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Gordon R. Vercoe Jr

Gordon R. Vercoe Jr

Gordon R. Vercoe Jr

- December 15, 2020

Gordon R. Vercoe Jr, 84, resident of Spearfish, South Dakota and former resident of Ishpeming, Michigan, passed away on November 30, 2020, in Yuma, Arizona, his winter home, after a brief hard-fought battle with Covid-19.

He was born in Ishpeming on May 18, 1936 to Gordon and Bertha (Vertanen) Vercoe, growing up in Gwinn and Ishpeming (North Lake) Michigan.

After high school he joined the U.S. Navy (1954-1958) and was a torpedo man stationed aboard one of two battleships (the U.S.S. Hank) in the Korean Conflict.  He married Nancy H. Ruohomaki in 1959 and had four children: Tamara, Gordon, Cherie and Derrick.  They were married for over forty-five years.

During his lifetime, he enjoyed camping with his family, along with family travels and spending time at the lake. His hobbies included walks in the woods, hunting, fishing, riding motorcycles, and singing in the choir.

Gordon enjoyed conversation with people wherever he went in his day to day life and was always 'on the go'.  Everyone who knew him will remember his natural friendliness, conversation, humor, good work ethic and kindness to others. Taking new shoes off of his feet and giving them to a veteran while serving at a Mission in Arizona, was only one of his good deeds. He was the first to help out whenever a helping hand was needed.

He was employed by the Soo Line and Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad (LS&I), transferring iron ore out of Upper Michigan. He left railroad employment to spend more time with his kids.

He retired from K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base, (SAC)(civilian) after 35 years.  He was a Boiler Plant specialist in charge of operations until the Air Base closed in 1995. 

In 1995 he and Nancy started enjoying retirement; traveling, spending time with family and friends, living in Yuma during winter months, and Ishpeming during the summer.  Nancy died in 2004.

He was a member of Hope Free Lutheran Church (Ishpeming) and Immanuel Lutheran Church (Whitewood, SD). 

He married Carol E. Hunt on July 10, 2005, in Vale, SD.  He and Carol were married for fifteen years and enjoyed traveling and volunteering: VFW, CMA (Christian Motorcyle Association), Sturgis Bike Rally, and many hours at the Senior Center in Spearfish.  They were very involved with choir and singing for different events in the community, along with special occasions and for nursing home residents. He had an amazing natural tenor voice. They were involved in several activities at their park in Yuma, and in the communities in which they lived.

Gordon is survived by his wife Carol, Spearfish, SD; his children: Gordon Vercoe, III (Carla) Haymarket, VA, Tamara Rader, Wausau, WI, and Cherie (Gordon) Garewal, Descanso, CA; his sister Janet Helsius of Trout Creek MI; his step-children: Dianne Hunt (Palmdale, CA), and Donovan (Brenda) Hunt, (Newell, SD); many grandchildren and great grandchildren; numerous cousins; and several nieces and nephews. 

He was preceded in death by his mother, father, wife Nancy, son Derrick, son-in-law Bill Rader and step-daughter Deborah Turner.

A memorial service will be held at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Whitewood, South Dakota on Sunday, December 20, 2020, at 2 PM (MT), with Pastor David Baer officiating. The family asks that you please wear a mask.

The service will be live streamed. Click on the red link at the church website, immanuellutheranchurchwhitewoodsd.com.

A recording of the live stream will be remain available at that same link after service.

Services will be held at a later date at Hope Free Lutheran Church in Ishpeming with Pastor Jeffery Helsius officiating. 

Inurnment will take place in the Ishpeming Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, Memorials may be made to Spearfish Senior Center, 1306 N. 10th Street, Spearfish, SD  57783.

Gordan's obituary may also be viewed at bjorkandzhulkie.com where friends and relatives may leave

Phone number: 605-347-4455
E-mail: [email protected]
Address: 1612 Junction Avenue, Suite #1
Sturgis, SD 57785