HAMILTON – Jerry Dan McGowan of Victor passed at Marcus Daly Hospice in Hamilton on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016. He was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1941 to Dan and Louise Yocum McGowan. As a kid Jerry enjoyed baseball and spent many fun-filled summer days with family in the Mountain Grove area of Missouri, where he often could be found spelunking and looking for bats.
After high school Jerry earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg in 1963 and a Master of Arts degree in Zoology at University of Missouri, Columbia in 1966. During these years he taught General Zoology and worked on reestablishing ruffed grouse populations in Missouri. Jerry joined the VISTA program which took him to Alaska and in 1967 he was hired as a biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks and worked mainly on upland game bird and raptor projects. With his skills he found himself involved in many other Fish and Game projects including helping to develop and becoming manager of the Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge in Fairbanks. Jerry retired in 1987 and took up woodworking and horseback riding. He and his dog Butch had many successful duck hunts together over the years.
In 1993 he and long-time partner Laura McManus (and two horses and two cats) moved to the Bitterroot Valley of western Montana where they built a home on 20 beautiful acres west of Victor with views of the Bitterroot and Sapphire Mountains. He was a member of the Bitterroot Back Country Horsemen for 23 years. Good old country music was a big part of his life and he was proficient with the guitar, piano, fiddle, and mandolin. Maintaining the property, riding the valley trails, gardening, and music helped fill his life along with “happy hours” enjoyed with many good friends.
Jerry is survived by partner Laura, brother Larry and partner Bev of Idaho, and other relatives in Missouri and Arizona. He was preceded in death by his parents. At his request no local services are planned. A memorial gathering will be held in Mountain Grove, Missouri at a later date and his ashes will be buried in the family plot there. Local memorial contributions may be sent to the Bitter Root Humane Association, 262 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton, MT 59840 or to a favorite animal charity. Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at www.whitesittfuneralhome.com.