Darrell Gierke was born to Alfred and Marthea Gierke on a cold winters day on January 2, 1927 in Fairview, North Dakota. Being the gentleman Dad was, and never wanting to upset anyone, he waited until the rest of the family had left before going to his eternal home with Jesus. Dad died peacefully in the evening hours on Sunday, December 3, 2017 with his daughter Susan by his side. His endearing smile will be missed by everyone.
Dad grew up on the family farm and attended school in Fairview, MT. When Dad was 10, he contracted osteomyelitis, an extremely rare bone infection. During WWII, being unable to join the military, he and his father Alfred Sr., worked in the ship yards in Portland, OR to help with the war effort. When the war ended, he traveled to Spokane, WA and attended and graduated from Barber College. Returning to Fairview, Darrell met and later married Rosie Schmitt on August 31, 1947. They began their family and soon purchased a small farm where they grew a large garden and milked dairy cows. Dad was a barber in Richland County for 18 years, 10 years of which he owned and operated Darrell’s Barber shop in Fairview. He sold his business to work for the Billings Gazette on January 1, 1967. That career resulted in a transfer to Glasgow in 1969 and then to Billings in 1973. He retired from The Billings Gazette on April 17, 1985. During Dad’s career at the Billings Gazette, his family helped by delivering newspapers on various routes. He came out of retirement to be a Federal Reserve driver for Montana Carriers. In 1989 Dad went to work for Belfield Napa Auto driving truck until his 2nd retirement in 2011 at age 84. Dad found great joy in mowing his lawn and helping his kids with carpentry jobs. Dad and Mom celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this past August.
Dad never met a stranger he did not like, and always had a kind word for everyone. He loved to share the seemingly never-ending tales of his life experiences. Dad was a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and took great joy in leading prayers at family gatherings and was always ready to give an account of the hope that he had in Jesus Christ.
Dad is survived by his wife Rosie and their eight children. Phillip (Marcy) Casper WY, Edward (Wendy) Conrad, MT, Tim (Nancy) Havre, MT, Robert of Laurel, MT, Scott (Jolene) Shepherd, MT, Peter (Vickie) Shepherd, MT, Jason of Butte, MT and Susan (Gierke) Walters (Chris) Laurel, MT. Dad is also survived by 17 grandchildren and 30 great grandchildren (2 on the way) and 3 great great-grandchildren.
Dad is preceded in death by his parents and all 7 of his siblings, 1 grandchild and 1 great grandchild.
A special thank you to the staff at Laurel Health and Rehabilitation Center for their excellent care of Dad. We were often told by the staff and patients what a warm friendly character Dad was and how his infectious smile greeted each one of them.
The sons and family of Darrell Gierke would also like to thank our sister Susan Walters for the time and effort that she put in caring for Dad.
A Celebration of life will be held at Cremation and Funeral Gallery in Billings, MT at 10 am on Tuesday January 2, 2018 with internment at Sunset Memorial Gardens. A reception will follow at Harvest Church in the heights, 1235 West Wicks Lane.
In lieu of flowers please donate to Alzheimer’s Walk in remembrance of Darrell Gierke.