Garry Hopkins was born in Rock Springs, Wyoming, June 11, 1945, and passed away on December 13, 2022, in La Quinta, California.
Garry was the middle child of Mick and Irene Hopkins and spent the majority of his childhood years in Lander, Wyoming with his two brothers Harold and Terry. Ironically, not one of the brothers went by their given first names. Very few knew that Garry’s first name was Merrill. Garry attended Lander Valley High School where he excelled in both basketball and golf where he won the state individual golf championship title in 1963. Excelling in sports, Garry attended the University of Wyoming with a basketball and golf scholarship but quickly decided that academics was not his life path. He then started a journey doing a number of different jobs including working for the Forest Preserve in Wyoming, the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington DC, and ultimately the United States Army when he served at Fort Hood, TX from 1965-1967 where he was posted at the driving range. After being honorably discharged from the Army he pursued his passion of golf, spending the rest of his life dedicated to the sport.
Early in his career Garry was an assistant pro at a number of golf courses in the suburbs of Chicago during the summer and then played the winter golf tour in Florida. It was when he was playing the winter tour that he met his wife Nancy in Tampa, Florida. They were married on Feb 17, 1971 in Venice, Florida and had 2 daughters, Lisa in 1972 and Krista in 1974. The family’s life was spent between summers in Chicago, where Garry was a club pro, and winters in the Coachella Valley where he had various businesses. Garry played on the PGA tour from 1973-1975 competing in a number of major events. He won many titles including the 1974 Illinois PGA Player of the Year and the Illinois PGA State Golf Championship in 1987.
Garry and Nancy lived in the Coachella Valley for over 40 years owning a number of businesses including Desert Empire Golf Center (clothing store) and La Quinta Golf Ranch (private driving range). Though retired, Garry was still giving golf lessons up until his passing. Teaching golf was his calling, and he loved nothing more than sharing his passion for golf by helping others either learn or improve their swing. He volunteered helping the golf team in Lander in the summer which lead to Garry and Nancy creating a golf scholarship for graduating seniors at Lander Valley High School. His daughters plan to continue to contribute scholarships in his name.
Garry’s beloved wife Nancy passed away of cancer in 2015, they were married for 44 years. His beloved dog Putter passed away in February at 15. He is survived by his daughters Lisa Hopkins of Huntington Beach, CA and Krista McCormack of Aliso Viejo, CA and their 3 children, Tanner Burgess, Brady McCormack, and Chase McCormack; his brothers Harold (Bonnie) Hopkins, of Lander, Wyoming and Terry (Susan) Hopkins, of Prescott, Arizona. Garry has joined his wife and grandson Carson McCormack in heaven.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Lander Golf Course from 3:30-5:00 pm on Saturday, August 5, 2023. We ask that those attending bring a favorite story of Garry to share.
In lieu of flowers, Lisa and Krista ask that donations be made for the Garry Hopkins Golf Scholarship for Lander Valley High School graduating Seniors. Checks can be made to CVHS-LVHS Alumnae Educational Foundation, P.O. Box 1564, Lander, WY 82520. Please note that you want the money to be applied to Garry’s scholarship fund.