In Memory

Gary Dietzen

Gary Dietzen

Gary Dietzen 
1936 - 2017


February 2, 1936 - February 12, 2017


Gary Dietzen died on February 12th at the age of 81 after surviving multiple cancers for 22 years. He was born in Yakima, WA on February 2, 1936 to Leo and Marion Dietzen. He attended St. Joseph and St. Paul's grade schools, Marquette HS and was a 1958

graduate of Carroll College in Helena, MT. He was named as an outstanding graduate in Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities. Following graduation he taught English and Latin at Sunnyside HS and then at Johnson Air Force Base in Japan for high school students of US Air Force families stationed there. He married Shelia McKelvey in the summer of 1962 and returned to Japan with her for two more years. When they returned

to the States he attended WSU to obtain a Masters degree in Counseling and Guidance and was then hired by the Yakima School District as a counselor at Eisenhower and Davis HS. He also held various Director positions within the district in Counseling and Guidance, High School Education, Upper Yakima Valley School Districts Vocational Programs, and Director of the Yakima Valley Vocational Skills Center. He also held local, state, and national counseling positions.



As a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and brother Gary was known as a man of tremendous humor and loved spending time with his family and making them laugh. He spent many hours teaching his kids to ski, golf and play tennis. He encouraged them in their interests with sports, riding horses, playing music and various club activities. He also enjoyed going to his grandkids sporting events, music programs and artistic endeavors.

He loved music and played the piano his entire life and was an organist at the Cathedral in Helena Montana where he met his wife Sheila accompanying her for community events. He loved to dance and would joyfully break out his dance moves anywhere he heard a tune from dance halls to grocery stores and airport hangers on the US/Mexican border. He volunteered at Holy Family Parish as a Eucharistic minister and wedding coordinator with his wife, and also devoted many years facilitating the "Man to Man" program to support prostate cancer patients and their families.



Gary and Sheila wintered in San Diego where they made many friendships both in the community and with other RV'ers escaping the harsher Northern weather. In the summer he was the Wagon Master for the Elks Sun Chasers RV club. He also loved to bike with Sheila and was a regular on the Yakima Greenway, in San Diego along the Mission Bay trail, and on trips through Europe.



He was preceded in death by his parents, Leo and Marion and brothers Gordon Francis and William. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Sheila, son Todd (Cheri), daughters Shelly Nagle (John), Jenny Boydstun, Annie Pearsons (Todd), sister Audrey Werst (Don), and grandchildren Jimmy, Krista, and Natalie Nagle, Tessa Boydstun, Luke and Grace Pearsons, and many nieces and nephews.



Everyone who knew him called him a good and kind man.




A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Holy Family Parish on Friday, February 17, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery.



Memorials in honor of Gary can be made to the American Cancer Society or your favorite charity.

The JHS Alumni will miss our friend and teacher, Gary very much.