Gary R. Small

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. – Gary R. Small, 82, of Port Charlotte, Florida, passed away Wednesday, July 24, 2013.

Gary was born February 23, 1931, in Iron Mountain, Michigan, and moved to Port Charlotte 47 years ago from Marquette, Mich. Gary devoted his professional career to education. He served as a school administrator in Charlotte County Florida most of his life. He devoted his final years to the establishment and development of the Charlotte Harbor School. He was a graduate of Northern Michigan College and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He served honorably in the United States Air Force as a bomber navigator during the Korean Conflict. In retirement, Gary and his wife Kaarina traveled between Florida and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where he enjoyed the back drop of the northern woods. Gary was involved with Little League early in his life. He helped to establish the sport in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. An Aspiring Major League Baseball player himself, he remained a devoted New York Yankees fan all of his life.

He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years, Kaarina Osterberg Small; five children, Amber (Trey) McCartt, of Elsah, Ill., Liisa (Tipper) Nichols of Boston, Mass., John (Jill) of Satellite Beach, Fla., Kris of Englewood, Fla., and Anna Conti, of Port Charlotte, Fla., as well as five grandchildren, Waylon (Nicole) and Sarah West, Kris Jr., Katie, and Christian Small of Cape Coral and Naples, Fla., and four great-grandchildren. In addition, he is survived by his brothers and sisters: Nancy (Dick) Toyra of Marquette, Janice, of Melbourne, Fla., and Daryl (Eileen) also of Marquette, Mich., and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his sister Karen (Jack) Peterson, and his brother Gene (Rae) Small, and his parents, Elmer and June Small.

There are no funeral services scheduled at this time. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Charlotte Harbor School 22450 Hancock Ave., Port Charlotte, FL 33980.

Friends may visit online at to sign the guest book and extend condolences to the family. Arrangements are by Roberson Funeral Home & Crematory Port Charlotte Chapel.