• Date Of Birth: October 21, 1937
  • Date Of Death: November 22, 2014
  • State: Montana

I was born on October 21, 1937 in Great Falls, MT. to Elizabeth “Betty” and Carl Anderson. The first year of my life I lived at my Grandma Hannah Anderson and Uncles homestead located at Deep Creek Park, close to Millegan, MT. My family had bought this homestead in 1918. We had to cross the Smith River five times by team and wagon to get there. My mother cooked on a woodstove, had no running water and used a washboard to wash our clothes. The following three years my parents and I lived in Great Falls. I continued to spend any free time I had out at Millegan with my Uncle Rueben and Uncle Vic. When I was four years old I was given a horse named “King” and spent many hours riding him and “chasing those cows.” I was not allowed to use a saddle until I turned twelve. In 1945 we moved to Cut Bank where my dad worked for an oil refinery. I spent the summers with my uncles at Millegan. We would invite the neighbors down and get the ice out off the ice house and make homemade ice cream. It was quite an event. I wrangled horses and kept chasing those cows.

In January of 1950 my family and I moved to Millegan permanently where my mother and father worked for my Uncle Rueben. We lived in a two bedroom house that had no electricity. We did get electricity in 1957. My brother Richard, who was six at the time, and I attended Millegan School. There were only 6 other students. My summers were spent working the ranch and going to picnics and rodeos. I won the Wild Cow Riding event a few times. In my early teens, with the help of Uncle Reuben, whom was a patient man, I was taught how to break horses. For entertainment in the winter we would take teams and bobsleds and go to the neighbors for poker parties on Saturday nights. The Millegan Road was closed most winters. The mail would come twice a week and a lot of the times by horseback.

In the spring of 1952 I graduated from the eighth grade. I was the Valedictorian of my class at Millegan School. Of course, I was the only one in my class. The next fall I attended Cascade High School. I consider this time some of the best years of my life. I lived with a family in Cascade during much of the school year. I spent my summers working back at the ranch.

I played football and basketball in high school. I had some great friends. My friend Darrell Loveland has been my best friend for over 70 years. He has been by my side through the good, bad and the ugly. I graduated from Cascade High School in 1956. I tried my hand at bareback riding in rodeos but decided I needed to stick with ranching. I spent the summer after high school at the ranch haying and breaking horses and realized that there wasn’t enough income for me to stay, so I moved to Great Falls. I worked as a hod carrier and laborer until 1959. I joined the Plumber’s Union and worked for Tynes Plumbing and Heating for 19 years. I married my high school girlfriend, Roberta Johnson, in 1959. Together we had four beautiful daughters and a handsome son. Over the years my children became great riders, avid sportsman and learned to appreciate the ranch and its heritage as much as I do. During the next years between plumbing and raising my children I spent all of my extra time being a weekend cowboy. Since I wasn’t riding colts everyday and only riding the colts on the weekend I would hit the ground more then I should have. My first marriage ended in 1973. I married Viola Orr in 1977 and it also ended in divorce.

In 1975 I started Deep Creek Outfitters and Deep Creek Cattle Company using the land that had been left to me by my family. Around this same time I spent a lot of time plumbing and using a backhoe and created the Anderson Trailer Court on the SW side of Great Falls. In 1978 I quit my plumbing job and moved to Millegan where I would live the majority of my life. My Outfitting business was doing well so in the late 70’s I decided to start building the “Heaven on Earth Ranch,” located on the Smith River. I had a lot of support and help from my family and friends.

My life has been full of adventures. Over my 77 years and because of my love for horses I have had nineteen broken ribs, broken back, broken collar bone, broken wrist, broken pelvic and a torn rotator cuff, but it sure has been fun. A memorable highlight of my life is when my son Vic and I participated in the Centennial Cattle Drive of “89” between Roundup and Billings. I am very proud of my son Vic and the hours he has put into the ranch. He works his tail off without much help, rarely complains and has some how put up with me. Couldn’t love him more or be more proud of him. I am also proud of being able to put about 1500 acres of our ranch into a conservation easement that will keep part of the ranch intact and pristine forever. Every year I would take my annual trip to the National Rodeo finals in Las Vegas with my friend Keith Harlow but otherwise I have been happy with being home surrounded by my family and friends. I was humbled to receive the Montana Cowboy Heritage Award a few years back. I believe my life has been satisfying because of God, a loving family, great neighbors and friends. I’ve also had the privilege of living in Montana and the good ole USA. “I have always been curious about what is on the other side.” –Gary

Dad was lifelong a member of the Elks Club, Montana Cowboys Association and Montana Outfitters Association. He was preceded in death by his parents Betty and Carl Anderson and his brother Richard Anderson. He is survived by his daughters Kimberly Hustad (Bryon), Pamela Chivers (Kelly), Leanne Griffin (Leif), Rebecca Nicholls (Jeff) and son Victor Anderson (Kristyn). Dad will be missed by his ten grandchildren; Art Hustad, Matt Hustad, Marrisa Deerkop, Reid Chivers, Morgan Griffin, Robert Griffin, Derek Nicholls, Shelby Nicholls and Colton and Kendra Anderson; his Great Grandchildren Gary and Harlow Deerkop; his nephew Rueben Anderson, niece Chandra Thronson and best friend Darrell Loveland.

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