SD Vietnam War Memorial Dedication Please Support the Memorial Soldiers, Heroes, and teachers information



In Memory of U.S. Army Specialist Fifth Class

Gareth John Deal

Wagner, South Dakota, Charles Mix County

 March 4, 1937 – October 16, 1966

Non-Hostile Death from Heart Attack


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 occlusion.”

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.


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