Gary A. Steen, 83, of Great Falls, passed away Thursday, November 14, 2019 at home surrounded by his loving family. A Celebration of Life will be held this Tuesday, November 19th at 11:00 AM at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 332 Riverview 3 W, Great Falls.
Born May 25, 1936 in Lansford, ND to Geneva Lou Harris and Lewis Edward Steen, Gary was raised by his paternal grandparents, Clarence and Eva Steen. He graduated from Great Falls High School and later met his future wife, Audrey Dombrosky, on a blind date in Billings, where she was going to college. They were married June 9, 1962 at Pella Lutheran Church in Sidney, MT.
After high school, Gary joined the U.S. Navy Reserves. He quickly found that he didn’t like the once a month commitment because he wanted to serve his country more, so he joined the U.S. Army at 18 years of age in November of 1954. He got into trouble for being in both branches of the military, so they helped him do the paperwork to leave the Navy and only be in the Army. In the Army, he had to do six weeks of swimming lessons, after which they told him “You should stay on land!” He went on to be a Sergeant stationed in Germany during the Korean War as a Demolition Specialist and Sharpshooter. After his honorable discharge from the Army in June 1957, he worked for the state of Montana Highway Department as a civil engineer and project manager. He supervised the building of bridges all over the state. Family vacations were often to see “his bridges.” He’d say, “I built this bridge!” He retired at the young age of 57, having given 42 years of service, including his military time.
An avid fisherman and hunter, Gary enjoyed camping and spending the winters out of state. He and Audrey loved to travel the world. He last traveled to Boise, ID in July of this year for his great-grandson, James, second birthday. Gary was a member of Redeemer Lutheran Church for 57 years. He was strong in his faith and never missed church. After Sunday service, he and Audrey would join a group of friends for breakfast. He last attended church on November 3, 2019, 11 days before his death. The last few days before his passing, he’d ask his daughter, Lynette “where are the girls (Shelby and Sydney) and the little guy (James)?” James and his great-grandpa Gary often pretended to share his cane to walk.
Survivors include his beloved wife of 57 years, Audrey; sons, Craig L. Steen and Mark A. Steen, of Great Falls; daughter, Lynette Steen (Nathan) White of Star, ID; granddaughters, Shelby Lynn Smith (Joshawa Bechtel) and Sydney Smith (Jonathan) Arreola; great-grandson, James Michael Arreola, Grandpa’s “little guy.”
Gary was preceded in death by his biological parents, Lewis Edward Steen and Geneva Herold and his parents (paternal grandparents) Clarence and Eva Steen.
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