Larry Lee Gortmaker, 67, of Cody, formerly of the Black Hills, died peacefully April 14, 2020.
Larry, or Dad as we often called him, was born to Alfred and Mary Helsper Gortmaker in Kansas City, Mo., on March 1, 1953. The family moved to Rapid City where his parents owned A&M Jewelers on Main Street. He graduated from Rapid City Central High School and went on to graduate from Chadron State College with a degree in Business. He married Wendy Bohn and they had two children: Jamie Lee and Cody Wesley.
Dad was a role model of somebody who would work long, hard hours to provide for his family. Some of his jobs included working as a cop in Keystone, S.D., managing the jewelry department at LaBelle’s in Rapid City, and working for Pepsi and Cabela’s. For most of his career, he was a route salesman for Sara Lee Bakery. He would wake up at 2 a.m., drive an hour to work rain, snow or shine to load his truck, and then bust his behind getting his deliveries made to different businesses around the Black Hills. Dave Jensen would still complain when he was 10 minutes late or showed up during a busy lunch rush, but we forgive him. Love you, Dave! On top of work, he also took care of his elderly Mom, making sure she was able to stay home and not have to enter a nursing home.
Dad was proud to watch his son Jamie enter the Navy. He proudly wore his USS Nebraska hat almost everywhere and would take every opportunity to tell strangers about his son’s military service ... whether they wanted to know or not.
One of his last big adventures was to travel to Washington to hold the book Jamie swore in on during his re-enlistment ceremony in 2018.
Dad was very close to his son Cody, who was the youngest. They didn’t have any more kids after Cody because it’s hard to improve on perfection … or as Jamie would probably interject … it’s hard to handle much more after Cody came around.
After retirement in 2015, Dad moved to Cody to be close to Cody, Layna and most importantly, his grandson Cohen. Cody was used to being the favorite, but he was quickly demoted as Cohen, Layna, and Dash (the dog) became his new favorites. He would spoil Cohen and Dash with whatever treats and toys they wanted, and he thoroughly enjoyed being wrapped around Cohen’s little finger.
During his twilight years in Cody, Dad could often be found socializing at Walmart, checking in on Cody and Myles at the office, or sitting outside his home watching the cars go by and waiting for his friend and neighbor Scott Springer to come by with his dogs Mo and Molly so he could give them doggy treats.
He liked to watch Keith Lundvall working hard installing landscaping and Justin Joy building houses around Trailhead, reminiscing about his hard-working yesteryears. He liked to B.S. with Sam, Cheryl, Nick, Wade and the Riverside Cemetery crew. He loved griping about old-man things with Marvin Martin and Tim Power. He enjoyed spending holidays gathered with the Krubeck family. He really enjoyed this friendly community and you all made his final years some of the best of his life. Thank you all!
He would want people to remember him as a hardworking man who sacrificed for his family. Please always take a moment to be friendly to your neighbor, pet a dog, enjoy a cup of coffee and turn up the radio!
Because of COVID-19, family and friends are unable to travel to Cody for funeral services. We will hold a memorial service as the restrictions are lifted, but meanwhile we want to thank everybody for the kind calls, texts, posts, thoughts and prayers.
Cards may be sent to Ballard Funeral Home, P.O. Box 2136, Cody, WY, 82414. Condolences can be sent to Larry’s family at BallardFH.com.