Obituary: Gary Harlan Schaefer

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Posted at 1:31 PM, Sep 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-05 15:31:02-04

Gary Harlan Schaefer, 79, passed away Tuesday, August 29, 2023. He was born February 1, 1944, the second son of Myrna Helene (Peck) and Otto F. Schaefer in Belle Fourche, SD. He attended Belle Fourche schools, graduating from FHS in 1962 before joining the Army where he served with the 82nd Airborne and saw duty in the Dominican Republic before he was discharged in 1965. On May 28, 1966, he married Ann Ramey in Belle Fourche at St. James Lutheran Church. They met while both were attending Black Hills State College. When Ann accepted a teaching position in Manhattan, MT, Gary transferred to Montana State University. They had two sons, Brian born in 1972 and Andrew (Andy) in 1977.

Gary worked various jobs before opening an upholstery business with a partner. After selling C&S Upholstery, he and his wife started the Montana Canvas Company in 1981 selling tarps for trucks and expanding to tents including cabin tents which were wholesaled to Cabela's and other outdoor businesses. Gary particularly enjoyed the selling and promotional side of the business, traveling and setting up tents for shows all over the western part of the country.

Being an avid outdoorsman, he loved hunting and spending time at their mountain cabin. He supported Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the NRA. Gary liked to golf and was a long-time member of Valley View Country Club, and he loved to fish whether it was locally or on fishing trips to Canada or in Florida at their condo.

He was an active member of the Grace Bible Church, having joined 39 years ago at the same time as Pastor Bryan Hughes, and he also participated in a Bible Study group for years.

Every year he planted a very large garden and he liked to share its bounty just about as much as he liked to share scripture. Gary loved to discuss politics and religion and never hesitated to give his point of view. Those who knew him enjoyed his funny "Garyisms".

He is survived by his son, Andy Schaefer of Bozeman; stepdaughter, Christine (Duane) Summa of Fort Myers, FL; two brothers, John (Pat) of Fort Morgan, CO and Ernie (Terry) of Thornton, CO; granddaughters, Madeline (Chris) Tipton and Emily Summa; and great-grandson, Julian Tipton.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Ann in 2019; and his son, Brian in 1994.

Please join the family for sharing memories, stories, and celebrating Gary’s life on Saturday, September 9 from 11:30 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. at 7561 Nez Perce Dr. in Bozeman.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Grace Bible Church:

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. []