Gary H. Hersey

     Gary H. Hersey, age 74 of Belle Fourche, died Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at the Belle Fourche Regional Senior Care Center, surrounded by his loving family.
    The memorial service was held Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 at the St. James Episcopal Church in Belle Fourche.  Inurnment took place in Pine Slope Cemetery.
    Arrangements were with Leverington Funeral Home of the Northern Hills in Belle Fourche.
    Gary Houghton Hersey was born June 13, 1940 in Dupree, SD to Charles G. and Ruth (Stevens) Hersey. Ruth always claimed “Old man Pitsor had to have been peeking through the window because Gary’s birth announcement was in that day’s paper.” Gary grew up near Dupree. When he was three his parents bought the Gib McGarraugh (a local banker) farm and moved in to the banker’s house. You know where the State Highway shed is north of Highway 212, well Gary grew up in the house just west of the state shed.
    Gary attended school in Dupree and then started college in Black Hills State College as a music major. That summer he went to Moab, Utah and worked on a seismograph crew where he claims he ate breakfast most mornings with a member of the Wild Bunch. In the fall he returned home to help on the family farm. To supplement the farm income Gary ran the theater projectors, was a heavy equipment operator, and was a bartender at the VFW Club in Faith. Gary attended St. Phillips Episcopal Church in Dupree. He was also active in the Men’s Community Choir. On October 9th of 1971, Gary broke some little boy’s heart who wanted to be a bachelor just like that Hersey boy. Gary married Fay Williams in Ekalaka, MT. When a person gets married the normal thing to do is to move out of his parents’ house, but not Gary. His folks bought a trailer house and moved out leaving the bankers house for Gary, Fay and their three children Charles, Rita, and Marie.  In 1985 the family moved to Nisland, SD where they farmed for several years then moved to the Butte-Lawrence County Fair Grounds where Gary was the caretaker part-time. He returned to Black Hills State University and got his bachelor’s degree in Technology.
    Gary was very proud of his college degree and that he was a graduate of Education for Ministry.  Gary was always studying on his own and was very knowledgeable in many areas especially religion and history. In later years he bought and watched many videos from The Great Teachers Courses. He was a very active member in Saint James’ Episcopal Church and his knowledge contributed to the Bible Study classes.   After graduation he had several jobs as a heavy equipment operator before getting his general contractors license and buying a backhoe. Somehow Gary’s work projects always turned into family projects.  After a bad hail storm the family shingled many roofs. Another summer they were in the beautiful Black Hills laying a pipeline and dealing with many rocks or out in the heat on the bald headed flats setting water tanks.
    In 2001 it was time for a change so the family moved to Belle Fourche, SD. Gary still did a few backhoe projects but his health was beginning to fail by then. He loved to go help Charlie. Charlie had a hay bale hauling service which kept them both quite busy for several falls.
    Family was always important to Gary. He looked forward to his cousins’ reunions and any other family gatherings. Holidays were always special when all the immediate family could be together.
    Gary’s health continued to deteriorate and so in 2011 Gary and Fay bought a house with Marie’s family. This made it easier for the families to help each other.  In spring of 2015 Gary became a resident of the Belle Fourche Healthcare Community. Gary passed away April 29, 2015.
    Gary was preceded in death by his parents, Charles G. and Ruth Hersey; three sisters: Lova Kienzle, Ruth Schultz, Charleen Peterson.  Surviving are his wife Fay; son Charles I. (Monica) Hersey of Ekalaka, MT; daughters: Rita Hersey of Spearfish and Marie (Dan) Subiate of Belle Fourche, SD;  brother Charles R. (Kay) Hersey of Bothel, WA;  granddaughters: Stacey (Mike) Ashbrook of Ekalaka, MT and Searraha Droppers of Belle Fourche, SD; four great grandchildren: David, Christian, Zander and Aubri Ashbrook; nine nieces and nephews and numerous cousins.
    Friends may leave written condolences at:

The Pioneer Review

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Philip, SD 57567
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