Gary was born at Centralia, Washington and grew up at Rochester, Washington. He graduated from Rochester High School in 1961, and from St. Martin's College in Lacey, Washington in 1966 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.
In 1968, he sat for and passed the state license exam for professional land surveyor. He was active in this occupation with the same land surveying firm in Olympia since 1966. He is now retired.