Memorial services for Harold Dennis Kegley will be at 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, at Prince Of Peace Lutheran Church in Gillette with Pastor Tom Frey officiating.
Military honors will be provided by American Legion Post #42.
Harold Dennis Kegley, 71, was born April 23, 1941, to Harold and Rowena Faye (Scott) Kegley in Fargo, N.D. He passed away on Friday, Aug. 31, 2012, in Gillette at his home following a massive heart attack.
Mr. Kegley and his family moved often during his childhood until finally settling in Fargo where he grew up and attended school.
Dennis enjoyed singing in the barbershop quartet in high school and was featured on WDAY radio. He also ran track and field, bowled and excelled on the rings in gymnastics and was a great water skier.
While getting his economics undergraduate degree at North Dakota State University, he joined the Naval Reserve and was called to active duty which interrupted his graduate studies. Mr. Kegley served his country proudly in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War and was stationed at Yokosuka, Japan, for two years as a radioman E5 responsible for day-to-day receipt and secure delivery of critical war communications to the base commander. When the USS “Pueblo” was captured by North Korean insurgents in January 1968, he was among those communication officers to receive the ship’s fateful distress call. When off duty he developed a passion for collecting music and hiking. He climbed Mount Fuji twice during his stay in Japan.
He married his college sweetheart Kathleen Gerth on Dec. 7, 1968.
After his honorable discharge, Mr. Kegley began his retail career at the Kmart in Fargo and soon was transferred to stores in Minneapolis, Aurora, Ill., Belleville, Ill, and Joplin, Mo. He then transferred to the Wal-mart company and managed his own store in Warrensburg, Mo., where Sam Walton visited his store and he drove Bud Walton, the co-founder of Wal-mart, to St. Louis in his 1974 Corvette.
Mr. Kegley and his wife, Kathy, then bought and operated a Gambles hardware franchise in Hot Springs, S.D., which they ran successfully for nine years. He later worked for Eagle Mats in Hot Springs.
He again rekindled his interest in singing and was in a barbershop quartet that entertained at local events and sang with the Circle B Cowboys at the Custer, S.D., venue. He and Kathy were active in the local community and were involved in the “Christmas in the Hills” celebration where he was responsible for climbing the 100-foot evergreen tree in front of the post office to place the lighted star at its top.
He also served in the local chapter of the National Guard, where he worked on the bridge-and-road building crew and served as a Hot Springs volunteer fireman.
His final and favorite career was as a conductor on the BNSF railroad. He moved his family to Gillette in 1996 and crewed the freight train from Gillette to Guernsey. His crew members affectionately called him “precious” since his rejoinder to all the funny stories told was “isn’t that precious.”
He and Kathy became interested in travel and enjoyed two trips to Europe and most recently took a Caribbean cruise in April.
Mr. Kegley was preceded in death by his parents and grandparents.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 43 years, Kathy; their two sons, Todd of Kansas City, Kan., and Tyler and wife, Casandra, and granddaughter, Makenzie, all of Gillette; as well as his sister, Bonnie Van Bruggen of Grafton, N.D.; and other extended family, many friends and his two cats, Chevelle and Deuce Coupe.
Memorials and condolences may be sent in Dennis’ name to Walker Funeral Home 410 Medical Arts Court, Gillette, WY 82716. Condolences may also be sent via the website to www.walkerfuneralgillette.com.