Gary Kauzuo Nagashima, age 69, passed away of natural causes at his home in Hailey, Idaho.
Gary was born on Jan. 8, 1945, the Chinese year of the monkey, as he often mentioned. The second child of Frank and Ida Nagashima, he was born in Garryowen, Mont., and grew up in eastern Idaho, working with his father on the farm. He completed his Eagle Scout award, and later graduated from Bonneville High School in Idaho Falls in 1963.
Upon graduating, he moved to Denver, Colo., to pursue studies in drafting, and eventually transferred to the University of Idaho in Moscow. There, he was an active member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity and the cheerleading team, as well as a student of architecture.
Drafted in 1967, he served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. When he returned to the United States, he worked summers for the U.S. Forest Service in Yellowstone National Park building and maintaining trails near Squaw Creek. He wintered in West Yellowstone, working at a local bakery. He eventually followed friends to Sun Valley, where he worked as a firewood cutter. He met and married Jennifer Babin while working at the bakery at the Konditorei.
Gary embraced everything about the Wood River Valley and thought of it as a paradise. He and Jennifer raised their four children in the valley and were active in the schools, recreational sports teams, Catholic Church and many other community organizations. He was among the original Power Engineers Inc. team, helping to start the company in its early doublewide trailer offices. While with Power Engineers, he was on the team to initiate the Hailey Ice Rink, volunteering hours and hours of time to freeze ice for local enjoyment and recreation. He would then return home to make his own ice rink each year for his family’s enjoyment. Eventually, he and Jennifer took up ice hockey, playing with the local Sunsets team weekly.
He was known for his stories and spirit, his smile and his hats, and his unrelenting love of nature and outdoor recreation. Summers were filled with evenings spent fishing late into the night; winters were spent alternating between fishing and skiing, and eventually snowboarding. After surviving stomach cancer in 2010, he took great pride in showing his large scar and retelling the story.
Gary touched many lives and will be missed by many. His children, Frances, Louise Rose, Vincent and Emma, will miss him dearly. His siblings, Mabel, Ed and Cecil, will also miss him.
Services were held at St. Charles Catholic Church in Hailey on Saturday, Feb. 8.