Gary Lee Mussen, 1948–2023

Gary Lee Mussen slipped his earthly bonds on Feb. 11, 2023 after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He made a big entry into life weighing in at 10 lbs. 10 oz. on Oct. 3, 1948 in Santa Monica, Calif. He joined brother Jeff to complete Earl and Dorothy (Shaffer) Mussen’s family. 

Gary Lee Mussen

Gary loved being active and enjoyed camping in the mountains, tennis, snow skiing, traveling, flying, and scuba diving. After earning his private pilot’s license, he continued and completed licenses for instrument, commercial, and instructor pilot. He built 3 airplanes-RV2, RV4 modified to a Harmon Rocket, and a RV6 and sometime in between, with the help of father-in-law Carl, built the house he and Donna live in. He loved to take friends for a spin in the sky and maybe a loop or two if they were game. Throughout his life, Gary usually chose to have two jobs, from paper route and sweeping up at the barbershop in his youth to teaching 5th grade and farming oranges at the time of his retirement; he just liked to stay busy. 

He always considered Exeter, Calif., his hometown even though he was born in Santa Monica and lived a few years in Visalia, Calif. In his youth, he worked as little league coach, pool manager and part time recreation director for the city of Exeter. Upon returning to Exeter after serving in the United States Air Force, completing his education, and working in sales he again served his community through Lions Clubs International, Exeter Methodist Church, the Mural Committee, Exeter Food Closet, and the Exeter Community Blood Drive. 

Gary is preceded in death by his father; mother; brother; his cousin, Victor Mussen; father-in-law Carl Andrews; and mother-in-law Stella Andrews.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Donna Andrews Mussen; son Benjamin (Jean); sister-in-law Patty Mussen; niece Christine Mussen Anderson (Don); grandniece Ramona Mae Anderson; and his favorite cousin Helen “Peachi” Mussen. 

Burial will be private. A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. on Feb. 25, 2023 at Faith Tabernacle, 515 S. Filbert Ave, Exeter, CA. Luncheon to follow. Please bring a Gary story to share. 

In lieu of flowers please consider donating to Gary’s favorite organizations-the Exeter Lions Youth Fund, P. O. Box 405, Exeter, CA 93221 or A Festival of Arts, 101 W. Pine Street, Exeter, CA 93221. 

Arrangements by Smith Family Chapel, Exeter. Online condolences may be sent to the family through

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