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William D. "Bud" Gross


1925 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
William D. "Bud" Gross Obituary
William D. "Bud" Gross

William D. "Bud" Gross, 91, of Huron, S.D., died in the same way he lived his life: tough, determined and soldiering to the end. After three years of battling cancer, Bud gave up the last round on Wednesday, August 17, 2016, surrounded by his loving and heartbroken family. Known for his true cowboy grit and work ethic, Bud was defined by the love of his family, the sacred soil of South Dakota and whatever dog or horse was lucky enough to call him master.

Born on March 26, 1925, to William and Oma (Davis) Gross in Hitchcock, S.D., Bud was raised on the family homestead near Burdette where he learned to shoot pheasants by the age of 5 and catch crawdads in the creek. He developed his hard working spirit by helping his father farm while attending Burdette Country School, Redfield High School and playing baseball for the Burdette Bums. In 1943, at the age of 18, he joined the United States Navy, and served in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. In 1945, he returned to the farm, honorable discharge in hand, and resumed farming. With a love of dancing acquired during his Navy days, Bud soon met the prettiest girl in Hand County at a dance and they married on June 22, 1948, in Faulkton, S.D. Rita Gross (Tiernan) and Bud celebrated their 68th anniversary this past June. Their union produced seven children, 16 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren.

In 1962, Bud was recruited from the Redfield Stockyards to join Bales Continental Commission Company, a then state-of-the-art livestock sale barn in Huron. This move was to define the rest of his career as a cattle buyer, ring man extraordinaire and a mentor and leader to generations of young men brave enough and tough enough to work the sorting alley with him, on or off horseback. A life-long cowboy, Bud broke horses and was a successful rodeo bronc-rider and team roper. When he wasn't working, he taught all of his daughters and sons to ride. Bud traveled the region, often flying himself in a Piper Cub, making cattle deals. He was known to say "I'm not in the cattle business — I'm in the people business." That sentiment served him well, creating lifelong friends, especially from the Hutterite Colony and Cheyenne River Reservation, both of which he cherished. Later, Bud joined Magness Livestock and provided leadership to the Gettysburg and Faulkton auction houses as well. For the past 15 years, Bud took pristine care of River Bend, a quarter section of property north of Huron, proudly creating a lawn rivaling many a golf course, along with alfalfa, corn, switch grass and tree strips for habitat to encourage bountiful deer and pheasants.

An avid hunter and fisherman, from Alaska to Lake Byron and everywhere in between, Bud never missed a season. In later years, Bud and his good friend Cal Nowell fished nearly every day, with a fish fry a nightly treat. The annual pheasant opener was a day to remember. When Bud gave the "safety speech," one could hear a pin drop. He took his hunting, hunter safety and his conservationism seriously. Legend has it that Bud could shoot a rooster through the eye with his father's old 410 shotgun. During deer season, Bud and Rita enjoyed spirited competition over who could bag the first deer.

A life-long "foodie," Bud honed his cooking skills first at his mother's side and later in the Navy. When he wasn't out in the yards, he was known to take over the kitchen of the Chuck Wagon Café, which prepared him to become the primary chef at home, much to Rita's delight. Friends and family gathered around the table on Sundays to enjoy his roasted meats, mashed potatoes and gravy, which he regarded as essential to a perfect meal. Bud loved to can, including pickles, tomatoes, salsa, jam and corn. Good food was always on his mind and he shared it abundantly.

Bud is survived by his wife, Rita; his five daughters, Cindy Sescher of Omaha, Neb., Sally (Russ) Trier of Kulpsville, Pa., Mary Langbehn of Sturgis, S.D., Michelle (Paul) Lavallee of Sioux Falls and Huron, S.D., and Sheila (Gordon) Wollman of Huron; and his two sons, Dan Gross of Aransas Pass, Texas, and John Gross of Huron. He is also survived by 16 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by brothers, Charlie and Jake; sisters, Violet and Lucille; as well as his parents.

All are invited to a celebration of his life which will be held from 7 to 9:00 p.m., on Friday, August 19, at River Bend, 40216 207th St, Huron, S.D. Viewing will be held for two hours beginning at 9 a.m. prior to a funeral mass at 11 a.m., Saturday, August 20 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Huron. Military rites to be conducted by the Huron Veterans Council. All are invited to a luncheon in the church hall, immediately following the service. Interment will be at the Burdette Cemetery, Burdette, S.D. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Kuhler Funeral Home. kuhlerfuneralhome.com
Published in The Argus Leader on Aug. 19, 2016
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