Feb. 7, 1941-July 31, 2018
Gary Lancaster, 77, went to heaven in his home on July 31 in Twin Bridges after he fought a strong battle against cancer surrounded by his beloved friends and family. He was born to Theresa and Harold Lancaster on Feb. 7, 1941 in Great Falls.
Gary was dedicated to working and creating with his own two hands. He applied remarkable care and skill to everything he constructed throughout life. He had a love for all creatures and always put their needs before his own. In his early years in Big Sky, Gary was hired to caretake the Crail Ranch. He lived there with his family until he was hired by Tim Prather at Lone Mountain Ranch when they opened. Gary was an experienced ranch-hand and wrangler and proved to be a valuable asset during the early development of Big Sky. Gary was very talented and could do most anything. He was liked by canyon residents, coworkers and guests. Gary was a cowboy at heart and very adaptable. When the U.S. Olympic Nordic team trained at Big Sky, he became the course groomer using a Ski-Do with a track setter that he built himself. He also became an accomplished cross-country skier serving as a course pre-runner when international races were held in 1972. Gary also worked in construction and maintenance at Big Sky for the first five years of the resort. After it was sold, he worked for Mike Scholz at Buck’s T-4 during the building of the dance hall addition to their facility. Shortly thereafter, Gary ventured out on his own to hone his great skill as a craftsman and construct log homes and other buildings in the Gallatin Canyon and elsewhere. Gary enjoyed many wonderful years working on projects with his companion Brosie. In retirement, he continued to touch his friends, family, and community through his woodworking.
"Give Gary Lancaster enough time, and he will figure out any dilemma, problem or complication having to do with wood, mechanics or construction. As an expert witness I have seen this done often. He has an engineering mind and the softness of Indian paintbrush. His kindness and approach to living is like morning mist. While working together once, I saw Gary run off a wolf spider whereas most people would have smashed it. I have attempted to take photos of Gary on quite a few jobs we worked together and somehow he avoided the camera. This guy never sought attention. This guy was comfortable in his shoes." - Tom S.
"One of the nicest gentleman, cowboys, craftsman and old coworkers I had the pleasure of calling my friend. Gary Lancaster road off into the sunset leaving a giant empty space in many of our hearts. Gary was one of the great early contributors to the great adventures in the canyon and development at Big Sky. Rest in peace my friend." - Gary S.
"God’s speed Gary. You were one of the best, a dear friend, hardworking, kind, caring, family man. Miss you old pal." - J.C.K
"The first true cowboy, ‘code of the West’ man I met when we moved to Big Sky." - Loree W.
"Gary was truly a one of a kind and a for sure damn straight cowboy! I am lucky enough to have been one of his friends. Whenever stories are told about the old days of Big Sky, there will be some about Gary! It won’t be complete otherwise. Rest now with the Lord my old friend, you have fought the good fight." - Colin K.
Gary is survived by brother Robert Lancaster, Twin Bridges; daughter “Squirt” Theresa Tanascu (Lancaster), Belgrade; her mother Janelle Lancaster, Manhattan; grandchildren Mikayla Pendleton (Lancaster), Daniel Tanascu, and Nichole Tanascu; great-grandchildren Braxton Dykstra and Kayleigh Lancaster; niece Vicky Purser, Black Foot, Idaho; niece Jeni Lancaster, Seattle, Washington; nephew Greg Lancaster, Portland, Oregon; and many cousins and family in the Washington area.
There will be a service on August 17 at 2 p.m. at the K and L mortuary in Twin Bridges. Military Honors will follow at the Twin Bridges Cemetery. The reception will be held at the Twin Bridges Senior Center at 3:30 p.m.