Everett Stone Gest, Jr, 85, passed away peacefully at home after a long illness on November 23, surrounded by family. Everett (Ev) was raised in Audubon, New Jersey, the second of four children of Everett Stone Gest, Sr., who worked at the local Campbell Soup plant, and Vanova Gest, a homemaker.
Sports played a central role in his life. In high school he played football (center and linebacker), baseball (catcher) and basketball. After graduating from high school he planned to pursue employment at a local insurance company but, after receiving encouragement from a neighbor and the school principal, his mother facilitated his late admission to Drexel Tech (now Drexel University), where he combined a partial football scholarship and a co-op program with RCA to support his completion of a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce. His football career at Drexel culminated in his senior season in 1955, when as co-captain he helped lead the Drexel Dragons to an undefeated 8-0 record. The enduring friendships and memories from his Drexel football years were a major source of pride throughout his life.
In 1960 he met his future wife Margaret (Peggy) while both were employed at IBM. They were married later that year, and – as he was drafted and served a year in the Army -- began building and raising their family together. Several early moves were punctuated by longer stays in Pennsylvania (York, Broomall); Minnesota (Rochester) and Georgia (Dunwoody). Throughout these years Ev built a successful career at IBM first as a salesman and later as a manager. He was a devoted husband and father, planning ambitious family vacations to many parks around the country that he and Peggy had never had the opportunity to visit in their own youth. He coached many sports teams, earning a well-deserved reputation for passionate “discussions” with referees (a skill which he later applied to referees on televised sports), and was known for the meticulous care of his lawn. He was an unfailing supporter of his children’s many adventures and educational pursuits. He took up jogging in his mid-life and continued until he was 80. He was an avid golfer, made several holes-in-one over the years, “shot his age” at age 81, and played regularly up through his final year of life. In their retired years in North Carolina, Ev and Peggy continued to cheer for their children and grandchildren and remained devoted to caring for each other.
Ev is survived by his loving wife of 59 years, Margaret; son Michael (Julia Koch) of El Cerrito, California; daughter Kathleen (Mel Jones) of Chapel Hill; son Scott (Julie) of Crozet, Virginia; daughter Terri (Kirby) Dial of Urbandale, Iowa; grandchildren Nora and Ryan Gest, Maura and Ewan Jones, Caitlin and Conor Gest, and Reese and Sydney Dial; and by his brother John (Loretta) of Maple Shade, New Jersey. He was predeceased by his sister Vanova (Bud) Silvers and by his brother Charles.
The family plans a memorial open house at their home on Saturday, November 30, from 12pm to 3pm. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Ev’s memory be made to the Shriners Hospitals for Children or the Parkinson’s Foundation.
The Gest family is under the care of Walker's Funeral Home of Mebane.