SHERIDAN – Gerald Dale Carpenter, 72, of Sheridan went to be with the Lord Oct. 6, after a long battle with leukemia. Gerald was born in Bassett, Neb. on Nov. 14, 1947 to Wilma Louise (Potratz) Carpenter and Floyd Bartlett Carpenter. He was the oldest of five children raised in the Nebraska Sandhills spending summers and free time on family ranches helping his uncles hay, fence, work cattle, or whatever was needed.
As a teenager his family moved to New Mexico where he spent most of his time with his cousins racing motorcycles, cars and driving anything that had wheels and an engine they could tear apart and work on. His mechanic skills were furthered with his service in the Army from February 1968 to September 1971. During which time he was stationed in Alaska with Company C 2nd Battalion 61st Infantry 5th US Army fixing tanks and jeeps for the Vietnam War effort.
After his service, he relocated to Montana where he met and married his first wife Sharon Miller. Along with her and her two children Jimmy and DaVonne, they welcomed home his first son Gerald Dale Carpenter II.
He had many jobs from being a mechanic to driving truck and always did everything to the best of his ability.
Years later Gerald and his son moved to New Mexico where he worked road construction and gathered more stories of his life to tell such as the time he drove a large, heavy piece of machinery in reverse through Albuquerque because the transmission was going out. And the time they cleaned up the top of a restaurant after a tornado and he found a fork stuck in the roof that he pulled out and kept (and used for years to come) because he thought that was a sturdy fork!
During his time in New Mexico, he married his second wife Patricia with whom he added a second son Jeremy Carpenter.
But after a few years Nebraska was calling his name. He moved back to Nebraska where he first worked construction including helping build the Calamus Dam by Burwell.
He married his third wife, Jody Reyner, and together they had a daughter, Jackie Lynn Carpenter. Gerald and his family lived in the Nebraska Sandhills for the next 20 plus years where he worked for many ranchers and even found time to once again help his uncles on their ranches.
He was good with a horse and good with a wrench and would never pass a stranded vehicle on the side of the road without stopping to see if he could concoct a temporary fix to help them limp it to town.
He broke teams of horses and was a member of the KBR Harness and saddle club participating in many local parades and taking church and school groups caroling on horse drawn wagons in the holiday season. He even built a wagon equipped to accommodate wheelchairs so he could take his grandmother and later the local nursing home patients for a ride.
After losing Jody to cancer he met and married Sheila Scott who along with her two children Larry and Dana, he shared the end of his ranching career. Not long after losing Sheila to a tragic car accident, he decided to “retire” and moved to New Mexico where he married his fifth wife Donna.
Together they bought a home where he promptly built a woodworking shed and started to build wood toys that he would donate to the children’s hospital so the kids could decorate them as their own and keep. He also built several rocking motorcycles to be auctioned for fundraising efforts for the Legion Riders Club of which he was an active member and even served as president for a while.
Donna and Gerald later moved to Sheridan area where they gained yet another community of friends.
Gerald was preceded in death by his baby sister Anita Rae, both his parents, and two wives. He is survived by his brother Wayne (Sally) of Ainsworth, Neb., sister Janet (Tony) Lawrence of Logan, N.M, sister Susan Mahan of Amarillo Texas, wife Donna of Sheridan, son Gerald (Lori) of Manville, daughter Jackie (Dewey) Tucker of Harrisburg, five grandchildren, one great grandchild, and more family, and extended family then can be mentioned.
Graveside services and burial will be held in Dellview Cemetery in Manville. Memorials are suggested to the family to be designated to the organization of their choice at a later date.
Pier Funeral Home in Lusk was in charge of the funeral arrangements