Gary was born in Hamilton, Montana 11/16/1938 and the hellraising began shortly after. Gary was diagnosed with Perthes disease as a young boy and was strapped to a stretcher for several years. Most thought this would slow him down some… it did not. Friends and family recall him playing baseball, chasing girls, and rolling around town in his homemade stretcher. He spent his high school summers on a lookout tower while working for the Forest Service, was a high school star running back and was selected for the East/West Shrine game (although later deselected due to an unplanned stop at a bar as the school bus drove by) and held an unofficial title for outrunning a bear that he literally ran into on a trail. He graduated from Darby High School.
Gary attended college in Dillon and Bozeman, Montana, graduating with a degree in education. While in college, Gary spent his summers as a Missoula Smoke Jumper. It was here that he found another set of lifelong friends. He was recruited by the State Department and selected as one of the first of two smoke jumpers to go through the program at Langley. He was provided a fake name, out of fear that he would embarrass our government, but graduated second in the class.
While in Washington, DC, he was set up on a blind date with Betsy Gray. He knew she was “the one” when she soundly beat him at billiards that night. They were married in Tucson, Arizona in 1965. They worked together in Marana, AZ, and in 1967 both served five years in Thailand. Twins were born in Thailand in 1970. The family returned to the United States in 1973 and worked for Sierra Pacific Airlines until retirement. Upon retirement, Gary and Betsy spent half the year in Montana and the other half in Arizona.
Gary was grateful to be blessed with good dogs, good horses, good friends and good family his entire life. He was able to visit with childhood friends for coffee in Darby up until his death and was reunited with his government family this summer. We (his kids) hope you know how much he cherished his friendships. You abetted his hellraising, were complicit in his shenanigans and we are so grateful that you shaped the man we know and love.
A celebration of life will be held at the family property next summer.