Joseph “Sonny” Franklin Garner, 72, of Sioux Falls, S.D., died Saturday, April 27, 2013, of lung cancer at the Sioux Falls Veterans Administration Hospital.
Visitation will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday at Heartland Funeral Home, Brandon, S.D., with memorial services at 6:30 p.m. Chaplin Karen Hiller will officiate. Full military honors will follow.
Another memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Friday at the American Legion in Gillette. His wife, Miriam Garner, will not be able to attend the Gillette services.
Mr. Garner was born May 18, 1940, in Oklahoma City, Okla., to Joseph and Velma (Stewart) Garner. He was one of two boys with four sisters. He was educated in Oklahoma until he left for the service during high school.
He served in the U.S. Army from 1957 to 1960 as a medical specialist, dental assistant and medical assistant. He returned to Gillette when he was honorably discharged from the Army, as his family had moved there. Mr. Garner worked in the oil fields and was a driver to haul pharmaceuticals from Casper to Billings, a 3,000-mile-a-week trip.
Mr. Garner moved to Sioux Falls, S.D., in 2003 as he felt it was important for his wife to be back in South Dakota; at home surrounded by her family. He worked for the last six and a half years at Casey’s General Store on Sycamore Avenue, until he became ill. He enjoyed his customers and work very much.
He is survived by his loving wife, Miriam of Sioux Falls; one son, Vince of Klamath Falls, Ore.; two stepsons, Jeff Whempner and Steve Whempner, both of Phoenix, Ariz; one stepdaughter, Lisa Stotz, Dunkirk, Md.; seven stepgrandchildren; four sisters, Gwen Sullivan, Sue De Gaugh, Kay Haight and Anita William, all of Gillette; one brother, Mike Garner, of Gillette; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Condolences also may be attached to the obituary on the News Record’s website at www.gillettenewsrecord.com.