James L. Gearing Jr., 59, called Jim by his family, died peacefully Oct. 10, 2013, in Austin from complications of multiple sclerosis.
After a private ceremony, Mr. Gearing will be interred at Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen.
A graduate of Killeen High School and longtime Killeen resident, Mr. Gearing was born Oct. 14, 1953, in Bad Kreusnacht, Germany, while his father, James L. Gearing Sr., was stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army.
The family moved to Killeen in 1958, following postings at Fort Lewis, Wash., and Fort Richardson, Alaska. After graduating from Killeen High School in 1971, he attended the University of Texas on a naval national merit scholarship, where his happiest hours were spent playing the bass horn and marching with the Longhorn Band.
Mr. Gearing left the university in 1972 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he rose to the rank of petty officer second class. His service on the nuclear submarine USS Pargo was highly praised by his superiors, resulting in the award of a National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Award and Navy Unit Commendation. Honorably discharged from the Navy in 1978, he returned to Killeen, where he finished two years at what was then Central Texas Junior College.
In 1989, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a disease that eventually disabled him. Although MS inexorably robbed him of his ability to walk, then to drive, then to live independently, Mr. Gearing never complained, never asked, why me? He faced his disease with courage, grace, and dignity, knowing it might eventually kill him, but living each day as it came.
Mr. Gearing was preceded in death by his parents, Killeen residents James L. Gearing and Doris (Agricola) Gearing.
Survivors include his brother, Alfred F. Gearing of Houston and Al’s wife, Chryl Hoz; sister, Lin Hughes of Austin; two nephews, Mark Hughes and his wife, Jennifer, of Austin and Jared Gearing of Houston; two nieces, Jayde (Gearing) Hagen and her husband, Nathan, of Fort Campbell, Tenn., and Amber Gearing of Houston; and several cousins.
All Faiths Funeral Services in Austin is in charge of arrangements.