Gary W. Isenberg, 71, of Brookings, passed away Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, at Sanford USD Medical Center, in Sioux Falls. A memorial visitation will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, at Rude’s Funeral Home in Brookings. The family requests that masks be worn when attending the visitation.
Gary was born on Dec. 22, 1949, in New Ulm, MN, the son of Herbert and Phyllis (Anderson) Isenberg. The family moved to Russell, MN, when Gary was an infant. He attended school at Russell Public School. Gary was in the charter class for Southwest State University in Marshall, MN before being drafted into the U.S. Army. He married his high school sweetheart, Joan Neyens, on Aug. 15, 1969. While in the army, he was trained as a pharmacy technician and stationed at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, HI. After his discharge in 1971, Gary and Joan moved to Brookings, SD, where Gary enrolled at SDSU. Gary found his second family when he began his career at Larson Manufacturing working on the line in 1972 and retiring as director of sourcing and supply in 2016.
Gary enjoyed hunting, fishing, golfing, playing cards and softball. He loved to tell stories and was quick to laugh, often to the point of tears. It wasn’t uncommon for Gary to leave the card table to compose himself after a particularly good joke. He enjoyed teasing his friends and family and never missed an opportunity to push their buttons (always in good fun). While was known to many in his younger years as “Spud,” he has most recently been known as “Grandpa Baby.”
Gary greatly enjoyed his time spent with his grandson, and loyal freeze pop co-conspirator, Henry. He was an avid SDSU fan and supporter. He always looked forward to his time spent with his best friend and kindred spirit, Tim Pederson, whether it was stopping for refreshments, checking out a broken paper towel dispenser or fishing and hunting outings. He took pride in his lawn and always had to mow one last time every season. His lawn-mowing lessons generally ended with Gary doing the whole lawn to ensure that it was done the right way. In his retirement, he enjoyed the lake or his walking rotation of area stores, where he could run into old and new friends to chat. He enjoyed people, learning who they were and keeping in touch with them,
He grew as a person under Dale Larson whom he admired and respected. He was proud of his Larson family and felt privileged to be a mentor and friend to many. Some might even say he was a legend in the manufacturing world (if you know, you know). He was generous with his knowledge and believed in developing the talents of others. He enjoyed setting up the annual Donut Booth at the Arts Festival, working at the Harvest Table, and his service to the Boys & Girls Club. Getting his 50-year American Legion pin was a great honor.
Gary fought quietly through each battle he encountered the past several years but died peacefully surrounded by family.
Gary will be truly missed by his wife, Joan Isenberg; his children, Kendra (Jeff) Jensen of Brookings, SD, Camden Isenberg of Painted Post, NY, and Sheila Michels of Webster, WI; grandchildren Henry Jensen and Zach Johnson; brothers, Lee Isenberg, Roger Isenberg, Allen (Janine) Isenberg and Kevin “Burger” Isenberg; sister Carol (Rick) Peterson; as well as many nieces, nephews and dear friends.
Gary was preceded in death by his parents, Herbert and Phyllis Isenberg.
Condolences may be sent to the family through www.rudesfuneralhome.com.