In memory of neighborhood darling, Gary the Turkey

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KENTWOOD, Mich. – A group of online friends celebrate the life of a one-of-a-kind turkey who has come to be known as Gary. Gary was always home alone at the intersection of 52nd and Kalamazoo for the past two years until his passing in early 2022.

“It’s just something very positive and humorous to go through all day with everything that’s going on in our world,” said Cathy Kutschinski.

For over a year, the people of Kentwood enjoyed the sight of Gary wandering around his favorite intersection. It wasn’t until a few months ago that Kayla Smith saw someone post a photo of Gary in a Facebook community group in Grand Rapids that she thought of creating a special page for the one-of-a-kind eater.

“I was like, ‘Hey, I know him,'” Smith told FOX 17.

After creating the Gary, the Turkish Facebook groupshe quickly realized that she wasn’t his only fan.

“It’s only been a few months, and there are more than 1,000 people in there.”

The newly connected online friends shared photos and videos of Gary and kept an eye on him all the time.

“He’s been in a lot of banks here… So I think he was laundering money,” Kuchinsky joked.

“We haven’t been able to clarify that yet.”

He became a bright spot in the days of the likes of Ruth Hendrick, who enjoyed seeing Gary driving her kids to and from school.

“Half the time we rolled down the window and said hello,” she told FOX 17.

Fans of Gary believe that people in the area fed him, which prompted him to stay around indefinitely.

Maybe Gary just got a little something to convenient as he would become a wanted man.

“This rogue turkey has attracted a lot of attention from residents due to its frequent sightings and brave actions,” Kentwood Police Officer Jeffrey Bylsma said in a light-hearted video the department put together after Gary’s move.

“Kentwood Police have received several complaints naming Gary as the perpetrator.”

Since Gary frequently walked in the middle of the street, he often caused some traffic delays.

After several failed attempts by the DNR to capture and relocate him, some Kentwood officers managed to get hold of him. They took him to a nearby forest.

READ MORE: Gary the Turkey captured in Kentwood

Unfortunately Gary easily came back to his favorite crossing and sometimes hiked up to the 60th and Kalamazoo.

“Looking for a fun thing to do in the morning as we trudge out of the house was like, you know…it was really nice,” Hendrick said.

Unfortunately, sometime in March, Gary disappeared, prompting Kayla Smith to search for him.

She saw a Facebook post about someone finding a dead turkey on a nearby road and knew right away – it was probably Gary.

She took the special bird home and laid it to rest in her backyard, marking its grave with one of its long feathers stuck in the ground.

“I’ve been waiting for the weather to get better so I can get something… something to commemorate him… a plaque.”

He was a lonely turkey, always doing his own thing, unknowingly creating memories for those who saw him as a daily reminder to enjoy the little things in life while we can.

“Even though Gary isn’t here, I just don’t want to finish this chapter. So I don’t really know what’s coming next,” Smith said.

In addition to placing a plaque for Gary over his resting place, the group has also considered building a highway in honor of their favorite turkey.

They plan to keep Gary’s Facebook page until now, citing all the new friendships born of a mutual interest in a fun little turkey.

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