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Gary Herrick

Oct. 2, 1940-July 26, 2009

Gary Herrick, 68, of Fergus Falls died Sunday, July 26, 2009 at his residence, under the care of his family and Lakeland Hospice.

Gary, the third child of Donald and Pauline Herrick, was born Oct. 2, 1940, in Grand Forks, N.D. His father worked for Northern Pacific Railroad, so the family moved several times before Don was given the position of station agent in Detroit Lakes, where Gary grew up.

Gary graduated from Detroit Lakes High School in 1959, and attended Moorhead State Teachers College for one semester before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in 1960. In 1962, he was sent to Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines, where he remained until 1964, when he was honorably discharged.

Upon his return to Minnesota, Gary attended Brown's Institute and Elkins Institute of Radio and Electronics, receiving a general diploma in electronics.

Gary had been stationed in Corvallis, Ore., at the beginning of his time in the Air Force, and wanted to return to that state, so accepted a job at KOTI-TV in Klamath Falls, Ore. He was working there when he met his future wife, Donna. A short time later, Gary returned to Minnesota, and he and Donna were married in St. Paul. They moved to Glenwood, Minn., where their first child was born.

Gary worked at KCMP-TV in Alexandria until June 1968, when the family moved to Chico, Calif., to care for Donna's mother. Acting on a long-standing interest in law enforcement, Gary applied for and got a position as a police officer with the City of Chico. He attended and graduated from the Feather River Police Academy in the fall of 1969. Gary and Donna's son was born in November of that year.

Gary continually worked on his education, taking all available training courses within the department, and also received his A.A. degree in law enforcement from Butte Community College in 1972. His and Donna's third child, a daughter, was born in October of that year. In 1976, Gary received his B.A. degree in public administration from California State University, Chico. During his 24-year career as a police officer in Chico, Gary was selected as Officer of the Year on three occasions, and was honored in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin magazine in May 1988 for his actions is saving the life of a victim of a knife attack.

Gary received a career-ending injury during a riot in 1990 and retired from law enforcement in September 1991. After his retirement, Gary and Donna decided to return to Minnesota, moving to Fergus Falls in 1994. Their three children soon relocated to Minnesota as well.

Gary was a pilot, both in fixed-wing planes and helicopters, with private and commercial ratings in both. He was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary while in California, where he flew search missions for the local flotilla. He organized and flew in a flight group that conducted fire-lookout flights for the California Department of Forestry, Chico Air Attack Base.

After moving to Fergus Falls, a long standing love of bagpipe music prompted Gary to learn to play the pipes, and he played at the local schools, at memorials and other occasions. Prior to his second stroke in 2002, Gary was a member of the American Legion.

Surviving Gary are his wife, Donna Herrick of Fergus Falls; son Bruce (Sue) Herrick of Andover, Minn.; daughters Brenna Herrick of Plymouth, Minn., and Heather (Todd) Walvatne of Fergus Falls; 11 grandchildren; sister, Jalene Nordstrom of Minot, N.D.; as well as many nieces, nephews and their children.

Preceding Gary in death were his parents, Donald Timothy and Pauline Herrick; baby sister, Diane; and brother, Donald Lee Herrick.

Visitation will take place for one hour prior to services at Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in Fergus Falls on Friday, July 31.

Funeral services are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday, July 31 at Our Lady of Victory Church, with the Rev. LeRoy Schik officiating. Burial will be in St. Otto's Catholic Cemetery, Fergus Falls, with military rites provided by Harold T. Swenson VFW Post 612 and American Legion Post 30, both of Fergus Falls.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Glende-Nilson Funeral Home of Fergus Falls. Online condolences may be left at