Official Obituary of

Gary Earl Elsey

February 26, 1941 ~ February 22, 2024 (age 82) 82 Years Old

Gary Elsey Obituary

Celebration Of A Life Well Lived

Celebrating the life of Gary Earl Elsey


Born February 26, 1941, to Ralph and Frankie Elsey in Seattle.

He passed away in the seventh hour on the morning of February 22 ,2024.

He died as a result of a sudden major stroke. Cancer had also seemed to have reared its ugly head and possibly contributed.


Gary is proceeded in death by his father Ralph Elsey, his mother Frankie Elsey and most recently his wife of 59 years Bonnie Elsey. He was an only child.

He is survived by his four children and 5 grandchildren in order of birth. Sons Paul Elsey and Tim Elsey, daughters Melody (Elsey)Morgan and youngest daughter Hollie Elsey.  His grandchildren

Paul Elsey Jr., Amber Elsey, TJ Elsey, Taylor Morgan & Maddison Morgan.


He grew up in Centralia, WA. and graduated from Centralia High.

He received his B.A. from Central Bible College in Springfield, MO.


Gary Elsey was a loving husband, devoted father, friend, musician, pastor, brewmaster, bread baker and had other talents such as painting and oil painting.


He pastored after college for 2 years in Morton, WA. and then moved to Quincy, WA. where he pastored another 16 years before leaving ministry and moving to Longview, WA.


As a pastor he led many well and that legacy goes deep and wide. He followed the Spirit of God and really challenged the religion of man.  His love for the Lord began at age 19 when he was saved. His love for God shown through him all his life!

The peaceful warming smile, the non-judgmental way he would lend an ear and be a friend. That was Jesus reflected through a very genuine man, a humble man. 


He loved playing music. The bass was his stringed choice, although he could play a handful of other instruments.

As a musician he never put down the strings. He played all through his ministry in the church and after leaving ministry he worked in a music store named Kortens located in downtown Longview. He delivered instruments to schools up and down the Washington and Oregon territory. A great authority on many instruments, God truly blessed this man with an ear and heart for music. Later on, he began to meet old and new friends that led to different bands and stand in ands gigs for absent bass players. Many gigs at the famous historical Monticello Hotel in Longview and some bar jams in Skamokawa, WA.  A music career height for him was a chance to play at the famous and exclusive Highway 99 Blues Club in Seattle, WA.

He also played many jams and gigs with the Olympia band buddies who were known to play at Charlie’s, the 2 Mile house on the west side and O’Malley's Westside Lanes, the Northwest Harley Davidson, where he played lots of times, and Bub’s Pub in Centralia. I’m sure many places are not listed, and band names not mentioned.

He played up until he lost hearing in one ear which made it really difficult for him to continue jamming out.  Blues, bluegrass and rock n roll... man he was great.


Gary’s restaurant career, in part by his late wife Bonnie Elsey, led to him being one of the greatest bread bakers. Certainly, the greater brewmaster as he founded the first micro-brewery in Longview.

The two titles led to a new CB handle ” formerly known as the “Shep” short for Shepard from his years as a pastor.  Breaker breaker how about it “Brewbaker”, you got your ears on? Come on come back!  He also had a love for CB and Ham radio operation, a hobby he was passionate about as well.


He was always there for you, he would always lend an ear, he loved to have a great conversation on many topics…music, politics, God, the church, a wise man on many accounts.

Never once was a harsh word said about his character.

All that knew Gary just liked him instantly it seemed.


The legacy of Gary Earl Elsey lives on. What a life well lived!


Celebration of Life Well Lived  April 27 @ 2pm, held at Borst Park

Centralia, WA. 98531

Kitchen #2

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Celebration of Life
April 27, 2024

2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Borst Park Centralia, WA
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