March, 27, 1944-Dec. 8, 2014
ALBERTON – He took his last dispatch. A retired ironworker for the past 50 years, starting with Local 598 in Missoula and ending with Local 14 in Spokane, Washington. He had an honorable discharge from the Air Force after taking care of the SR-71 Blackbird for three years during the Vietnam War.
He was an avid outdoorsperson. He hunted game, fished creeks and lakes, skied downhill snow always looking for powder, was a whitewater chaser and a lazy, beer-drinking floater anywhere. Cribbage was his game. He backpacked, R.V. camped and tent camped. Snowmobiling was another love.
Gary was a blackpowder shooter and rendezvous participant in earlier days. He possessed and shot many guns. He loaded ammo for his friends and was a great marksman. He was a perfectionist with his loads, guns and woodworking, always looking for the next project so he could buy more tools or dies for loading. His last passion and love, besides family was his 1999 HD Softail. He called her "Baby." They took a once-in-a-lifetime trip after retirement to the tip of Florida and back. Many stories followed. Many friends, some special, as Gary and Susie Fredricks, Nate and Tess Evans, Dave and Tammy Engles, and Alan and Susan Teigen. We all did Sturgis proud, more than once!
His career started at Libby Dam as a bell boy. He moved all over the States working iron projects, which included the Snake River Bridge, Cosltrip, generators on rivers and dams, Budweiser plant in Idaho Falls, Idaho, Usk paper plant in Washington, shutdowns at Smurfit-Stone Container and other mills in the area, helicopter pad at St. Patrick Hospital, office buildings in Oakland and many more projects. He took a fall from bridge in St. Regis and got busted up real bad. That was in 1980. Two years later, he went back to work to retire in 1999.
He leaves behind his wife of 31 years, Patty Dishman Freese of Alberton; his father, Harold (Hunk) Freese in Kalispell; brother, Mick (Mary) Freese in Kalispell; brother, Chris (Bev) Freese in Libby; daughter, Christina (Don) Nelson of Ronan; son, Gary (Mary) Freese of Colorado Springs, Colorado; son, Harold (Letha) Hunk Freese in Marysville, Washington; stepchildren, Patrick (Leone) Vance of Spirit Lake, Idaho, and Cassie Cossairt of of Athol, Idaho; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Exploding Flower, my love, you are now pain-free. Per request, no services. A memorial scooter ride will be held in the spring and memorial float trip in July. His Labs, Brandy and Fancy, will and do miss him.
Gary was member of American Legion 131. Military honors and color guard will be held at the VA Cemetery in Missoula in the spring.
Donations can be made in Gary's name to Helping Hands of Alberton.