Obituary: Gary the Lake Morton Turkey

Gary, the turkey who arrived at Lake Morton earlier this year and brought amusement and levity in a time of pandemic uncertainty, has died. Gary’s age was unknown, as was the cause of death.

Gary’s remains were found in Lake Morton on Sunday by nearby residents who went looking for the gobbler after not seeing Gary for several days.

Final arrangements were handled by the Lakeland Parks and Recreation Department. Bob Donahay, who heads the department, said the death could likely be attributed to natural causes as there were no signs of predator intervention.

Survivors include the many Lakeland residents who found joy in the unlikely September appearance of Gary at a lake known for its regal swans and other water fowl, as well as the many who participated in an election to determine a name for the new lake dweller.

In lieu of flowers, mourners are asked to keep Lake Morton clean and to feed the remaining birds foods that are healthy for them — cut seedless grapes, cooked rice, birdseed, peas, corn, oats, chopped lettuce — instead of bread.

Condolences may be expressed on Facebook, site of many discussions and debates about Gary and the deceased’s other possible names.

Memorials: At least one family placed flowers today on the turkey holiday display on Lake Morton near the foot of Palmetto Street.

A turkey honoring Gary replaced a swan this year in one of the lighted holiday displays placed around Lake Morton by the Lake Morton Neighborhood Association.
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