Gary Ronald Troxel of Cody died at the age of 88 during open heart surgery at the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City, on June 1, 2020.
The oldest of four children, Gary was born Sept. 20, 1931, in Palisade, Nebraska, to Rose (Mead) Troxel and Lyle Irvin Troxel, and spent the first years of his life in Hamlet, Nebraska. His family then relocated to Cody.
Gary grew up enjoying many outdoor activities like camping, swimming at DeMaris Springs, hunting and fishing. He was very familiar with most of the backcountry trails in the area, even spending one summer trapping in the Thorofare wilderness with Anson Eddy, an old trapper and family friend. He always enjoyed working on engines, especially cars and lawn mowers, and loved the smell of freshly mown grass. Gary was also a Boy Scout and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He enjoyed writing for the high school newspaper and graduated from Cody High School in 1950.
Right out of high school Gary joined the National Guard and was then deployed to Korea with B Battery 300th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, also known as the “Cowboy Cannoneers.” He received an honorable discharge from the Army National Guard in 1951 and returned to Cody to work at Valley Motors and attend classes at Northwest Community College in Powell.
Gary met the love of his life, Clarice Mae Francis McGinnity, shortly after she moved to Cody to begin work at Husky Oil. They were married at her parents’ farm near McGregor, North Dakota, on July 21, 1956. He began working for Ohio Oil Company, which later became Marathon Oil, in the Byron-Garland Field and then moved his young family to the Grass Creek Camp between Meeteetse and Thermopolis. When the camp was closed in the early 1960s Gary and Clarice picked up and moved to Cody, family and house included. Gary worked for Marathon for the remainder of his work years, spending a few years as a field foreman in the Lance Creek Field near Lusk, Wyoming. Because of his excellent organizational skills managing inventories he was often sent out to consult at Marathon’s numerous locations around the country. He worked for many years in Marathon’s Cody office, but his final Marathon assignment was as work-over foreman back at the Byron-Garland Field.
In retirement Gary became very involved with the Korean War Veteran’s Association (KWVA), which played a pivotal role helping develop Wyoming Veteran’s Memorial Park near Beck Lake. He assisted in the planning for several of the KWVA reunions and other projects and served as treasurer of KWVA. Gary was also a dedicated member of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church and spent many years serving as an usher and bearer of the gifts at services every week. He always was happy to assist with anything that was needed.
Many in the community will remember seeing Gary taking his daily brisk walk through town. He was a humble, kind and giving person with a great sense of humor, an avid story-teller, and he never met a stranger. Lovingly called “Gramps” by his grandchildren, Gary was unconditionally devoted to Clarice, his wife of almost 64 years, and all his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Gary was preceded in death by his parents, an infant son, Thomas Wayne, sister Lyla McKelvey and brother Merle Troxel. He is survived by his brother, Delbert (Barbara) Troxel of Billings; wife, Clarice of Cody; daughter Terry (John) of Powell: sons, Tim (Annette) of Cody and Jeff (Olga) of Missoula, Montana; grandchildren, Casey and Stener Collins of Casper, Wyoming, Abby (Casey) Cook of Billings, Montana, and Chelsey (Mike) Henry of Migisi, Ontario, Canada. Great-grandchildren include Kamee and Tobee Collins of Casper, Vesper and Zarina Cook of Billings, and Kael Henry of Canada. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews and many other relatives.
Services will be held at Ballard’s Funeral Home, 10 a.m., Friday, June 12, 2020. Rosary will be held at Ballard’s at 5:30 p.m. on June 11, 2020. Gary’s guest book may be signed by those who wish at www.ballardfh.com/obituary/gary-troxel.