Gary “Showcase” Elsner, 65, of Benton Harbor died Friday, May 6, 2022, at the corner of Milton and Pipestone in Benton Harbor. His family has created a memorial at this location.
Services celebrating his life will be at 3 pm on Sunday, May 22, at the Fairplain Chapel of Florin Funeral Service in Benton Township. Cremation will follow the service. Friends and relatives may visit from 2 pm until the time of the service. The service will be followed by a catered dinner starting at 5:30 pm at Nail Couture located in the M-139 plaza. Gary’s family request those attending the service wear a Pink Floyd T-shirt or University of Michigan T-shirt and jeans.
Memorial contributions can be made at the funeral home. An envelope will be provided. Electronic contributions can be made to Gary “Showcase” Elsner’s memorial/loss fundraiser on Facebook or to his daughter’s CashApp at $ElizabethElsner. Messages, photos and memories may be left at www.florin.net or emailed to [email protected]
Gary was born on Feb. 18, 1957, in Benton Harbor to Norman Elsner and Elizabeth (Snyder) Schaenfeld.
Gary is survived by his sister, Caroll Ann Donimion, brothers: Roger Weir Jr., and Michael Schaenfeld Jr.; his daughters: Elizabeth (Elsner) Trice, Stephanie Sutton, and Merissa Bahus; and sons: Casey Elsner and David Mahon; as well as 10 grandchildren.
He is preceded in death by his parents: Norman and Elizabeth (Snyder) Elsner; stepfather, Walter (Mike) Schaenfeld; and brother, Alan Elsner.
Gary Spent his life enjoying his work, helping others, nature, trying new things. But his most cherished time was spent with family; especially his children and grandchildren. He was a nice, kind, caring, considerate, generous, humble, honest, hardworking man with an extremely good heart. Notorious for walking everywhere and befriending lots of people.
He often bought food and drinks and gave people money, especially the homeless or less fortunate. He would often offer them jobs assisting him on his projects. He would also donate money to causes such as Habitat for Humanity. He cared for other peoples’ pets and stray animals as much as he did for people.
Gary took pride in having graduated from Eau Claire High School in 1975. He enjoyed watching football. He was a fan of U of M, Detroit Lions, and other Michigan teams. He enjoyed playing softball, volleyball, horseshoes, corn hole, billiards, darts, pin ball, and most of all bowling as he was on a league and won many trophies in his younger years.
He loved playing online computer games, his favorite being Ultima Online and Solitaire. he loved movies; especially action and sci-fi. Some of his favorite movies were Star Wars, Star Trek, Marvel, and DC. He loved classic rock, especially Pink Floyd, and he often listened to 107.1 WIRX.
He passionately loved nature, being outside, and being on the water. He enjoyed piers, lighthouses, fishing, canoeing and boating. He also loved going to new places, seeing new things, and trying new things, especially new food concoctions he would put together himself. Some of his favorite food and drinks were Mountain Dew, Stroh’s beer, tacos, spaghetti, chili, fruit pies, ice cream and strawberry Twizzlers.
Some of Gary’s various occupations included working on the family farm, working at Bosch Braking systems (July 1984 to September 2000), where he voluntarily worked overtime so much that his co-workers gave him the nickname “eat ’em up” because he would eat up all the overtime.
He was an overnight stocker at Walmart, often operating lift trucks. He was a temp worker for Premier Tool and Die, Gast, Atlantic Automotive and JL French. He worked as an inspector, lift truck operator, janitor and general factory worker until he fell in love with becoming self-employed.
Gary’s pride and joy of self-employment included beekeeper, contractor, handyman, carpenter and doing tree service and landscaping. Some of his most recent projects included remodeling at Nail Couture, Secret Garden, and Hawks Nest in Benton Harbor and the new Lazer Graphics location in St. Joseph.
He did numerous tree service and landscaping projects with A&B Lawn Services and numbers projects with private individuals who would ask for his help; often resulting in taking on multiple projects and working three or more projects at once. He loved his work, fixing things and helping others.
Gary will be dearly missed by his family and many friends.
Published by The Herald-Palladium on May 20, 2022.