On Sunday, January 29th, Gary Michael Cardenas, a beloved husband, brother, father, and grandfather passed away at the age of 65 with his wife of 40 years by his side. Born to Steve and Gertrude Cardenas on September 26, 1957, Gary enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1975 as a proud member of the Hurlburt Field 1st Special Operations Wing of the 9th Air Force and later led a successful career as computer/network and SAN engineer. Even after his retirement from Hewlett-Packard in 2007, he continued as a private consultant for nearly 10 years due to his wealth of knowledge leaving him highly sought after.
Gary met his wife, Donna, while enlisted in the United States Air Force, stationed at Hurlburt Field in Ft. Walton Beach. During this time they were part of 834 AGS that provided support for the AC-130 Spectre Gunships where Gary worked on the computers that controlled the weapons systems. They moved to Houston, TX, and were married on May 7, 1983. While in Houston, Gary worked for several companies in the energy sector as well as high-end computing and storage array network companies. He traveled the world doing the jobs he had excelled in.
More important than Gary’s successful career was his family to which he was a devoted and loving husband and father to his 3 daughters and 4 granddaughters. He continued to be a strong protector, provider, and voice of reason even when surrounded by a sea of women. In 2016, Gary and Donna moved back to the place he always felt at home, Ft. Walton Beach, FL.
Gary was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiform, a highly aggressive brain cancer, on June 8th, 2022. After a long and courageous battle against the disease for nearly 8 months, he passed away peacefully in the comfort of his home, in the company of his wife.
Gary is survived by his wife, Donna; their daughters, Kellie and husband Al, Kristin and husband George, and Alison; their granddaughters, Isabelle, Jillian, Jolie, and Neila; his brothers, Steve and wife Glorianna, Robert and wife Mary; his sisters, Gloria and husband Jon, Sabrina and husband Kenneth.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Steve and Gertrude Cardenas, and by his brother, Daniel.
Services will be held at Beal Memorial Cemetery 316 Beal Pkwy NW, Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32548 on February 11th at 11:00 AM.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made on behalf of Gary to the Glioblastomafoundation.org or Special Operations Warrior Foundation.