Gary S. Bawden, age 78, of Isanti was recieved into God’s presence March 1, 2022. A memorial service will be held at 1:00 P.M. Tuesday, March 15th at Word of Life Church, 10730 University Ave NW, Coon Rapids. A time for visiting will be held one hour prior to the service and light refreshments will follow.
The service will be livestreamed at:
On Tuesday, March 1, 2022, Gary Scott Bawden was received into God’s presence where, with a renewed body free of Parkinson’s disease, he continued the eternal life he had received as a young teen by God’s grace and invitation. He passed peacefully, surrounded by his beloved family, and is now and forever present with the Lord. The family extends humble thanks to the Cambridge Walker Methodist Levande leadership and staff, as well as Allina Hospice and later Ecumen Hospice who provided such skilled and compassionate care during Gary’s long illness.
Gary was born September 3, 1943 in Chicago to parents Lawrence (Chic) Bawden and Doris Lillian [Snyder] Bawden. Aside from a semester or two at elementary level in his grandparents’ town of Glidden, Wisconsin, Gary attended 12 years’ schooling in Chicago, graduating from Proviso East High School in June 1961. He worked at Moody’s WMBI radio for a time, took courses in radio and music there, and then relocated to St. Paul where he majored in pastoral studies at St. Paul Bible College for four years. In later years, he picked up courses at Trinity Seminary and Anoka Ramsey Community College.
In his second year at SPBC, he met and married classmate MaryAnn Yvonne Young of rural
Wadena, Minnesota. Two offspring blessed their marriage, Nathan James and Kelly Lynn, as well as a long, untidy list of dogs and cats. They were married 58 1/2 years.
Gary typically held two or more jobs simultaneously throughout his career, including radio announcer at KANO Anoka and a small station in Madison, Wisconsin; furniture and men’s furnishings sales; securities sales and life insurance in which field he achieved the coveted CFRE status; Youth For Christ Director in Racine, Wisconsin; pastor of Minnesota evangelical churches at Foley, Elk River, Marshall, Coon Rapids, Forest Lake, and Stacy; and President and CEO of Midwest Challenge, a Minneapolis drug treatment live-in facility with extensions overseeing a juvenile jail ministry, Outpost Ministries, Ark Books, and Ark Products enterprises. The jail work, now called Arise Ministries, and Outpost, Inc., successfully continue to this day.
His association with these and other academic and community involvements gave Gary many opportunities for international training, ministry, travel, and cultural studies. He toured Pacific
Rim countries, including a Philippine orphanage; Scandinavia; Germany, where he witnessed
the dismantling of the Wall separating West from East Germany; Poland on the day Lech Walesa was elected President; Austria; and six trips to Israel and environs, several as tour director. In later years Gary and Mary Ann toured Ireland and Israel, also cruising to Alaska and Grand Cayman.
A vibrant life force, Gary cultivated active interests in motor vehicles and sports cars, notably a beloved 280Z Nissan: Gold Wing motorcycles: downhill skiing mostly in Colorado: a treasure of a cabin near Pine City; music; fishing; and sailing, both on Minnesota lakes and Florida’s Gulf waters. But by far what brought Gary the most profound joy was the privilege of showing someone their need of a Savior and watching their eyes light up when they came to faith in the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross and in His resurrection, which provides the free gift of everlasting life to all who place their trust in Him. Evangelism was his first calling and Gary was feverish about making the Gospel clear.
His family was his second calling. To MaryAnn’s occasional embarrassment, he broadcast broadly the benefits of his marriage, and made frequent attempts to get all his buddies happily married off. His two children were the joys of his life. If they ever did anything wrong, he was out of town at the time and acknowledged no faults in them. A “brag wall” in their home bearing portraits, name plaques and name meanings of all the children and grandchildren attests to his consuming pleasure in them.
Gary was preceded in death by his devoted mother, father, grandparents Scott and Ann Snyder, grandmother Elizabeth Bawden, an uncle, aunts, cousins, and significant mentors/father figures who nurtured his physical and spiritual growth. Gary will be painfully missed by MaryAnn; Nate and wife Miriam [Ask] Bawden; Kelly [Bawden] Johnson, husband Curt Johnson; grandchildren Brittany [Bawden] and Seth Sammons with one-year-old Reilly Joy, Alyssa [Bawden] and husband Mark Pua, Alex and Abbi [Larson] Bawden, Josiah and Sierra [Becker] Bawden, Andrew Scott Johnson, Kyle Donovan Johnson, Aaron Curtis Johnson, and a host of treasured extended family, friends, coworkers, and parishioners.