Maya-Gabrielle Francesca Gary, 18, of Oak Park, died on Nov. 15, 2016 after a brief battle with a rare muscle cancer.
Born on Nov. 3, 1998 to Thomas Gary and Evette Little, she attended Whittier Elementary School, Julian Middle School, and was in her senior year at Oak Park and River Forest High School. She spent her junior year in Stuttgart, Germany and attended Stuttgart High School.
As a small child, Maya developed a passion to perform, sang with the Oak Park-River Forest Children's Choir for two years, and went on to participate in several Summer CAST performances at Julian Middle School.
Sharing her singing, dancing and acting talents helped her develop poise and confidence. She played Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Sister Sarah in Guys and Dolls, Charlotte in Charlotte's Web, to name a few. She delivered performances with a grace and humility beyond her years and experience.
Maya was also a prolific writer who archived several hundred poems, short stories, and songs. At any given time, you could find her writing on her computer or smart phone. After high school, she planned to study journalism.
She died one week after casting her first vote and two weeks after her 18th birthday, surrounded by her family.
Maya Gary is survived by her parents, Evette and Thomas; her brother, Alexander; her uncles and aunts, Keith, Michael, Stanley, Pat and Sarah; her cousins, Neilson, Naomi, Ronnie, Donella, Monique, Jamal, Cheryl, Patricia, Danyell, and Yvette; and her many friends. She was preceded in death by her grandparents, John Little, Lillian (Sharp) Reed and Thomas Gary.
A celebration of Maya's life was held on Dec. 17 at Grace Episcopal Church, 924 Lake St. in Oak Park. In lieu of flowers, the family appreciates donations in her name to Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, 55 W. Wacker Drive, Suite 1100, Chicago 60601.