Gary Lynn Tolbert

April 04, 2024

Gary Tolbert was born on December 19, 1945, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Dr. J.B. Tolbert and Wynema Tolbert while his father was completing his medical internship at LDS Hospital. The family moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for Gary’s father’s residency before settling in Mountain View, Oklahoma, where Dr. Tolbert and Wynema, an R.N., served as the community’s medical providers from 1947 until 1988. Raised in this farming community in southwestern Oklahoma, Gary cherished his involvement in sports, excelling in football, basketball, baseball, and track.

Gary attended the University of Oklahoma, where, in his senior year, he met Paula Johnson. The two were married on June 1, 1968.

Following college, Gary joined the U.S. Army, graduating from Infantry Officers Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. He served as a first lieutenant in the Republic of Vietnam until 1971. After his military service, Gary was admitted to the MBA program at the University of Oklahoma, graduating in June 1973.

His career in banking began at First City National Bank in Houston, where he worked for 20 years before joining the newly formed Southwest Bank of Texas (later known as Amegy Bank), where he remained for another 20 years. Gary’s leadership and dedication were recognized through his election to several boards and notably as president of the Rotary Club of Houston in 2002. Throughout his life, Gary led and contributed to many organizations that were close to his heart, including the American Heart Association, the Better Business Bureau, the Houston Golf Association, and Kingwood Country Club. These experiences were deeply meaningful to him, and he often recounted how they shaped his life.

When Gary was around the age of 12, his father introduced him to golf. Gary quickly grew passionate about the sport, and it became a significant part of his life and legacy. He cherished his golf group at Kingwood Country Club; the 27 State Father-Son tournaments he played with Blake; the great golf vacations he was able to have; and so much more the game gave him.

In 2019, Gary received a lung transplant, a gift that granted him a few more precious years of life. He and his family are profoundly grateful to all the doctors and staff at Houston Methodist Hospital who not only provided him with this life-extending opportunity but also consistently prioritized his care and well-being.

Above all, Gary was proud of his family. He and Paula have one son, Blake Tolbert and family of Houston. Gary and Paula celebrated 55 years of marriage last June.

Gary and Paula have been members of Kingwood Methodist Church since 1976. He served the church in several capacities and always felt a deep dedication to both his faith and the community.

Gary is survived by his wife, Paula; son Blake and Blake’s wife Monna; grandsons Milo and Jack Tolbert; his sister, Cindy Tolbert Wolfe; her son, Michael Tolbert Wolfe, Mike’s wife Meredith, and their children, James and Georgia. Gary was preceded in death by his parents; his brother-in-law, Jim Wolfe; and many other treasured relatives and friends.

A service to celebrate Gary’s life will be held on April 5, 2024, at 11 a.m. at Kingwood Methodist Church, Kingwood, Texas. In lieu of flowers, donations in Gary’s memory may be made to the American Lung Association or to the charity of one’s choice.