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Gary Lee Crown

April 27, 1944 - June 17, 2021

U.S. Veteran

Service Date June 23, 2021

Location Behrens-Wilson Funeral Home

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at Behrens-Wilson Funeral Home with Rev. Wilbur Holz of Trinity Lutheran Church officiating followed by interment with full military honors at Black Hills National Cemetery.
Visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m., Tuesday, June 22, 2021 at the funeral home.

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It is with deepest sorrow that the Crown family had lost their Brother, Father, Grandfather, Uncle, Father-in-law, CW 3 Gary Lee Crown on June 17th, 2021. Gary put up a courageous battle with many forms of cancer until the very end. Gary was the son of Rachel and Ivan Crown, born April 27, 1944. Gary is the brother to Dennis Crown; Dennis and wife Donna reside in Maryland. He graduated from Rapid City High School in the class of 1962, “Once a Cobbler, always a Cobbler!” At his last reunion it was Gary’s honor to play “Moon River”’ their class song, on his clarinet to honor the classmates.
After high school, Gary held several jobs. Among them, he sold jewelry at Kmart, worked at Gibson’s department store, and KEZU Radio setting up the commercials for the next days’ shows. Later, he became a projectionist at the Pines Drive-in Theater, Elks Theater and Rapid Theater.
Gary married Maripat Schlimgen in 1965, they were married 9 years. They had three sons, Darryl Crown, Douglas Crown and David Crown, Darryl has two sons, Logan Crown, Watertown, SD and Zachary Crown, Corona, SD. Darryl is married to Sandra Gjorras, they live in Rapid City along with Sandra’s daughter, Ganeva Kendall, Rapid City, and David VanVleck, Summerset, SD. Ganeva is married to Jeremy Kendall their children are Hadessah, Benaiah(Ben), and Miriam. David is married to Casey VanVleck and their son is Westin. Douglas Crown resides in Rapid City with his mother Maripat Crown. David Crown resides in Yankton, SD and his children are Josie Kennedy of Tucson, AZ, Raelee Lanphear of Tyndall, SD, Lily and Lucy Blodgett of Yankton, SD. David also has three additional children, Randee Peterson of Canton, SD, Malloree Lanphear of Kansas, Maicee Lanphear of Sioux Falls, SD.
Gary became a member of the South Dakota National Guard but his largest effort was getting a higher education at Huron College and Black Hills State College. During Gary’s life, from as long as he was in school, was to perfect his craft at playing the clarinet. He worked with students around the area in learning music. He later decided to make the regular Army his career; enlisting in the regular Army shortly thereafter.
During his enlistment, he was selected for Warrant Officer School and Band Master School in Norfolk, VA. After successful completion, he was awarded the rank of Warrant Officer and was then stationed in South Korea. There, he met Pun Sun Kang (Sue); Gary and Sue were married in 1977 in Seoul, Korea. Gary and Sue had 2 children Barbara (Crown) Grant and Brian Crown. Barbara is married to George Grant, Jr., they reside in Aberdeen, North Carolina with their son, Asher. Brian Crown currently resides in Tacoma, WA.
Gary travelled all over the with the United States Army as a bandmaster, playing for many Heads of State, military dignitaries, and countless military ceremonies; his bands entertained several military and foreign audiences around the world. During Gary’s career in the US Army, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster, Army Achievement Medal, Army Meritorious Unit Citation, Army Presidential Unit Citation, National Defense Service ribbon, Army Good Conduct medal with 3 knots, Army NCO Professional Development ribbon, Army Service Medal, and an Army Overseas Service Medal. In addition to these awards, Gary was most proud of his award from the US Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, one of the US Army’s elite Special Forces units.
Gary wrote, arranged, and directed many Broadway musical shows such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, and Hello Dolly which were performed in Fort Carson, CO and many other locations where the Army took his career. Gary is most proud of his own original musical arrangements that he directed for either his own bands or for other bands and choirs to perform.
Gary retired from the United States Army in 1991. Gary retired as Chief Warrant Officer 3 at Fort Shafter, HI. Upon his retirement Gary lived in Hawaii until he and Sue moved to Dallas, TX. While living in Texas, Gary provided musical lessons for students all around Mesquite, TX.
Gary returned to live in Rapid City in 2005, becoming an active member in the musical community in the Rapid City Area; writing original arrangements for bands, choirs and individuals. Gary was an active member of the New Horizons Band where he played clarinet and also guest conducted some of his original arrangements. Gary, until his health no longer allowed him, directed the South Dakota American Legion Band. Gary has such a wonderful gift for music, all who have been musically associated with Gary, know how much he prepared and put his emotions into every performance that he has been a participant or director.
His interests have always his family and his grandchildren, his love for music and once in a while, his interest in Astronomy. Gary had many hobbies in his life ranging from building scale model train layouts, building and flying both remote and control line airplanes. Gary’s biggest passion was computerized flight simulators. Gary had more than 10,000 simulator hours and often would say he had more flight time than most real professional pilots. Gary also loved board games, and especially had a love for playing cribbage with family and friends, even though many felt he ‘cheated’, Gary would just call it strategic. But everyone always laughed at Gary’s competitive fun nature when playing these games.
Gary was preceded in death by Sue, his wife of 40 years, his Father and Mother, Ivan and Rachel Crown, his sister, Joan Madsen along with many Aunts, Uncles and other relatives.
During his lifetime he has gained so many friends. We will all meet once again in our eternal home and Gary/Dad will be there to greet us all and then we all will listen to his next greatest opus. We love you Pops!
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at Behrens-Wilson Funeral Home with Rev. Wilbur Holz of Trinity Lutheran Church officiating followed by interment will full military honors at Black Hills National Cemetery.
Visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m., Tuesday, June 22, 2021 at the funeral home.

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