BUTTE, Mont. | On Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, Gerald “Jerry” Gill, loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 83. His heart was worn from a life well lived. He will be so dearly missed by all who knew and loved him, but we are comforted knowing he’s reunited with his loving wife, Dixie.
Jerry’s life began on March 6, 1936 in Rapid City, SD, to Gerald and Florence Gill. He graduated from Cathedral High School in Rapid City and went on to attend the University of Wyoming in Laramie. From 1956-1962 he was a member of the S.D. National Guard and attained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.
In 1956 he married the love of his life, Dixie L. Hanson. Dixie always boasted about what a "looker" Jerry was and he always shared the same sentiment for her. For more than 56 years they spent their lives together raising their six children and traveling the world through the opportunities brought forth by being President of Best Western International, Inc.
Jerry was an avid reader of western books and loved all things John Wayne. More than anything, Jerry adored having his family together. So many fond memories of the chaos created by his large family during their annual dinners at Mt. Rushmore, their 4th of July get-togethers on Heidiway Lane, and the annual Christmas Eve gatherings at the Gill household. His family will always remember and smile thinking of the many lake days at Pactola watching Jerry cruise around on the boat or jet skis.
Along with being a wonderful family man, Jerry was an active member of the Rapid City civic community where he held numerous positions from the 1960s-1990s. From 1966-1997 he was the President and General Manager of Best Western, Gill’s Sun Inn. He was the President of the Rapid City Innkeepers Association, the South Dakota Innkeepers Association, Vice President and Director of the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce, Director of the Rapid City Convention Visitors Bureau, Chairman of the South Dakota Tourism Development Board as well as the S.D. State Department of Tourism Development. He was the Director of the South Dakota Hospitality Association, a member of the Governor’s Special Advisory Committee on Tourism Development and the Director and President of Best Western International, Inc. He was also a member of the Rapid City Knights of Columbus and the Rapid City Elks Lodge.
Jerry was preceded in death by his beautiful wife, Dixie Gill; his father, Gerald Gill; his mother, Florence Gill; and his brother, Robert "Bob" Gill. Jerry is survived by four daughters, Tami Bonato (Paul Relf), Terri Gill, Brenda Gill (David Wallace) and Sara Gill (Pablo Uriegas); two sons, Brian Gill (Mary) and Bruce Gill (Jo). He’s also survived by his loving sister, Patricia Seefeldt (Dave) of Rapid City. He’s remembered and loved by 11 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren who will miss his infectious laugh and tight bear-hugs immensely.
Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 23, at Osheim & Schmidt Funeral Home.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24, at the funeral home. Burial will be at Mountain View Cemetery.