Gary Mailes was born in Joplin, Missouri during the spring of 1931. After graduating from high school in Seneca, Missouri, he attended Southwest Missouri State College in Springfield (now known as Missouri State University), where he graduated with a degree in accounting. Following his graduation from college, he served in the U.S. Army, working for two years as a Personnel Administrative Specialist stationed in Ft. Bliss, El Paso, Texas. While in the Army, he married his high school sweetheart, Ruth Smith, in December of 1952 in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Ruth was born in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, right across the Oklahoma-Missouri border from Gary. She had two brothers and two sisters, and although she graduated from high school, her family felt it more important that her brothers attend college. After marrying Gary, the couple moved to Berryville, Arkansas, where their daughter, LeAnn, was born. When Ruth went to the doctor before giving birth, office calls for the doctor only cost $1, and the room at the hospital cost only $7.50 per day. (The hospital was actually an old house that was converted into a hospital). Gary was working as a cost accountant at a poultry processing plant in Berryville before moving his family to Independence, Kansas, for an accounting job with Sinclair Pipeline. While in Independence, Gary and Ruth had their son, Michael. In 1972, Sinclair was merged into Atlantic Richfield Company, and Gary was transferred to ARCO Corporate Headquarters in Los Angeles, California, where this Midwest family of four was soon exposed to the West Coast and its frenetic driving. In 1985, Gary was offered early retirement by ARCO which he took, had a house built on a lot in Bella Vista, Arkansas that he had bought while living in Independence, Kansas, and moved his family to Bella Vista where they lived for 29 years.
Since early retirement from ARCO, Gary and Ruth have spent their time traveling the world. They have visited over 100 countries, including exotic locales like Antarctica and Papua New Guineau, as well as all 50 states in the U.S.A. before coming to University Village on August 15, 2014. Gary often delivers presentations to the other residents at University Village on their various travels. For those youngsters who dream of traveling, Gary and Ruth advise to always pack light, pack cheap, be responsible, dependable, and respect authority.
Gary and Ruth have been married for 62 years and have a son who lives in Highlands Ranch, Colorado (a suburb of Denver), and a daughter who lives in Jenks, Oklahoma. Their son is the largest independent Beanie Baby seller in the United States, and their daughter is currently a computer programmer here in Tulsa. Gary and Ruth also have 7 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. They strongly believe that having a home church and knowing the Lord is what keeps people and families together.
Gary and Ruth said that they “love everything about University Village, especially the large variety of activities, field trips, and the quick response rate by the University Village staff.”