Gary Michael Kluss
Gary Kluss passed away suddenly on September 13, 2020. He leaves behind his heartbroken family members and friends, who will greatly miss him.
Gary was born on March 12, 1962 to Janet and Ronald Kluss, the youngest of three children close in age. He and his sisters played together all through childhood. Wife Sandra credits Gary’s sisters with helping him later become such a sensitive and caring husband. Growing up in Santa Barbara, Gary attended Foothill School and La Colina Junior High, graduating from San Marcos High School in 1980. The friends he met in school and through Little League became lifelong friends, taking part in each others’ weddings and special events. Most of his career, Gary worked in medical sales; his territory covered most of the local clinics and labs and up the coast as far as San Luis Obispo. In 1993, Gary married his wife Sandra. They were a devoted couple for 29 years until Gary’s untimely passing at the age of 58.
From a young age, Gary was involved in sports. He was a huge Los Angeles Dodgers fan and was a top player in City League baseball, eventually earning a place in the Santa Barbara Softball Club Hall of Fame. He was an outstanding and highly sought-after pitcher with quick reflexes, able to stop line drives that would take out any normal person. He was a hitting machine and fast baserunner, turning singles into doubles or even triples. Friends who played with Gary in the 1980’s still share vivid memories of his team, the Tequila Shooters. Most importantly, his teammates remember his upbeat and infectious competitiveness and team spirit.
Gary adored his wife Sandra above all else and devoted himself to caring for her, mother-in-law Eva, and rescue dogs Bella and Petey. They shared many happy years together, enjoying time with friends and family at home and traveling to Alaska, Hawaii, French Polynesia and Europe. Gary was a top-notch Ping Pong player and won a few tournaments on cruise ships for the coveted logo keychain, luggage tag, or casino voucher. He was always up for a fun game or two, especially while on vacation with Sandra.
Everyone who knew Gary seemed to have a funny story about him. There was the time his co-workers in the lab gave his mom a card on Mother’s Day thanking her for giving birth to Gary. Or the time he tried to teach a friend to use a stick shift and the friend blew up Gary’s car. One friend remembered Gary as “one of life’s good people. Quiet, thoughtful, funny and kind. And he could bench press a mid-sized Toyota.”
One thing everyone who knew Gary agreed on was that he was one of the best people they knew and he brought out the best in everyone he met. Gary’s nieces remember him as someone who lived a happy, carefree life, waking up each day with a smile. He had a goofy, contagious laugh, and they were never able to hold a conversation with him without laughing or smiling themselves. Co-workers remember Gary as loving a good, cold Coke and giving away bags full of his famous avocados. He was always willing to help his friends with anything. An old friend spoke for the rest of us when she said, “Loved this guy, so much.”
Gary is survived by his loving wife Sandra Kluss, sisters Julie Kluss (Scott Bailey) and Terrie Kluss (Jesse Sambrano), mother-in-law Eva Esquivel, and sister and brother in law Marie and Rick Landof. Gary was a beloved uncle, nephew, and cousin to numerous others of our family, both living and deceased. He was preceded in death by parents Janet and Ronald Kluss. All who survive mourn his passing; He was a friend to all and truly represented the best in all of us.
A memorial service will be held at a future time yet to be determined.