February 14, 1944 – November 17, 2021

Dr. Garret N. “Gary” Vanderplaats, age 77, passed away November 17, 2021, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was born February 14, 1944, in Modesto, California to Fred and Ann (Hekman) Vanderplaats.

Gary grew up in Groveland, California and graduated from Sonora High School. He attained a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Arizona State University and his PHD from Case Western Reserve University.

He was the owner of Vanderplaats Research and Development (Omniquest) and formerly worked for NASA Ames in Sunnyvale, California after attaining his PHD. After working with NASA, he taught at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, California and was a tenured full professor at the University of California in Santa Barbara.

Having grown up in the Sierra Nevada mountains, near Yosemite National Park, Gary had a lifelong love for hiking and backpacking. He also enjoyed taking road trips in his RV. Each fall, he invited VR&D employees on a weeklong backpacking trip in the Sierras. On these trips, they hiked fifty miles, fished, and swam in many beautiful lakes. Gary’s other hobbies included working on cars and building a family cabin in the Rockies. His sons learned many useful skills from their father.

Dr. Vanderplaats is survived by his wife, Virginia Vera “Ginny” Vanderplaats who he married on December 29, 1979, at Stanford University. Two sons, Scott and Greg Vanderplaats also survive him.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm on Thursday, December 9, 2021, at First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs. Interment will be at Divide Cemetery in Groveland, California.

Memorial contributions may be made in Gary Vanderplaats’ memory to First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs.

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