Like everyone who knew him, I was devastated to hear yesterday that Gary had died. I remember how great it was to reconnect with him when I started doing the interviews for We Wanted to Be Writers, and to find out that after a long career as an attorney, he’d returned to his writing—and what writing it was! At least as edgy as I remembered his work from 30 years earlier.
The fact that Gary had become an attorney was itself more than a little surprising, if not shocking, as was the fact that he’d become an avid, perhaps somewhat fanatical bike racer, two endeavors that 30 years ago in Iowa, hanging with Gary at the Mill, I could never have imagined lay in his future. I’m not sure Gary could have imagined it either. But then Gary had a capacious imagination…. We’ll all miss him. — Eric Olsen
If it was a heart attack (as first reports posit), it’s the kind of irony Gary would’ve made light—and very dark—of. His bio on our site has him tan and relaxed in his bikey cap. Others elsewhere show him hale and happy at his well-appointed home gym. He would’ve made us laugh through our tears.
For the past three years, when I sent my monthly ask to our writers for newsletter items, Gary was frequently the first to respond with news of a poem just accepted or a writing award added to his growing collection or praise for a friend’s work. He was generosity personified and he wrote breathlessly.
Friends, a large extended family, and writing were his passions. He wrote several guest posts here. Last Mother’s Day, he shared a poem for our Moms in Lit collection; the feature stirred so many memories he was compelled to write a long essay about his mother. That piece eventually got picked up by a print journal, but he made sure we knew the impetus came from our site.
Gary’s greatest source of pride was daughter Karen, another generation of writing Iorios. When she was accepted into the New School MFA program in NYC last fall, his proud papa smile was transcontinental. — Cheryl Olsen
Whether you knew Gary in his robust life, or virtually, or through his writing, the man was a font of anecdotal material. We encourage you to share a remembrance in the Comment box below.