushed his players to know we can exceed our self-imposed limits. He trained us to “always get up” when we’ve been knocked down. Personally, those two attributes changed my life…but most of all, he believed in me…and all the above taught me how to believe in myself and how to help others believe in themselves. Thanks for everything Coach! And thanks to all of you who carried on with his passion to coach and inspire!

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