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Remembering Gary Brender

Featured Photo from Remembering Gary Brender

A beloved Lake Mary City Commissioner, Gary dedicated his life to service and selflessness

Longtime Lake Mary City Commissioner Gary Brender passed away on March 30 at the age of 68 after battling a series of illnesses. Gary was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, and spent 31 years in public service. His tenure as a city commissioner included a stint as deputy mayor of Lake Mary.

Gary loved ribbon-cutting ceremonies and speaking to local high-school classes about civic engagement, and he was a member of multiple community boards over the years. In addition to his three children, he told friends and family that his service to his country and community were among the highlights of his life.

One of three siblings, Gary was born into a Navy family and lived in many states before graduating in 1970 from Colonial High School in Orlando. He earned a degree in political science from Miami University (Ohio) in 1974. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Navy. He moved to Pensacola for flight training and earned his aviator wings. Gary commanded anti-submarine warfare aircraft for 10 years during the peak of the Cold War before leaving the Navy and returning to Central Florida to raise a family while working as a sales executive for Lion Ribbon Company. He remained in the U.S. Navy Reserve and eventually retired as a commander after more than 20 years of service.

“Commissioner Brender was a friend and a remarkable professional,” says Mayor David Mealor of Lake Mary. “I appreciated the fact that he would often use his experience from the military to assist us in crafting public policy to provide the very best service for our residents. He was a valued and respected colleague who represented us in a number of key leadership roles. He served our country, our region, our county, and our city with honor and distinction. We are a better community because of his commitment. Gary is truly missed.”

Gary’s wishes were for his ashes to be equally spread between the calm waters near his sailboat in New Smyrna Beach and the See Forever ski run in Telluride, Colorado. A memorial service will be planned for a later time.

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