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Gary L. Day

Gary L. Day, 62, passed away due to a massive heart attack Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013.

He was born Jan. 3, 1951, in Park Rapids, to Alva Pearl Knowles Day and Leslie John Day. Gary graduated from Menahga High School and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1974 from Moorhead State College.

He earned a Masters of Science degree in wildlife biology from the University of Montana School of Forestry and in 1981 a juris doctorate degree from the University of Montana School of Law.

Gary served as a Montana district court judge for the Sixteenth Judicial District from 1997 to the date of his death. Prior to serving as a judge, he joined the law firm of Lucas and Monaghan in Miles City, Mont., from 1981-1997.

He also served as president of the Southeastern Montana Bar Association from 1981-1988, as trustee of the State Bar of Montana from 1987-1997 and as president of the State Bar of Montana from 1995-1996. He served on numerous Montana Supreme Court commissions, including the Judicial Standards Commission. He had just begun serving as treasurer of the Montana Judges Association.

The greatest joy in Gary's life were his three children, Justin, Catharine and Cole and his grandson William McIntosh Houstoun. He had a new grandson born the day he died, Carter Houstoun. He would have given anything to hold that little guy in his arms. The love of his life was his wife, Jo Ridgeway. Gary and Jo had a special closeness and enjoyed their days together in the field hunting birds behind their German Shorthaired Pointers, running Ridgeday Kennels of Montana, riding road bikes, reading, traveling in their EarthRoamer to field trials with their dogs and to Arizona to hunt quail. Life without you, my dear strong man, will never be the same. We love you and we cannot believe you have left us.

Gary touched many lives during his time on Earth. He had a keen sense of humor, a zest for living large, an immense strength of character and body, boundless kindness and a striking intellect. He had an intense interest in wildlife biology, hunting dogs, philosophy, history, sports, and the wellness of our Earth. Those who appeared in his court found a compassionate individual who cared about justice and who believed justice delayed is justice denied; therefore, he was prepared before entering the courtroom and most often ruled from the bench.

Gary was preceded in death by his father, Leslie John Day; and son, Cole John Mickelson.

He is survived by his wife, Mary Jo Ridgeway of Miles City, Mont.; mother, Alva Day, of Park Rapids; son, Justin John-Allen Day of Denver, Colo.; daughter, Catharine Day Houstoun (Justin), of Scottsbluff, Neb.; grandsons, William and Carter Houstoun; sisters, Sandra Etter (Robert) of Side Lake and Susie Renner (Jim) of Molalla, Ore.; nephews Terry Etter (Peggy), Jason Etter (Camille), Carson and Eric Renner; and many friends and colleagues around the state.

Celebration of Gary's life: was held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, at the Grace Bible Church with a reception following at the Miles City Town and Country Club.

Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home of Miles City is in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting:

Should friends desire, memorials, may be made to Montana Mental Health Settlement Trust, 2601 Broadway, Helena, MT 59601 or to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), 616 Helena Ave. Suite 218, Helena, MT 59601.