Gary Breidenbach, 72, of Mitchell, SD, lost his fight with cancer on Sunday, October 25, 2020 at his home under hospice care. Funeral services will be 10:30 AM Thursday, October 29, 2020 at Bittner Funeral Chapel. Burial will be in Graceland Cemetery in Mitchell. Visitation will be one hour prior to the funeral service at Bittner Funeral Chapel. The family requests masks are worn and social distancing guidelines are followed at the funeral service. Funeral arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.
Gary Lynn Breidenbach was born on September 7, 1948 to Gaylene and Lorraine Breidenbach. He graduated from Notre Dame High School in 1966. After high school Gary attended SDSU, and in 1968 joined the National Guard. After completing basic training, he was united in marriage on December 20, 1969, to Ardis Kurtenbach by Father James Bream at Holy Family Church in Mitchell. They celebrated 50 years of marriage on December 20, 2019.
Gary graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University with a Bachelor of Arts degree on August 20, 1971. He accepted a teaching position on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Eagle Butte. There he taught 7th and 8th grade for a number of years, and then taught 4th grade.
On May 5, 1984, Gary graduated from Northern State College with the degree of Master of Science in Education. After receiving his graduate degree he was school counselor for K-12, at Cheyenne Eagle Butte School District. He worked with the Natural Helpers Program, was Student Council Advisor, a member of the Cheyenne River Child Protection Program, and lead a Future Problem Solving group to the State Championship and received 1st Place. Gary received the West River Counselor Award in 1988, was the Testing Coordinator for the Cheyenne River Reservation, and was recognized for his Leadership in Technology. In the fall of 1990 he became the Title One Director. In 2005 he retired only to be rehired as Director of Federal Programs. Gary worked 40 years in one place but changed jobs whenever he felt the need for change.
Gary and Ardis retired to Mitchell in 2011, after exemplifying the best in the Cheyenne-Eagle Butte Education Program. He loved working and living on the Cheyenne River Reservation, and when they moved back he always said the most difficult thing was leaving the people.
Gary enjoyed farming the land, watching the crops grow, and was always excited about the new technologies. He loved fishing with friends and his beloved sons, and took his adored granddaughters on many excursions. The girls even got involved in the hunting at the Lodge. (Home in Mitchell)
Gary is survived by his wife of 50 years, Ardis Kurtenbach Breidenbach, Mitchell; two sons, Jacob Justin, Sturgis, SD and Jason Paul (Jennifer Hanssen), Sioux Falls; five devoted granddaughters, Jaycee Lynn Breidenbach, Vermillion, Jade Marie Breidenbach, Sturgis, Berlin Kimber Overweg, Sturgis, Ellie Jo Breidenbach, Sioux Falls, Kinzey Kay, Sioux Falls; one sister, Kathy Breidenbach Burks, Clermont, FL; one brother, Phil (Cheryl) Breidenbach, Aiken, SC.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Gaylene and Lorraine and brother-in-law, Jerry Burks.