Cover photo for Gary Anderson's Obituary
Gary Anderson Profile Photo
1934 Gary 2024

Gary Anderson

June 21, 1934 — May 8, 2024

Gary Lane Anderson passed away peacefully on May 8, 2024, during a nap in his favorite chair in his apartment in Ogallala, Nebraska. He was just six weeks shy of his 90th birthday.

Gary was well known for his passion for discovery, learning, and ultimately achieving levels of excellence in all endeavors. He loved the lake life, boating, scuba diving, but also mastered snow skiing, target shooting, billiards, ham radio operation, photography, and photo processing, spearfishing, all of which he also taught and encouraged his children to pursue. He loved all genres of music, art, culture, and was articulate and knowledgeable on a wide range of topics.

Gary was born on June 21, 1934, in Valentine, Nebraska. An enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe via his father, Ted Anderson, he spent time on the reservation in his early years. As a child, he lived in Grand Island, and eventually Cozad, Nebraska. Gary enjoyed a close relationship with his mother, Virginia Dillard, her sisters, his grandmother Maude Lunney, and his uncle Frank Lunney and cousin Ray Pierson.

Gary contracted polio at age 14 and was hospitalized in the Grand Island polio ward and rehab center for several months. He met his wife, May Ladean Knutson, while attending Cozad High School, and they later married in Seattle, Washington, in 1952 at Sand Point Naval Air Station where he was stationed in the U.S. Navy. They had four children, two girls followed by two boys.

Gary was preceded in death by his mother, Virginia Burdick Dillard, and his two sons, Gregory and Geoffrey Anderson. Gary is survived by his daughters, Joy Brisighella of Logan, Utah, and Sandy Anderson-O'Banion (Jeff) of Gunnison, Colorado, and their children: Brandon Clark and Natalie Brisighella of Logan, Utah, Ian O'Banion of Fort Collins, Colorado, and the children of his late son Greg: Dane Anderson (Jamie) of Ogallala, and Demi Folk (Evan) of Fort Collins, Colorado. Gary was blessed with (soon to be) six great-grandchildren.

Throughout his military career in the Navy and later in the Air Force, Gary enjoyed travel and adventures that took him from Seattle, Washington, to Waukegan, Illinois, to Pensacola and Panama City, Florida, then to Japan and Korea for three years. Upon his return, the family lived in Lincoln, Nebraska, while he finished his pre-med degree at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Gary and his growing young family were constantly on the move, with assignments throughout the U.S. and Europe. In Florida, North Dakota, Michigan, and then in 1965, they moved to France, stationed at Chambley Air Force Base but lived in the little French village of Thiaucourt. Gary, already a Southern Baptist Deacon, was ordained as a minister assigned to a small church for other military personnel and expats. He attended Martin Bucer Evangelical Theological Seminary in Bonn, Switzerland. When French president Charles De Gaulle closed the U.S. Military presence in France in 1966, the family took a new assignment to Germany, stationed at the Wiesbaden Air Force Base, but again living off base in the little village of Rudesheim on the Rhine River. There, Gary was again assigned as a pastor to a small Southern Baptist church, this time in Bad Kreuznach. While in Europe, the family traveled to Italy, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands, in addition to France and Germany.

In 1969, Gary's assignment in Europe ended and he moved his family back to the States, assigned to Lowry Air Force Base in Aurora, Colorado, where he retired in 1971 after 20 years of service and opened a dental laboratory there. In 1976, Gary and May divorced, and he moved back to Nebraska, marrying his second wife, Thelma Ann Cooper. They lived in Hershey and co-owned Butch's Tavern before moving to Lake McConaughy before divorcing. Gary then managed the Bayside Villa mobile home park and storage facility at the lake for many years. After his son Greg passed away, Gary left his lake life and moved into Ogallala to a lovely apartment at Wel Life Assisted Living where he enjoyed maintenance-free living and the retirement benefits he had worked for all his long and adventure-filled life.

Gary's family kindly requests that his memory be honored through contributions to the Big Mac Sports Club at P.O. Box 364, Ogallala, NE 69153.

Prairie Hills Funeral Home of Ogallala is assisting the family.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gary Anderson, please visit our flower store.


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