Gary Lee Pepper Profile Photo
1946 Gary 2024

Gary Lee Pepper

April 13, 1946 — March 21, 2024

Scotland

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Gary Lee Pepper, age 77 of Scotland, passed away Thursday, March 21, 2024 at Dow Rummel Village in Sioux Falls.

Visitation will be held 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 13 at Scotland High School gymnasium, followed by a celebration of life at Pep's Pub in Kaylor. 

Funeral services are 11:30 a.m. Sunday, April 14 at Scotland School Track. Interment, with military honors, will be at St. George Catholic Cemetery, Scotland. Luncheon will be served in the school gymnasiums.

Gary Lee Pepper was born April 13th, 1946, at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio to William and Audrey (Smith) Pepper. Gary spent his early years raised on a tobacco farm on Locust Corner. As a youth, he was very involved with his church. He graduated from New Richmond High School in 1964. Gary entered the Air Force out of high school, where he was an engineer and was stationed on multiple bases including Labrador, Canada, with his final base being Pickstown, SD. There, Gary became a little league baseball coach, fell in love with SD, and enrolled in the University of South Dakota teachers’ college in Springfield. One fateful night, at a Sadie Hawkins dance at the all-girls Mount Marty College in Yankton, he met the girl who would become his wife, Lillian Agnes (Whiteing) Pepper. Lillian and Gary were united in marriage June 12th, 1971, at St. Bridget’s Cathedral in Omaha, NE. In 1972 he earned his bachelor’s degree in education from USDS, then went on to obtain his master’s degree from the University of South Dakota in 1983. While at USDS, he honed his photography skills and became the chief photographer for the yearbook. He was also the president of his senior class and competed in cross country. He was a student assistant track coach under Don Baker, his mentor, and the person who introduced him to the opportunities in Scotland, SD. Gary accepted his first and only teaching position at Scotland High School in1972 where he taught and coached for more than 40 years. 

Gary loved his hometown of Scotland. He liked to stay very active in all aspects of his life, especially in his professional career as a high school social sciences teacher and coach where he was affectionately known as “Pep.” He coached track (named SD Boy’s Coach of the Year in 2007 and was a finalist for national coach of the year that same year), cross country (named SD Girl’s Coach of the Year in 2007) and wrestling for a short time. He kept book at varsity basketball games, taught elementary school physical education, which always brought a smile to his face, was the Junior class advisor because he just couldn’t get enough of going to the prom, and was the Quiz Bowl advisor. Pep spent time as a life coach for many of his students, offering a listening ear, encouragement, and support whenever they needed it.

Outside of school, he spent many days coaching on the softball and baseball diamonds beginning with the Kaylor Kiotees. He went on to coach boys’ baseball including a state teener championship in 2000. He enjoyed many summers coaching the Scotland girls’ softball team as well. His softball career wasn’t limited to coaching. He thoroughly enjoyed taking the mound for a good slow pitch game where his children loved to watch him play and his wife prayed he wouldn’t break any more bones. Some of his other favorite summer pastimes included gardening, listening to the Cincinnati Reds AM radio station in his car in the driveway on Curry Street, and drinking a nice cold PBR. Other things that brought Gary joy included being an avid Star Trek fan, following national and local politics, listening to folk music (especially his and Lillian’s favorite group, Peter, Paul, and Mary) and being involved in the Methodist Church including Youth Group Advisor. He was also proud of the many bowling trophies he won and had displayed in his man cave.

Gary’s retirement years were filled with more coaching and sitting on the board for Scotland’s Landmann-Jungman Memorial Hospital and the USDS College Museum Board.

Gary was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s/Dementia and spent his final days in the memory care wing of Dow Rummel in Sioux Falls. He remained kindhearted and eager to help anyone in need. He also found a new habit of losing his glasses, which replaced the habit of losing Casey’s mugs throughout the high school. He was also caught practicing his running speed and form in the halls of Dow Rummel, on more than one occasion.

Memories of Gary will be cherished by his three sons, William (Karla) Pepper of Sioux Falls, SD, John Pepper of Kaylor, SD, Thomas (Audrey) Pepper of Sioux Falls, SD; his daughter, Wendy Pepper of New Ulm, MN; four grandsons, Derek Scherschligt, Xavier Pepper, Ezekiel Pepper and Finnley Pepper; brother, Dale (Star) Pepper of Cincinnati, OH; niece, Samantha Pepper of Cincinnati, OH; beloved extended family of students, athletes, coaches, colleagues, friends, and neighbors. 

Gary is preceded in death by his wife, Lillian; his parents, William and Audrey Pepper; sister-in-law, Alice and her husband Jim, as well as his sister-in-law, Virginia.


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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, April 13, 2024

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Central time)

Scotland High School gymnasium

711 4th St, Scotland, SD 57059

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Starts at 6:00 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Starts at 11:30 am (Central time)

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Burial

Sunday, April 14, 2024

St. George Catholic Cemetery

292nd ST, Scotland, SD 57059

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