Gary Michael Choate died in his home in Burns on April 17.

Gary was born Oct. 6, 1953 in Burns to Tom and Ima (Howell) Choate. He was the fourth of five children. He attended school in Burns and graduated from Burns Union High School in 1971. Gary was well liked and popular with the ladies.

He had a love for games and was known for his skill in strategic games like chess. Billiards and cards were some of his personal favorites.

In 1973 Gary was seriously injured in a logging accident when he was struck in the head by loading tongs while working for the Larry Lowery Logging Operation on Corral Creek north of Burns. Gary was the first person in Burns to be transported by helicopter. He spent many months in a coma and when he came out he had to relearn how to do almost everything. He learned to count again by playing cribbage.

On Dec. 29, 1979 Gary married Judith Newton. They were married for 30 years and remained close friends until his death.

Gary was especially loved by his nieces and nephews because of his youthful nature and playfulness, which he had before and after his accident.

Gary had a special dog named Smokey. The two of them could often be found driving through town and around in the forest. He also had some cats that he loved very much.

Gary enjoyed playing cards — cribbage and Texas Hold ‘em to name a few. He was also a fierce pool player despite the loss of use of his left arm. He was very proud to have his own pool table and encouraged his friends and family to come by and play. Gary also had a love for old muscle cars and dragsters. He would attend car shows and drag races whenever possible.

Gary was preceded in death by his father, John T. Choate.

He is survived by his mother, Ima Choate of Hines; brothers, Tom Choate and wife Barbara and Gordon Choate, all of Hines, and Jerry Choate and wife Katherine of Sidney, Mont.; sister, Sharyn Ochoa and husband Phil of Moorpark, Calif.; ex-wife and close friend, Judy Choate of Burns; and many nieces and nephews.

A graveside service was held April 27 at the Burns Cemetery.


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