Gary Denniston, 82, of Charles City, died of pancreatic cancer on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, in the palliative care unit of the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota.
A funeral service will be held for Gary E. Denniston at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, at Trinity United Methodist Church in Charles City, Iowa. All friends and family are welcome. A visitation will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until the start of the service. Burial will be at 2 p.m. at Riverton Cemetery in rural Charles City.
Gary was born January 24, 1941, in Pequot Lakes, Minnesota. The family moved to Plymouth County, Iowa when Gary was three. Gary grew up on the farm and loved the farm lifestyle. He was in 4-H and FFA as a youth, attended church and youth group at the EUB Church in Stanton Township, and loved pheasant hunting in his free time. He spent many hours hunting with his Dad, brothers and uncles throughout his life.
Gary graduated from LeMars High School in 1958. He enlisted in the US Navy in 1959 where he served as a nuclear weapons specialist on two different aircraft carriers. He was honorably discharged in 1962. He managed a hog farrowing operation for his Uncle, James Schultz, while attending college; he graduated from Westmar College in LeMars, Iowa in 1968.
While attending Westmar College he met his wife Judy, and they were married on Nov. 22, 1969, in Ames, Iowa. Gary worked at the Osteopathic College in Des Moines, Iowa as a lab technician while Judy finished her master’s degree at Iowa State University. They moved to Schuyler, Nebraska in 1973 to manage a large hog farrowing operation. In 1975 he had an opportunity to farm in Carlisle, Iowa. He remained on the farm working with crops, a cow/calf operation, and custom hay making until 1996. Then he assisted at a dog boarding facility and later a window manufacturer in Des Moines, while he also worked as a part-time rural mail carrier, until fully retiring at age 70.
Gary was a faithful Christian throughout his life, including as a member of the Carlisle United Methodist Church, where he served on many boards and provided much volunteer labor. He enjoyed playing slow-pitch softball with the Carlisle church for over 20 years and was actively involved in the mentoring program, Kids Hope USA. Gary was also a dedicated Farm Bureau member in Warren County, serving in various roles including county president. In addition, he volunteered as an assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 122 in Indianola.
Gary was active politically and volunteered during the Iowa caucus season and other election periods. He also enjoyed gardening and in later years became an Iowa Master Gardener with Iowa State University Extension.
Gary and Judy enjoyed traveling with their local bank in retirement, with memorable trips to the Pacific Northwest, including a visit to the Space Needle in Seattle, and another to Kentucky to see the Ark Encounter. Gary and Judy moved from Indianola to Charles City to be closer to their daughter and her family in 2019. Gary soon picked up his church activities with Trinity United Methodist Church again serving as a church trustee.
During his last days, Gary mentioned how surprised he was about how many prayer chains he was on and the number of people that reached out to him. He was the only one surprised. Gary lived an exemplary life of service to his country, church, and community.
Gary was preceded in death by his parents, Aaron and Goldie Denniston of LeMars, IA, father-in-law Ralph White of Indianola, IA, mother-in-law Dessa White of Indianola, IA, sister-in-law Louise Denniston of Virginia Beach, VA, brother-in-law David Hawkins of Orange City, IA, and sister-in-law Jeri Denniston of Kempner, TX. He is survived by his wife, Judy, of 53 years; his son Mark and his wife Christie and their son Anders of Ogden, UT; his daughter Laura and her husband Tim Paplow and their children Luke, Rachel, and Joel of Nashua, IA; his brother Larry Denniston of Virginia Beach, VA; sister Judy Hawkins of LeMars, IA; and brother Don Denniston of Kempner, TX.
Memorials may be directed to The American Legion, Kids Hope USA, or a charity of your choice.
Hauser Weishaar Funeral Home, (641) 228-2323, 1205 South Main Street, Charles City, Iowa 50616 is in charge of local arrangements. Online condolences may be left on the Tribute Wall for the family at www.hauserfh.com.