ALWORTH, Gary Michael
Beloved father, brother, colleague, and friend, Gary Alworth passed away peacefully on February 15, 2021 in Seattle, WA. Gary grew up in the Richmond District of San Francisco, the son of Sam Alworth of Utah and Elvira Guffanti of Italy. In his teenage years he famously worked cleaning the shipping docks, where his father worked as an accountant, to make extra money. He graduated from St. Ignacius High School in 1963 and attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA, where he developed many lifelong friends and enjoyed playing basketball. At Gonzaga, Gary sharpened his basketball skills and his passion for Gonzaga basketball.
Gary earned a master's degree in Social Work from the University of Washington in 1969 and then received a direct commission as a Social Work Officer in the United States Air Force. Gary was initially stationed at Eglin Air Force base near Valparaiso, FL, where he married Rebecca Griesheimer in 1971. One year later, they moved to Royal Air Force Base, Lakenheath, England where their son Sam was born. In the Air Force, Gary helped Vietnam combat veterans with difficulties that ranged from mental health issues and psychosis to alcohol and drug addiction. In 1975 Gary left the Air Force and went into private practice with his colleague and friend Albert Davis in Atlanta, GA. There they successfully applied innovative methods of group psychotherapy developed in the Air Force to patients in private practice.
Gary went on to have a 35-year career in Social Work in the Atlanta area, helping thousands of people suffering from mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction at Georgia Baptist Medical Center, Grady Hospital, and in private practice. To his patients, Gary was an inspirational and trustworthy professional. He was highly respected by his colleagues for his depth of clinical knowledge and vast professional expertise. Many young professionals within Grady Health System chose Gary to be their professional mentor and clinical supervisor. He mentored generations of young professionals within Grady Health System who will carry on his legacy and high professional standards.
Gary was a devout Catholic and longtime member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in North Decatur. He continued to play basketball recreationally at the Atlanta Sporting Club and later at the Marcus Jewish Community Center, where he would devastate much younger athletes with his quick release jump shot. In the mid-1980s he developed a passion for golf, a low handicap, and many dear golfing friends.
Among all of Gary's numerous colleagues and friends from diverse walks of life, he is well remembered for his exceptional character, his unending desire to help others, his humor, and his athleticism. He was a loving and generous father and grandfather. His absence from the world is felt sorely by all of those who loved him.
Gary is survived by his sister Cheryl Skinner, son, Sam Alworth, and two grandsons Ian and Owen Alworth. An open to the public memorial service will take place on July 10th, 2021 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 2855 Briarcliff Road NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30329. Memorial contributions may be made, if desired, in his name to Gonzaga University (https://www.gonzaga.edu/give/give-now); Easterseals (www.easterseals.com), and the Christian Appalachian Project (chrisitanapp.org)