Gary A. Rusch, 68

Gary Allen Rusch, age 68, of Darwin, died Monday, March 27, 2017, at the St. Cloud Hospital.

His funeral service will take place Monday, April 3 at 1:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Litchfield with the Rev. Jay Panning officiating. Interment will be at All Saint’s Lutheran Cemetery in Darwin following the service.

There will be visitation one hour prior to the service at the church.

The Johnson Funeral Home in Dassel is handling the funeral arrangements.

Gary was born Aug. 22, 1948, in Hutchinson, the son of Ludwig and Frieda (Schlueter). The family made their home in the Hutchinson area, and Gary was baptized at Peace Lutheran Church in Hutchinson.

In the spring of 1950, Gary’s folks purchased a farm in Darwin Township. Gary attended grade school at District 15, and graduated from the Litchfield High School in 1966. Gary then attended Willmar Junior College for two years.

Gary was confirmed at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, where he was a member all his life.

He had been a youth member of the Busy Bees 4-H Club, and had been active in FFA, where he was on the general livestock, agronomy, and soil judging teams.

Gary enjoyed trapping, hunting and fishing. He was a past member of the Minnesota Trappers Association, and a charter member of the Central Minnesota Fur Takers of America, where he held the office of president and treasurer. During the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, he spent time testifying against leg hold traps and often anti-trapping bills at the Minnesota State Capitol.

A lifetime member of the Darwin Rod & Gun Club, Gary had served as director for over 20 years, and took charge of the kitchen for many smelt and steak fries.

Gary always said he did just about any job, except he never detasseled corn. He started his own wholesale bait business in 1971. After his father died in 1995, it got to be too much, with the 50 head of dairy cattle and his own 100 head of beef cows. The bait business was first to go in 1998. In 2002, he sold the last of the beef cows; and in 2003, he finally sold the dairy herd.

Gary enjoyed cooking, and he and his mother did a lot of catering, for the 3-M Christmas Crew parties, graduation parties, and wedding receptions. Around the time of the US Bicentennial, he got into roasting whole hogs or green hams for private parties.

Gary is survived by his son, Matthew (Sarah) Michels of Shoreview; two granddaughters, Gillian Michels and Phoebe Michels; nieces Scarlet Rusch and Lorien Rusch; nephew Austin Rusch; many cousins, aunts, and uncles; and many lifelong friends, hunting and fishing buddies, and people he worked with and who worked for him.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Ludwig and Frieda; a brother, Lorence; and a sister, Debra Rusch.

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