Gary Glenn Speers, 77, formerly of Normal, Ill., Newcastle, and recently residing in North Fort Myers, Fla. passed away Saturday, Feb. 18, at Cape Coral Hospital from complications from several medical issues.
He was born on July 27, 1945 in El Paso, Texas to Glenn and Freeda Speers. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Judy Moses Speers; and one sister, Carol Speers Kemp, of Lexington, Ill. His parents; brother, Wally; and grandparents preceded him in death.
Gary attended Minier Elementary School and graduated from Gibson City High School in 1963, attended Illinois State University with a degree in social studies, and attended the FBI National Academy for municipal police officers.
He spent 34 years as a police officer for the town of Normal, starting as a patrol sergeant. During this time he started the first program working in the schools with at-risk students, becoming a lieutenant, captain, and assistant chief. He was a member of many police organizations statewide, including Illinois Chiefs of Police, which had an exchange with the Norfolk Constabulary in Norfolk, England, and he headed the committee at the Normal Police Department for the department to become a nationally accredited agency. At the state level he served on Illinois Police Accreditation Coalition, Illinois Police Planners, and Southeast region technical group.
Locally Gary was a member of the Bloomington Normal Sister Cities Committee, former president of McLean County Health Board, chair of Youth Impact, and along with Glen and Shirley Newton and his wife, Judy Speers, chaired the WJBC Brotherhood Tree for over 40 years, wanting to help McLean County residents have gifts and food baskets at Christmas. For his many years of giving to the residents of McLean County, he was awarded the Spirit of McLean County by WJBC Radio in 2001. He was awarded the honor of Police Officer of the Year and numerous recognitions for his participation in many organizations.
After retiring, Gary joined Rotary International and continued his membership in that organization after moving to Maine. He was a member of the Damariscotta-Newcastle Rotary Club, served as the club president, and is the only member of that club to serve as District 7780 governor.
While living in Maine, he continued working with youth through Youth Promise and Friends Forever of USA and Northern Ireland.
He was also an eight-year member of the Illinois National Guard.
Gary loved cars, camping, playing bocce ball, and dancing, which is where he and Judy met. He had a great smile, a calm demeanor, and met people easily. He spent a great deal of time working with young people, especially those at risk. He always stepped up to help. He loved people, life and having fun.
A celebration of life will be held on March 5, 2023 at 3 p.m. in the Speers’ home at 8383 Wagon Wheel Circle, North Fort Myers, Fla.