Memory of U.S. Army Specialist Fifth Class
Gareth John “Gary” Deal was born March 4, 1937, to John
and Erma (Martin) Deal. He had two brothers, Norman and
Keith. Later, his father passed away and his mother
remarried to J. Lester Johnson, who was Gareth’s
step-father. Gareth was raised in Wagner, South Dakota,
where he graduated from high school in 1955. Three years
later, on August 20, 1958, he was married to Clarice Crisman
and the two had a son, Gareth, Jr. For eight and a half
years, Gareth ran a shoe store in Lake Andes while also
being a member of the 137th Engineer Battalion of the South
Dakota National Guard.
Gareth John Deal enlisted in the U.S. Army on September
3, 1964. Prior to Gareth’s enlistment, his brother, Keith,
had died in an explosion and fire at Nellis Air Force Base
in 1952 during the Korean War. Gareth went overseas to
Vietnam in October of 1965. While in Vietnam, Specialist
Deal suffered a heart attack and returned on leave to the
United States on September 17, 1966, at Fort Riley, Kansas.
Once in the United States, Specialist Gareth Deal
suffered another heart attack on September 24, 1966. He
passed away several weeks later on October 17, 1966, In a
telegram to his wife, the Commanding Officer reported that
Deal had died, “as a result of a massive coronary
Specialist Deal was buried with military honors at the
Wagner Community Cemetery. He left behind his mother, Erma,
and his step-father, J. Lester, his brother, Norman, and his
wife and child, Clarice and Gareth, Jr.
Gareth John Deal joined his brother, Keith Deal, in
making the ultimate sacrifice in service to his country.
This entry was respectfully submitted by April G.
Goodson, 10th Grade, Spearfish High School, Spearfish, South
Dakota, October 7, 2005. Information for this entry was
provided by the Wagner Post and the Vietnam Veterans
Memorial Fund. Profile approved by Norman Deal.