Her passion started with a Wilton cake decorating class for fun. Over time, she built her hobby into a business, Gary Homan and Company, in the Gulfway Shopping Center on South Padre Island Drive. Gary Cargile Homan also built a reputation with her wedding and specialty masterpieces serving as focal points during events for local families, culinary masters and Texas and national leaders.
In a room filled with wedding cakes created by Del Mar College (DMC) Baking/Pastry Specialization majors and a wedding cake-shaped check, the College and the DMC Foundation recognized Homan’s love of “paying it forward” through teaching and sharing her culinary talents with others by announcing the Gary Cargile Homan Scholarship.
An $100,000 donation given by an anonymous foundation with ties to her family has provided this opportunity for Homan to continue touching the lives of those who share the late baker’s passion.
“The Foundation personally expresses our gratitude to the foundation that has anonymously donated their generous gift to support Del Mar College students in honor of someone truly loved,” said Mary McQueen, executive director of the College’s Development Office and the DMC Foundation. “The fact that Gary touched so many lives is evident through this gift, and she’ll continue to do so.”
The $100,000 donation supports direct scholarships and an endowed scholarship fund for students majoring in the three training areas offered by the Hospitality Management Program in the Human Sciences and Education Department including Baking/Pastry Specialization, Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management. The College offers certificates and associate in applied science degrees in all three areas.
Already, 16 Hospitality Management majors have received a Gary Cargile Homan Scholarship.
Homan passed away Nov. 17, 2016, at age 71. Born in Wharton, Texas, she grew up in Corpus Christi, graduated from W.B. Ray High School in 1964 and attended Del Mar College where she became a culinary instructor later in life.
“Gary Homan touched many students in her 20-plus years of direct involvement with Del Mar’s pastry and culinary arts programs, including serving on advisory committees and judging salon competitions,” said Bob Ard, former chair who oversaw the Hospitality Management Department before retiring. “Her support was critical during the American Culinary Federation and Southern Association of Colleges and School accreditation processes. She also helped with implementing the pastry degree the College offers and hiring a full-time pastry instructor.”
Ard and his wife Linda, who also served as a faculty member and department chair, drove from Nebraska to attend the special announcement in November.
Homan’s family noted that her reputation grew across South Texas, and families from the area had to have a Gary Homan groom’s cake or wedding cake. She provided cakes for weddings and other special events at many locations even for governors, local politicians and Martha Stewart.
“Gary spared no amount of time or effort to make sure her cakes were beautiful, elegant and impactful,” they said.
Del Mar assistant professor of Baking/Pastry Specialization Claudia Hurt, who worked for Homan for a few years, noted how the baker served as her mentor. “We stayed friends after my employment, and Gary always supported me. In fact, she served on the committee that hired me when I applied for a full-time position at Del Mar College,” Hurt said.
“I’ll always remember Gary greeting everyone with a smile. She was a giving person who taught me to share, create beautiful sugar art and be kind to others,” Hurt noted. “Gary influenced me to continue preserving the art of baking and teaching others what we both love, and I miss her very much.”
“I can’t think of a sweeter way to build the workforce that feeds into our local and regional hospitality industries than through the Gary Cargile Homan Scholarship,” McQueen added.
Applying for the Gary Cargile Homan Scholarship, along with other scholarships, is available through the DMC Foundation’s regular application process. The Foundation takes applications February through April each year for the following academic year, which begins with the fall semester.
For more information about applying for scholarships, contact the DMC Foundation at 361-698-1317 or email@example.com. Individuals can also visit online resources at www.delmar.edu/foundation.
IN THE PHOTO: A photo of the late Gary Cargile Homan is featured in a collage that reflects the creativity and attention to detail that Homan put into her wedding and specialty cakes for South Texans through her business, Gary Homan and Company.