People say goodbye to Gary Gembe with fond memories

GARY GEMBE in 2013

The line formed at 3:30 for the 4 p.m. visitation for Gary Gembe. The 76-year-old Greencastle businessman passed away Dec. 4 at his home. People paid respects until 8 p.m. at Antrim Brethren in Christ Church Sunday, and the funeral was at the church Monday morning.

Gembe was the owner and president of Graphics Universal for 32 years, turning the reigns over to his children in 2007. He also served the community as a member of Greencastle Antrim Area Development Corporation (GAADC), Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce, and on the board of the Grove Medical Center.

He was a charter member of the original Calvary Bible Church of Greencastle. He served the church in many ways, and organized many mission trips to Central America.

Remembering the man

Gembe's efforts to better the community were secondary to his character in the memories of the people who knew him personally. The same theme resounded as they recalled what he meant to them.

Greg Hoover remembered when Gembe and his wife Nancy moved to town. Gembe took over Morrison Press, with the storefront facing what is now the Susquehanna Bank parking lot. Hoover gave their son Greg drum lessons.

Gembe aided in the economic base of Greencastle through the development corporation. GAADC spearheaded the creation of the Commerce Avenue business strip, Hoover recalled, and Graphics Universal was a cornerstone business at the site south of town.

On the social side, he continued, Gembe was a fan of school athletics.

"If you went to sporting events, you would find Gary there," he said.

The couple considered Greencastle their home, added Hoover. "In life you meet neat people. He was one of them."

More than business

Frank Traver worked with Gembe on GAADC. They became friends and hunted out west together. But it was Gembe's personality that stood out. He was calm, reasonable, intelligent, well-spoken, organized and a good businessperson.

"He was a mentor and a good friend. He really was," said Traver. "He was a gentleman and it was a privilege to know him."

Adam Wiestling, now employed at Graphics, got to know Gembe through the grandsons.

"He was a great person and would do anything for anybody," Wiestling said. "His family was his life. He and Nancy treated us all like we were the family."

Bryan Arndt met Gembe through the commercial printing business in the 1980s and they soon became friends. They hunted in New Mexico and Colorado, and hit the golf course together sometimes. Gembe’s spiritual life was there for the taking. He took Arndt's family to a Bible camp, and they were also welcomed into the extended Gembe family.

"He always was willing to share the Lord openly," remembered Arndt. "I am grateful to have known him."

Gembe, a native of York, is survived by his wife Nancy; children Nalisa Gembe, Gregory (Erica) Gembe, and Garon (Julie) Gembe; eight grandchildren; two sisters; and one brother. He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother.