Gary N. Shofner, age 82, of Topeka, Kan., passed away Tuesday, June 30, 2020, at Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka. Gary was born October 31, 1937, in Ottawa, Kan., the son of Nelson Owen “Red” Shofner and Helen B. Shofner (Davis).
Gary married his wife, Sandra Jean (Hopkins) Shofner, on August 13, 1961, in Hays, Kan. The couple met at the University of Kansas where Gary received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Civil Engineering in 1961. Prior to K.U., Gary graduated from Ottawa High School in 1955 and attended Ottawa University.
Gary, known by his many friends as “Shof,” was a partner, senior vice president and director of marketing at Cook, Flatt & Strobel Engineers, P.A. in Topeka where he retired in 2000. He was a licensed professional engineer in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Early in his engineering career, Gary was a maintenance road engineer for the Kansas State Highway Commission in Topeka. The Topeka chapter of the Kansas Engineering Society named him Outstanding Young Engineer of the Year in 1970. The Kansas Highway Commission promoted Gary to district maintenance engineer in Garden City, Kan., where he worked for six years before moving back to Topeka to begin his Cook, Flatt & Strobel career in 1976.
Throughout his life, Gary was very involved with donating his time and talents. He served on the University of Kansas Civil Engineering Department advisory board, was a past president of the Topeka Jaycees, and greatly enjoyed his membership in the Topeka Rotary Club, Kansas Engineering Society, American Society of Civil Engineers, Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity at the University of Kansas, the University of Kansas Alumni Association, the Topeka Jayhawk Club, the K.U. Williams Fund, the Arab Shrine Temple, Masonic Lodge #17, the Scottish Rite and the Royal Organization of Jesters. He was also an active member of First Baptist Church of Topeka where he taught Sunday School for many years and served on various boards and committees.
Gary was a talented angler, for years fishing on local ponds, lakes and taking yearly trips to Canada with his fishing buddies. He loved to travel with Sandy and their friends, with cruises, the Caribbean islands, Las Vegas, New York City and Hawaii being a few of his favorites. But nothing made Shof happier than the Kansas Jayhawks. He and Sandy had season football and basketball tickets for decades and loved to travel to watch the ‘Hawks play near and far. He saw KU win the National Championship in person in 1988 and 2001, and win the Orange Bowl in 2008. He also loved the Kansas City Royals and his family has fond memories of him listening to games on the radio on their back porch growing up with a good scotch in hand.
Gary was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and son. He passed with his wife by his side as they fought COVID-19 together in the hospital. Their love was so strong Sandy took her last breath 30 hours later so they could be together in heaven.
Gary is survived by two daughters, Stacy Shofner Vobach of Overland Park, Kan., and Terri Shofner Mallioux and her husband, Ross, of Fayetteville, Ark.; his sister Connie Thompson and her husband Jerry of Ottawa, Kan., and his brother Gene Shofner and his wife Elyse of Denver, Colo. He and Sandy have four grandchildren, Tate Vobach of Portland, Ore., Ryann Vobach of Topeka, Trevor Mallioux of Fayetteville, Ark., and Alec Vobach of Overland Park. He was preceded in death by his parents and his youngest brother, Loren Shofner.
Following his wishes, Gary will be cremated and will be interred at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Topeka. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers or similar gifts, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the Shofner Memorial Fund. All proceeds will be used to benefit the COVID-19 nursing staff at Stormont Vail Hospital. Memorials can be sent to: Shofner Memorial Fund, c/o Heritage Bank, P.O. Box 67029, Topeka, KS, 66667 or dropped off at Heritage Bank, 3024 S.W. Wanamaker Road, Topeka. Dove Cremations and Funerals, Southwest Chapel, Topeka is assisting the family.
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Gary’s family would like to personally thank every doctor, nurse and healthcare professional who cared for and loved on him as extended members of the Shofner family since we could not be by his side.
Rock Chalk, Shof. Rock Chalk.