Vale Gary Robert Mara
9 August 1962 – 21 August 2012
Men of League and the rugby league community were sadden by the news of the passing of the Former Balmain and Parramatta Eels player the late Gary Mara, who at the time of death was celebrating his 50th birthday with a holiday in the US in August.
The Men of League Foundation would like to send our deepest condolences to the family and friends who have now lost a father, brother, husband, uncle and a mate.
Please find below the heroic story of Gary Mara bravery and sacrifice by the Sydney Morning Herald on the 24th August.
Tiger’s winger saved daughter before dying.
Former Balmain Tigers winger Gary Mara saved his young daughter’s life moments before he was killed at a pedestrian crossing in Los Angeles.
Mara, who played first-grade rugby league for the Tigers and the Parramatta Eels during the early 1980s, died on Tuesday during a family holiday in the US to celebrate his 50th birthday.
His distraught wife Julianne has spoken about how her husband of 10 years saved the life of their eight-year-old daughter Olivia moments before an allegedly drunk driver struck him at the crossing, near the Santa Monica pier.
“The car just came from nowhere,” Mrs Mara, 43, told the Nine Network.
“Gary picked Olivia up and threw her out of the way.
“He saved her life.”
The family had just finished dinner and were due to continue their holiday in Hawaii.
But their plans were cut tragically short when they walked across the crossing against a red light, police say.
Mara died in hospital the following day while Olivia was treated for minor injuries in hospital.
The 26-year-old driver, Cara Cameron of Westchester, California, has been charged with manslaughter while intoxicated and will face court on September 21.
Mara made his first-grade debut with Balmain in 1982 and in the following year, booted two goals in the Tigers’ 6-4 semi-final loss to the Canterbury Bulldogs.
He was also a member of the Tigers’ 1980 Flegg Cup-winning side featuring the likes of Benny Elias and Steve Roach.
Mara joined Parramatta in 1984, making one first-grade appearance as a centre and helping the Eels to win the under 23s premiership before retiring in 1985.
The West Tigers, which is the National Rugby League (NRL) joint venture club formed in 1999 and comprised of
Balmain and the Western Suburbs Magpies, issued a statement on Friday night saying its members had been saddened to hear of Mara’s passing.
His father Bobby Mara is a member of the Balmain Tigers Hall of Fame.