Gary was born in Fargo, North Dakota but lived most of his young years on a farm about one mile north of Sabin. He graduated from Moorhead State Teachers College Campus High School. He joined the U. S. Marines after high school then after discharge returned to the Moorhead area and attended Concordia College. In 1964 he started his professional football career and was a member of the Minnesota Vikings Purple People Eaters Fearsome Foursome from 1965 through 1974.

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