Friends Of The Little Bighorn Battlefield

The Next Generation In The Study Of Custer's Last Stand

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Neil Mangum Remembers Gary Gilbert

Former Superintendent Neil Mangum Remembers Gary Gilbert

I'm still in a state of shock. My thoughts go out to Joy. She and Gary made a wonderful couple. Good people with kind hearts. Loved the battlefield. I consider it an honor to have known them and worked with them.

While at Little Bighorn, I looked forward each June to Gary and Joy coming out to the battlefield. They were exceptional volunteers, and would do anything for the park.

Gary and I on many a morning would catch a ride to Reno-Benteen and then jog back to the Stone House. It was a ritual repeated each year. We would talk about an assortment of topics. Obviously on many a morning run, the Battle of Little Bighorn would creep into and dominate the conversation. Gary was a serious student of the battle, yet his demeanor was such that he didn't feel the need to prove to anyone his knowledge of the battle. He had a grasp of the battle as good as any person I have ever known.

I thought so much of Gary and Joy. They worked on many projects while volunteers at the battlefield. I know that they worked on archeological surveys for Doug Scott. Gary and Joy took on the mammoth undertaking of surveying the Custer Battlefield National Cemetery records.

I thought so much of them that when I transferred to Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona I contacted them about working at Fort Bowie, a unit of Chiricahua. They came out to Arizona and helped with many activities at Bowie.

I can't say enough about Gary. He was kind, quiet, considerate, and willing to take on any project. You could not have asked for a better friend. A humble individual, he possessed qualities that made you feel at ease when around him. He was neither loud or bombastic. As a park supporter, he was rock solid. You just can't replace men like Gary. His passing is sad and I can only imagine how much pain Joy must be experiencing. The two were inseparable.

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