Pastor Gary N. Fraley went home to be with the Lord on Saturday, November 14, 2020, after a brief hospitalization with COVID-19. He was born in Klamath Falls, Oregon, on April 7, 1941, and was the first of four sons born to Norman and Geanne Fraley.
Pastor Fraley was 12 years old when he committed his life to serving Jesus Christ while attending a church camp. He graduated from San Jose Bible College in 1965 and was ordained to pastoral ministry that same year. Over the years he pastored churches in Oregon, California, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Most recently he was a teaching elder at his church in the western suburbs of Chicago, as well as serving as chairman of the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) and the International ALERT Academy (IAA) Board of Directors.
With his hearty laugh and memorable object lessons and visuals, Pastor Fraley was appreciated by many as a pastor, Bible teacher, and speaker. He was committed to Scriptural preaching and teaching. Another outlet for reaching others with the Gospel and encouraging growth in the Christian life was his years of service with the Institute in Biblical Life Principles. Pastor Fraley is well known in IBLP and ATI circles, having been associated with these ministries for over 49 years. He attended his first Basic Seminar in 1971 while pastoring a church in Oregon. He and his wife soon became a host and hostess, serving first on the local seminar committee, and then as an area coordinator of the California Bay Seminar. In 1981, he and his family moved to Oak Brook, Illinois, to volunteer their assistance at the IBLP headquarters. (The ministry then was called Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts, IBYC.) It was not long before he became a full-time staff member and served faithfully until 1999 in a variety of roles, including the Director of the Advanced Training Institute (ATI). Pastor Fraley has also been instrumental in the writing, developing, and producing of many of our key publications such as the Rebuilder’s Guide, Men’s Manual Vol. II, Character Sketches Vol. III, and the ATI Wisdom Booklets.
Pastor Fraley was also a regular speaker at various young adult and family conferences. He is best known for his message on standing alone. From this presentation found within the Advanced Seminar, many believers were encouraged to do what the Lord asked them to do despite the societal pressures to conform to cultural norms instead of God’s Word.
Many of Pastor Fraley’s illustrations in his talks sprang from his great appreciation of nature and God’s revelation of Himself through it. He loved being outdoors and seeing God’s handiwork. His stories included horseback riding, camping, hunting, viewing elk, deer, bears, and even a shark! He always was quick to see and share with others about God’s faithfulness in his adventures in “Father’s” world. Besides his enjoyment in outdoor adventures, Pastor Fraley’s other interests included carpentry and woodworking, knot tying, framing, calligraphy, and autoharp. In all Pastor Fraley’s endeavors and adventures, he always found a connection between them and God’s love for him. His devotion to Jesus Christ and His Word was central to all he did.
Pastor Fraley and his wife, Loretta, have been married for 59 years. They have three daughters: Deborah (Jeffrey) Sparrow, Elizabeth (John) Newby, and Anna (Christian) Smith. Pastor Fraley is also survived by 19 grandchildren (all of whom were home educated), and 10 great-grandchildren.
A private graveside service will be held in Wheaton, IL. Relatives and friends are invited to view a livestream of the service on Tuesday, November 24 at 11 a.m. here: https://youtu.be/ErXr8L9kXnY.