Petaluma native Gary Clifford Ingerson's family stretches back three generations in the south Sonoma County city, including a great-grandfather who as a city councilman was instrumental in getting the D Street bridge built.
Ingerson, 52, died unexpectedly Tuesday, following a stroke and a burst aneurysm, said his wife Tami Ingerson.
Gary Ingerson was raised on his grandparents' 40-acre ranch on Middle Two Rock Road. The family bought the ranch during the Great Depression after their Kentucky Street grocery failed and they lost their home.
The west Petaluma ranch was home to extended Ingerson family members, who started a dairy and then sold and delivered milk.
Gary Ingerson attended Wilson School, Petaluma Junior High and Petaluma High School. He also attended college and trade schools.
He and his wife met in 1984 while both worked for Lucas Films at Skywalker Ranch in Marin County. Ingerson had helped build the ranch for movie director and producer George Lucas. Ingerson then worked at the ranch in maintenance, making sure things ran smoothly, Tami Ingerson said. In more recent years he continued to work at the ranch on contract.
Helping things run smoothly was a theme in Ingerson's life, including for the last several years as facilities superintendent for San Francisco State University's Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies. He oversaw the marine biology lab, making sure equipment and processes ran properly.
"He was good at everything," his wife said.
Gary Ingerson had always been handy as a teen and as an adult was known for his talents in manufacturing and innovation in design.
"He was good at conversions and solar and electricity," said his sister, Linda Prosser, who recently moved from Petaluma to Smithfield, Utah. "He installed a windmill out at the ranch in the &‘90s. He was real talented that way, he could grasp a project and implement it."
She said her younger brother was a loving family man, who was quiet and enjoyed working on his projects. "He had a real quick mind. He was always on the go," Prosser said.
He enjoyed building cars from kits, including Porsche Boxsters and Cobras.
Interested in genealogy, he had researched family history discovering roots to 1640 in England where the family name was Ingersoll.
Ingerson enjoyed sailing and camping was a favorite activity for family time.
"We liked to go out to Bodega for a few days. We were always pretty much coastal. Gualala, Salt Point, Oregon. He loved the coast and he loved camping," his wife said.
The family also took major trips every few years, including a recent month-long trip to Florida and a road trip to see part of the country with Mt. Rushmore as a final destination.
Gary and Tami Ingerson were married 16 years. They have three children, 15, 13 and 11 years old.
The family recently sold the ranch and moved to Sebastopol to live with and help care for Tami Ingerson's mother.
As well as his wife and sister, he is survived by his children, Rebecca, Ian and Colton of Sebastopol and sister Carol Pardini of Montana.
A Memorial service will be at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Petaluma. Memorial donations may be made to the Gary Ingerson Memorial Trust Fund to any Exchange Bank branch.