Family and friends mourn the loss of Gary Allen “Master” Muma, who passed away on Oct. 29, 2020, following a lengthy illness.
Gary was born in Hood River, Ore., on Nov. 27, 1947, the youngest of five sons born to Leona Jane (Smith) Muma and Clifford Earl Muma of Parkdale, Ore. He was a lifelong resident of Hood River Valley, attending elementary school in Parkdale and graduating from Wy’east High School in 1966. Gary was a leader throughout high school, serving on student council, as class president, as an outstanding athlete in football, basketball, track and field and playing trumpet in the school band as well.
With an interest in pre-law, Gary enrolled at the University of Oregon. But duty called and upon receipt of his military draft notification, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving from May 1970 until his honorable discharge in March 1972, earning the rank of Sargent, 1st Air Cavalry Division. He served his country with distinction on the battlefields in Vietnam, earning a Vietnam Service Medal with two bronze stars, National Defense Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal and other military service honors. Following his discharge from the Army, Gary also served in the National Guard Reserves from 1972-1974.
After returning to civilian life, he began apprenticeship training to become an electrical lineman with the Hood River Electric Co-op and was a member of the Co-op crew for 25 years.
Martial arts held a great deal of interest and intrigue for Gary and, in 1976, he became a dedicated student of Taekwon-do karate (Taekwon-do meaning “the way of the feet and the hands”), attaining the rank of first-degree black belt.
In 1994, he left the Co-op to pursue full-time his passion for martial arts. He continued his advanced Taekwon-do training for many years through a prestigious karate school in Portland under the guidance of Korean Grandmaster Hong Sik Kim, eventually achieving the rank of seventh-degree black belt and the title Master Muma.
Gary opened his own karate school (Northwest Taekwon-do) in downtown Hood River. Because of his dedication to martial arts and exceptional skill as an instructor, his school quickly grew and expanded, sparking broad interest from people of all ages. Over the course of nearly 35 years, he taught and earned the respect and friendship of countless kids and adults throughout the Columbia Gorge.
His school quickly became an integral part of county fairs, harvest festivals and many other events throughout the area, with well-attended demonstrations of skill and control given by Master Muma and his students. He dedicated his teaching to the traditional style of Taekwon-do instruction. Gary was always extremely proud of every student he had the privilege of teaching and spoke of them often and with great fondness. After three and a half decades, he decided it was time to retire and sold his school to long-time student, friend and instructor George Evans.
Gary had a deep love for his family and took exceptional care of his parents throughout their later years until their final days. His grandchildren, whom he loved dearly, held a special place in his heart and loved him equally in return.
Gary was a long-time classic car and motorcycle enthusiast and often had an in-progress or finished restoration project in his garage. He loved to go cruising in his favorite 1964 Plymouth Sport Fury and sometimes burned a little rubber on the ride. The valley and Mt. Hood were always “home” to him, and he often said, “Why would you want to go anywhere else when we live in the most beautiful place on the planet?” On sunny days, it wasn’t unusual to see him in his classic 1975 Dodge Power Wagon pickup and aviator sunglasses, cruising his favorite eastside loop with his furry best friend, “Willie,” beside him.
Gary is survived by his third wife, Diana Pike; his second wife, Betty (Hagen) Osborne, and their daughters and sons-in-law Lisa and Todd Lessner and grandchildren Logan and Lucy of Hillsboro, Ore., Jackie Moe of Odell, and son-in-law Dwight Moe of Odell; his first wife, Susan (Lingren) Nichols, their daughter Kristen Amy and son-in-law Andy Hart of Happy Valley, Ore., and grandchildren Kennedy Elizabeth Hart and Zachary David Hart.
Gary was preceded in death by his parents; his son, Scott Allen Muma; brothers Marvin, Melvin, Terry and an infant brother; grandson Travis James Hart; as well as grandparents and numerous family members.
A graveside service with military honors to celebrate Gary’s life is planned for 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Upper Valley Cemetery, 6917 Allen Road, Parkdale. Due to COVID-19 state guidelines, all in attendance must wear a mask.
Memorial donations may be given to Providence Hospice of the Gorge, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and Wounded Warriors, c/o Anderson’s Tribute Center, 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River, OR 97031, or Hood River Adopt-A-Dog, 3910 Heron Drive, Hood River.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson’s Tribute Center (Funerals ~ Receptions ~ Cremations). Visit www.AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.