Gerald (Gerry) Gregg Luce of Cheyenne, Wyoming died peacefully at home on May 1st, 2023. Gerry was the youngest of four boys born to Elvin A. Luce and Thelma L. (Pearson) Luce in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In a house full of all boys, a love of puppies, cars, and Minnesota Twins Baseball was a prerequisite. Gerry would love all three, all the days of his life.
After graduating from Lincoln High School at age 17, Gerry enlisted in the United States Army. Since he was only 17, Gerry’s parents had to sign their permission for him to join. By enlisting in the Army under the Buddy System, Gerry and his best friend, Dale Wetzbarger, were allowed to stay together through Basic Training.
After Basic, Gerry completed his Medical Advance Individual Training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He was then assigned to Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii for further medical training before going to Vietnam. Assigned to the 49th Medical Evacuation Hospital, 57th Medical Detachment, and the 82nd Medical Detachment in Can Tho, Vietnam. Gerry worked as a “Dust Off” Helicopter Medevac Medic. The Dust Off units are named for the dust created when the helicopters quickly take off and land. Known for being an extremely dangerous job, approximately 5,600 helicopters were lost during the Vietnam War. On one of his days off, a helicopter from Gerry’s unit crashed during a storm. All crew members aboard were killed. On a trip to Washington DC in 1995, Gerry was able to locate the names of his crew members on the Vietnam Wall as well as visit Arlington National Cemetery.
During his tours in Vietnam, Gerry was sending his money back home to South Dakota. He even opted for a six-month extension. When he returned to Sioux Falls, there was in a brand-new Ford Mustang Fastback waiting for him in the garage! Upon his discharge from the Army, and with money from the GI Bill, Gerry moved to Bozeman, Montana to attend Montana State University. While working part-time at the hardware store he met Marian (Marni) Mulryan. The couple was married in 1975.
Upon graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Film and Television, Gerry got a job in Kalispell, Montana. One year later, Gerry accepted a job in Cheyenne, Wyoming with the local television station KYCU. In 1978 he also joined the Wyoming Army National Guard. Gerry left the television station for a full-time position as a Laramie County Sheriff’s Deputy. During this time Marni and Gerry added two daughters to their family, Kellie and Kara. After working for the Sheriff’s Department for six years, Gerry was offered a full-time position with the Wyoming Army National Guard. This took the family to Sheridan, Wyoming in 1986. By 1993, the Luce’s were transferred back to Cheyenne as Gerry’s career continued to advance.
Throughout his career with the Wyoming Army National Guard, Gerry traveled the world and held many different positions. He served with the 115th Field Artillery (FA) Brigade and the 49th Field Artillery (FA). With the 115th FA Brigade, Gerry served as Forward Observer/Aerial Observer and Communications Platoon Leader. He also served as the Battery Commander of the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery (HHB) 115th FA Group. He was the Administrator Officer/S1 for the 1st Battalion 49th FA, Administrative Officer (full time), Administrative Officer/S1, Battery Commander-B Battery 1st Battalion, Battalion Commander-1st Battalion. With 115th Field Artillery Brigade, he served as the S4 Logistics Officer (full time), Administrative Officer (full time), Training Officer (full time), S4 Logistics Officer, and the S3 Operations Officer. Gerry was also the Logistics Officer (full time)-USPFO and Public Affairs Officer for the Wyoming Army National Guard. He was also the Battalion Commander for 2/300th Field Artillery. Gerry proudly completed his career with the military and retired at the rank of Colonel.
Following the move back to Cheyenne in 1993, Gerry also resumed his work with the Laramie County Sheriff’s Department as a Reserve Deputy. Once fully retired from active-duty military, Gerry went back to work full time with the Sheriff’s Department. Gerry acted as the Public Affairs Officer, as well as the Administrator and Training Officer until his retirement from that agency. Gerry was known to be a trusted, supportive, and dedicated leader that many people turned to. These skills served him well in every aspect of his life.
Retirement brought Gerry the opportunity to pursue his hobbies, travel, and spend time with his family and friends. Though of all the roles he had in his life, Gerry was most excited to be the proud Papa to six grandchildren. Watching the grandkids’ soccer and baseball games, and school programs brought him enormous happiness. From playing Legos to Chess, Gerry was just glad to be able to spend time with the kids. Though nothing could compare to when Papa brought out the John Deere! When he took the grandkids out for a ride, or let them “drive,” those are memories cherished by everyone. His love for the Minnesota Twins came full circle as well. Recently Gerry and Marni were able to attend a game at Target Field in Minneapolis. They were able to walk the field, see the dugouts, and be on the dirt next to the diamond.
Gerry was also an avid reader and retained a wealth of knowledge, especially for history. While the Civil War and Military History were his primary focus, Gerry was also well versed in Western and Local History. Gerry was often provided more opportunities than he would have liked to be in the Camp Guernsey, Wyoming area. However, the nearby Oregon Trail ruts, Fort Laramie, and other nearby historical sites were always a highlight for Gerry. They hold a special place in the heart of the family as well.
Gerry is survived by his wife of 47 years, Marni, daughters Kellie Shaffer (Josh) and Kara Zeigler (Damon). As well as grandchildren Logan, Carson, Delaney & Owen Shaffer, and Chloe & Ian Zeigler. His two brothers, Jim (Elaine) Luce and Ron Luce of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Brother and Sister-in-Law, Matt and Cathy Mulryan of Illinois. Brother and Sister in Heart, Bruce and Cathy Hirsch of Arizona, and Brother and Sister in Heart, Dale and Donna Wetzbarger of Colorado. He is preceded in death by his parents and his brother Elvin “Dennis” Luce.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Cheyenne Animal Shelter.