Family and friends are grieving the loss of Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue Lieutenant Gary Bussey. Memorial services were held for him Tuesday.
"Gary was very dedicated to Christ, he was very dedicated to his family," said Palm Beach Gardens Chief Fire Inspector Chris Henry.
Henry was Gary's supervisor. He will miss the man he worked with for years. "He's one of the most passionate people I have ever met. He's passionate. Anything that he wanted to do, he was passionate about. There was no half way for Gary."
Bussey was planning to retire July 7, the day after his birthday. But on July 5, tragedy struck. Gary and his wife were boating. "She was out there with Gary and their dog. they were bringing the dog to Peanut Island for his first time at Peanut Island. They went out the Boynton Inlet, fishing and coming back towards the Palm Beach Inlet," Henry said.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Bussey was at the back of the vessel and reaching toward the water in an attempt to retrieve an unknown object. That's when he went overboard near the inlet. The Coast Guard searched for hours. They never found his body.
Now, family and friends are left with heartache.
But Tuesday they remembered the 25 years he spent with Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue.
"He did fire inspections, previous to that he drove a fire engine for about 10, 15 years," Henry said.
"Infectious smile, he had a grin about him that made you laugh. You didn't even have to know what he was thinking. When he grinned, you just started to chuckle. He left you happy," Palm Beach Gardens Fire Marshal Deputy Chief David Derita said. "He was larger than life. You hear that spoken about people all the time, but he truly was a character."
Gary was married for more than 30 years leaves behind his wife and five children.
Scripps Only Content 2017