Published November 11, 2010
Deacon Gary Womack was among the early pioneers to serve as a permanent deacon in the Atlanta Archdiocese. Ordained in 1987, he was among 51 men ordained in only the fourth class to serve the Catholics in North Georgia.
“He just had a servant’s heart,” is how his fellow deacon and St. John Neumann Church business manager Bill Marten put it.
Deacon Womack died at his home in Loganville on Nov. 3 of heart disease.
His vocation grew out of the Cursillo movement. He served in many roles at the parish before his ordination, from lector to Eucharistic minister and teacher.
Assigned to St. John Neumann Church, Lilburn, Deacon Womack shaped his ministry to provide comfort to people living in nursing homes, retirement communities and hospice facilities. He served people for 23 years, stopping only when his health prevented the 71-year-old in July.
A native of Norman, Okla., he was the second of five children of the late John Womack Sr. and Agnes Lucille (Schader) Womack. An Army veteran, Deacon Womack served in the Army Security Agency from 1958 to 1961. He married Sharron E. Bratcher of Washington, Okla., in 1962 and graduated with a business degree from Central State College, Edmond, Okla., in 1964.
The Womacks moved to Lilburn in 1969, where they have lived since, and raised their four children. He worked as a systems consultant for a software company.
When not active in his church ministry, Deacon Womack’s interest in genealogy was more than a hobby. Learning the names of about 100 relatives identified by his father, Deacon Womack tracked down more than 107,000 family relatives as he traveled to numerous states and countries in search of his family’s ancestry.
His funeral at St. John Neumann Church on Friday, Nov. 5, drew a large crowd. The three deacons at church all spoke at his funeral.
“Gary was just a wonderful servant. He was an example not only for deacons, but also for all in the parish,” said Deacon Marten, who was ordained in 2009. Deacon Mike Byrne and Deacon Greg Ollick also preached at the funeral.
“He knew most of the parish. He was a wealth of knowledge,” he said. “He knew everybody.”
In addition to his wife, Sharron, Deacon Womack is survived by his son Alan and wife Holly Womack of Marietta; daughter Teresa and husband David Pell-White of Lilburn; son John and wife Irene Womack of Lexington, S.C.; daughter Pamela and husband Scott Miller of Loganville; brother John Womack Jr. of Massachusetts; and sisters Gayle Worrell and Pat Collins of Oklahoma and Shirley Olivarri of Texas; eight grandchildren and one great-grandson.
He was to be buried at the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the St. John Neumann Building Fund or the American Heart Association.