Donald C. Gackle, 83, Garrison, died Sunday, July 1, 2012, in a Bismarck hospital. Services will be Saturday, July 7, at 11 a.m. at Garrison High School.
Don was born April 12, 1929, in Kulm, to Otto and Alice (Higdem) Gackle. He graduated from the University of North Dakota and served two years with the U.S. Army during the Korean War, where he was stationed in New Mexico in counter-intelligence during what he jokingly referred to as "The Battle of New Mexico."
After military service, he worked for the Greater North Dakota Association, the state Chamber of Commerce, as the public relations manager for nearly 10 years before purchasing the Farmers Independent in 1963. The Garrison newspaper was soon renamed the McLean County Independent.
BHG Inc. was formed in 1972 using the first letter of the names of the three community newspapers that were the beginning of the corporation, serving Beulah, Hazen and Garrison.
Gackle was active in the Garrison community and a strong supporter of all the BHG communities. He was active in forming Better Living for Garrison, and attended Garrison Chamber of Commerce meetings, while serving in a variety of capacities for nearly 50 years. He was active in the First Congregational Church UCC. He served as president of the North Dakota Newspaper Association in 1975. He was one of the founding directors of the NDNA Education Foundation. He was inducted into the North Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2000.
Gackle left his mark on many community projects. He led fundraisers to provide low-income housing development and, more recently, to build a tennis court in Garrison. He helped with the establishment of other ventures in other communities where BHG operates newspapers including the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn, the Dakota Walleye Classic in Beulah and the Sakakawea Medical Center in Hazen. In 1996, the Garrison community held a Don Gackle Appreciation Day and in 1997, he received the Garrison "Citizen of the Year" award.
He entered semi-retirement a few years ago, but retained the title of chairman of the board and continued to write his column, "Here and There," and an occasional story.
Don was married to Phyllis King from 1951-2000. He married Ardie Hamilton Huss in 2001.
Survivors include: Ardie; his son, Mike (Jill), Garrison; and daughter, Cindy (Randy Helland), Lake Elmo, Minn.; his grandchildren, Chantal Kendall (Greg) of Irvine, Calif., Paul of Palo Alto, Calif., Patrick and Daniel of Berkeley, Calif.; and three great-grandchildren, Thea, Ava and Scarlet, children of Chantal and Greg.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Phyllis, and his parents.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Camp of the Cross, Garrison Dollars for Scholars, or the NDNA Education Foundation.
Thompson Funeral Home, Garrison, is in charge of arrangements.