Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station
Gaylor “James” Dague

Gaylor “James” Dague

G. James Dague, of Nisland, SD, died Monday, February 26, 2024, at Monument Health Sturgis hospital in Sturgis, SD.

James was born in Pierre, SD to Matilda and Milford Dague. He was the oldest of four children: a brother Duane, and sisters Louise and Janice, who all grew up on a ranch near Faulkton, SD. The family moved to California when James was 12 years old. After graduating high school, James worked for Boeing and then joined the Air Force. He was stationed at Ellsworth AFB and received an honorable discharge as a Staff Sergeant.

James married his first wife, Charlotte and had a son, Michael while in the Air Force. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in forestry from Humboldt State University, CA. James accepted a Forestry job in Sitka, AK and taught night classes at a nearby college. He was promoted to Assistant Ranger in Seward, served two terms on the City Council, was appointed director of Youth Conservation Corps, and was also appointed by the governor for a special board coinciding with the Forest Service. James refereed basketball games while Michael played ball. James was also a member of the Seward Elks Lodge, achieving Exalted Ruler. He was deputized following federal law enforcement training in Guantanamo Bay before divorcing Charlotte.

James later married his second wife, Janet and had a son, Brian. James accepted a promotion and moved Janet and both boys to Oregon where James worked for the Mt. Hood National Forest. After 5yrs of marriage, James and Janet divorced.

James met the love of his life, Judy while working at the Barlow Ranger District, OR. They married and 4 years later bought a ranch near Dufur, OR. They had 2 children, Nichole and David, before accepting another promotional job as District Ranger for the Sioux Ranger District in Camp Crook, SD.

James discovered an open uranium waste site during his first tour of the Sioux Ranger District and pushed to clean it up. This would be settled after 20 years of court battles and uncover 12 other waste sites across the US. James worked hard to create a good rapport with the local ranchers and established a working relationship that had not previously existed. James also pioneered a volunteer fire training program that was ultimately expanded across the state and officially adopted by Governor Bill Janklow.

When James wasn’t working, he was fishing and golfing with his family, hunting with friends, and traveling. He was always willing to help family with projects. Family was his biggest priority.

After ten years at the Sioux Ranger District, James “retired” to a ranch outside of Nisland, SD in 1999. He spent his days puttering around the farm, harvesting the hay crop and raising livestock just like he did in his youth. James was very supportive of his children and their extracurricular activities including 4H, FFA, and all sports.

James was so proud of all his children and their accomplishments. He loved having his entire family together and sharing stories. He enjoyed spending time with his two youngest grandsons and seeing pictures of the grandkids and great grandkids that didn’t live nearby.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Duane; and newborn daughter, Michelle.

He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Judy; four children: Michael (Nina), Brian, Nichole (Jason) Dubbs, David; grandsons: Derek (Sarah), Zachary, Cole, Joshua, Jace; great grandkids: Alexander, and Emmalyn.

Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, March 14, 2024, at Kinkade Funeral Chapel in Sturgis, SD. Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 15, 2024, at Nisland Independent Community Church in Nisland, SD, with an interment at 3:00 p.m. with military honors at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis, SD.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.kinkadefunerals.com<http://www.kinkadefunerals.com/>.

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