Robert Gary Wootten of Delmar, devoted husband, brother, uncle, patriot, Yankees fan and friend to so many, passed away peacefully at his home on Friday, March 8, 2024, surrounded by his loving   family.

Gary was born July 2, 1947 in Salisbury, a son of the late James Thomas Wootten and Mary Rosa Lee (Truitt) Wootten.

Gary grew up in Delmar and spent almost his entire life there. He loved baseball since he was a child and it is fitting that he hit the first home run in the history of the Delmar Little League. He graduated from Delmar High School with the class of 1965. Not long after graduation he took a job with the Hoffman-LaRoche Pharmaceutical Company in Salisbury. In 1966 he was drafted into the U.S. Army and he proudly served his country on the battlefields of Vietnam, until his honorable discharge in August 1968. Upon returning home to Delmar he was reunited with his high school sweetheart, Jeannie Adkins, and they married on Aug. 14, 1970. He was also reunited with his job at Hoffman-LaRoche, which later became Alpharma, then Pfizer. He retired as an assistant manager in 2012 after a total of 46 years with the company. After retirement, Gary worked at the Short Funeral Home in Delmar from 2013 until 2021, when his health started to fail. He was known for greeting those at the door with his warm smile and great hugs.

Gary was a proud and vital part of the Delmar community. He was a dedicated member of the Delmar Fire Department, where he joined on Sept. 20, 1968, and proudly achieved 55 years of active service. He served in many roles, such as firefighter, engineer, hose foreman, driver, safety officer, asst. chief, Delaware Fire Police and Maryland Fire Police, along with serving on various committees such as the New Firehouse, Historical, Building, Social, Ways and Means, Finance and Christmas committees. He was an active member of Melson Methodist Church and served in many capacities. Gary was fondly nicknamed “The Candy Man” around the church by the children as they always knew Mr. Gary would have a pocketful of candy to hand out.

Gary loved to surf fish and enjoyed many trips to the Outer Banks or weekends on the Delaware beaches and other locations to fish and spend time with family and friends. Gary was happiest when spending time with Jeannie, whether it was supporting her in her activities with the DFD Auxiliary, traveling to Lancaster on shopping trips or just eating out at a local favorite restaurant. Family was important to Gary. He supported all of his nieces and nephews in all of their Little League games, school and community activities, concerts, graduations and sporting events. Gary loved well and in return, everyone loved him just as much.

He is survived by his beloved wife and best friend, Jeannie Wootten; brothers, Jimmy Wootten and wife, Charlotte and Tommy Wootten and wife, Gail; a sister, Gail Wootten; a special brother-in-law, Gomer Adkins, who introduced Jeannie to Gary and wife, Debbie; and brothers-in-law, Larry Adkins and wife, Shirley and Freddie Adkins and wife, Suzanne; and many special nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews, and great-great nieces and great-great nephews, who he treated like they were his own children.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother-in-law, Bill Adkins, and his wife, Mary Jane; and a sister-in-law, Geraldine Bradford, and her husband, George.

A visitation for family and friends will be held on Sunday, March 17 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Delmar Fire Department, 301 E. Grove Street, Delmar, Delaware, where a fireman’s funeral will begin at 2. The Reverend John Oltman will officiate, assisted by Michael Little, nephew, and Tom Adkins, DFD Chaplain.

In memory of Gary, contributions may be sent to the Delmar Fire Department, P.O. Box 143, Delmar, DE 19940 or Melson Methodist Church, 32705 Melson Road, Delmar, MD 21875.

Arrangements are in the care of Short Funeral Home in Delmar. Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting