Gary R. Thune, age 77 of Fargo, ND passed away peacefully early Sunday, December 1st surrounded by family. Gary Richard Thune was born on May 18, 1942 in Williston, ND to Lawrence and Merle Thune. He married Betty Kanwischer of Harvey, ND on August 7, 1966. He received his Bachelor’s degree in education from Minot State University and a law degree from the University of North Dakota. He worked as a teacher and assistant principal before practicing law in Grand Forks, ND. He became the attorney for the North Dakota School Board Association, which led to moving his family to Bismarck in 1986. Gary served as president of the National Council of School attorneys (COSA) and received the COSA Lifetime Achievement award in April 2013. He retired from Pearce & Durick Law Firm in December 2014. Once diagnosed with Parkinson's Lewy Bodies, Gary and Betty moved to Fargo, ND to be closer to family. Gary was an active member of the community, volunteering many hours to church and several civic boards. He was an exceptional public speaker and enjoyed the many opportunities to share his expertise in school law. Gary was a dedicated attorney who thoroughly enjoyed his profession, yet always made time for his family. He was an incredible husband, father and grandpa. He always made his family a priority, never missing an activity in which they were involved. An avid golfer, living on the golf course at Apple Creek satisfied his love of golf and family. Playing in the annual Big Apple tournament and any special occasion that had his family all together at “the resort” brought him great joy. He will be remembered for his honesty, integrity, extraordinary generosity, quick wit and his gift with words. Many will miss his annual Christmas forced rhyme. Gary is survived by: His wife of 53 years, Betty of Fargo, ND; Children, Chris (Karla) Thune of London, UK; Jill (Scott) George of Sartell, MN; Heidi (Eric) Wieland of Fargo, ND; Sister, Lois (Earl) Rennerfeldt of Williston, ND; Brother, John (Vicki) of Albany, OR; 10 grandchildren; nieces and nephews and many beloved friends. He was preceded in death by his parents Merle and Lawrence; grandson, Chance Thune; father-in-law, Norman Kanwischer; mother-in-law, Mavis Kanwischer and brother-in-law, Norm Kanwischer. A prayer service will be held on Thursday, December 5, 2019 at 7PM at the Boulger Funeral Home in Fargo, ND. During this service there will be a time where family and friends are welcome to share stories or memories of Gary. A Memorial Service will be held in the chapel at Boulger Funeral Home on Friday, December 6, 2019 at 10AM The family would like to thank the staff at Edgewood, Hospice of the RRV and especially Eventide for the loving care they provided. Memorials preferred to, Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation-Life Skills Center. PO Box 1696, Bismarck, ND 58502.

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  1. My heart is with your family at this time. As a public school administrator, Gary was well known and appreciated by me and by other state and local school colleagues. He demonstrated the heart of a lion in defending the rights of both the employer and the employee. His honest and colorful teaching opportunities – providing many school personnel with the information and insight needed to be a better leader – was his hallmark. You have selected a perfect picture because it is that smile and twinkle of the eye that will always be his signature.

  2. I am sorrowed to hear of your loss. I always considered Gary to be both a fine attorney and a gentleman. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

    Bob Martin–Minot

  3. Condolences to Gary’s family. Gary was a brilliant attorney, exceptional public speaker, sense of humor like none other and most important, a great man. Rest in peace Gary.

  4. Gary was one of my very favorite attorneys while working at Pearce & Durick…..great man! Thoughts and prayers to his family.

  5. I had the distinct privilege of serving on the inaugural staff of Triangle Y Camp staff with Gary. He was an exemplary counselor with our youngest children. Additionally, he always volunteered to do tasks others refused to do, and was a true leader among our staff. Although I did not have an opportunity to follow his career, I did have the pleasure to renew our friendship at the 50th anniversary of the first Triangle Y staff, back in 2014. I shall always cherish my days with Gary, Betty, and Betty’s brother, Norman.

  6. Gary was such a gentlemen and a fantastic lawyer. For me, Gary distinguished himself by providing the highest quality legal service without sacrificing his wonderful character traits of kindness, humility and humor. He provided invaluable legal service to our bank. What a great example for all of us! His was a life very well lived.

  7. Betty and family,
    We are so sorry for your loss. Gary was great guy to our family. He was a great basketball coach to our daughter and friends. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
    Mary and Larry Hatzenbuhler – Bismarck

  8. Betty, Chris, Jill, Heidi and families, Pam and I are so sorry to hear of Gary’s passing. We have so many wonderful memories of our times together. Think McVey and West Halls. Tons of fun times with you guys and the Leaches. Gary impacted so many people throughout his working career. He will be missed and fondly remembered by all who were fortunate to know him. Our hearts and prayers are with all of you. Rest In Peace Gary. Pam and Bill Olson

  9. Betty and family,

    So sorry to hear of your loss. You were certainly blessed with a wonderful man in your lives.

    Thinking of you all.

  10. A wonderful guy and a wonderful attorney. Respectful to everyone, allies and opponents. A true gentleman. He will be missed. In coelo que est.

  11. What a privilege to have been a school board member, attending numerous conventions, under the leadership and guidance of Richard Ott and Gary Thune! Their expertise and knowledge equipped us and prepared us to be better board members. A man who was interested and interesting…
    May you all feel joy and peace as you celebrate a life well lived…
    With kind regards,
    Margaret Hoffmann

  12. In 1981 I had the privilege of taking Business Law from Gary at UND as part of the Accounting curriculum. While I had some great teachers, Gary was one that fell in the superb category. I still remember his passion for the subject matter and the great job he did of using examples that were relevant. I have thought of him often over the years.

    Blessings to his family and friends – thank you for sharing him with us.

    Kris Nelson
    1984 UND Accounting graduate

  13. So sorry to hear of Gary’s passing. I served with Gary on the board at Good Shepherd. I enjoyed visiting with him and getting to know him. He will be missed.

  14. So sorry to hear about Gary’s passing. I worked with Gary in the 1960’s at Triangle YMCA camp in Garrison, North Dakota. Kay and I prayers go out to Betty and his family

  15. Dear Betty,
    I am so sorry to hear of Gary’s passing. I have such good memories of him from St James. He was very kind, and fun! Thinking of you and your family.

  16. So sorry to hear about Gary. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Family. I worked with Gary on higher education and school law issues over the years and thought very highly of him.
    Rick & Virginia Johnson

  17. Betty and family-Our hearts are broken. Gary was such a good friend and neighbor. Always encouraging our kids. We have missed both of you. Prayers for you during this difficult time and in the coming days.

  18. I’m so sorry that Gary has passed. He was a great man and I was very fortunate to meet him. I always loved talking about our cases and his quick wit and humor that ALWAYS caught me off guard! He will definitely be missed.

  19. I was saddened to read of Gary’s passing in the Bismarck Tribune. During my days as office manager at Pearce & Durick Gary remained a voice of reason and sensibility when hell could break loose. He was an excellent attorney with a sharp mind, but paired that with a great sense of humor and compassion. I always enjoyed sitting across from him at his desk discussing the topics of the day. My sincere condolences to Betty and the family.

  20. I am so sorry for your loss. I was Mr. Thune’s assistant in my senior year at St. James. He would look the other way when I would come back late from lunch. I still remember his thoughtful and very cool graduation gift that was a red, stretched soda bottle made into a vase. May he rest in peace and may you be comforted by your memories of him.

  21. Had the utmost respect for Gary and the work he did on behalf of public schools in North Dakota. I had the pleasure of working with him multiple times and was always grateful for his time and advice. Rest in peace Gary.

  22. I had the wonderful pleasure of working with Gary for the first time the year that Triangle Y Camp opened in 1964, and to this day remember his big smile, his positive personality, and his giant heart.

    I am so glad that I was able to visit with him in 2014 when he and Betty were able to help celebrate the Camp’s 50th anniversary.

    What a splendid human being. Margie and i extend thoughts and prayers to all his extended family.

  23. Sorry to here about Gary. He was our attorney in many school disputes. We ever refereed together.
    He was a great person an will b missed.
    Dwane Getzlaff
    Bottineau ND

  24. I was very sorry to learn about Gary’s passing. When I practiced law in Bismarck, Gary and I were on opposite sides in a few cases, though his areas of practice differed from mine. He was always a gentleman lawyer who kept his word. He will be missed.
    Gary Wolberg
    Spearfish, SD

  25. Betty,Chris, Jill and Heidi – we were so sorry to hear about Gary passing. His presence at Apple Creek Country Club has been missed since the move to Fargo, and we have all missed the Thune duo at the Big Apple! Gary was such a kind, patient and good man. There are so many good memories that will help you all through this sad time! He’d want you to tell stories and keep smiling! Hugs to you all!

  26. Sending all of my love to you at difficult time. Uncle Gary was a one of kind human. Always kind, interested in others, so generous, and with a wonderful sense of humor. I have such warm memories from the lake and of his stories of the Kanwischer women and their super fast card playing. Sending prayers and my deepest sympathy.

  27. Dear Mrs. Thune and family,
    Thanks for sharing your husband and Dad with so many people in so many ways. When Mr. Thune came to St. James High School in Grand Forks I was a freshman and he was our football coach. He was a great coach and leader and cared about students as an administrator too. After my sophomore year when St. James closed Mr. Thune followed me to Red River High School, it made the transition so easy to have Mr. Thune in leadership there too. I remember when he went back to law school when i was in college at UND and then moved to Bishmarck. I did run into him professionally over the years but it’s been a while. The impression he made as an educator and coach and his legacy will live on in the lives of the students and many others he touched in his life. May he have eternal peace and joy.
    Fr. Tim Bushy

  28. Gary was a great teacher! I learned a lot of things that helped me as a rookie school administrator and continued through my 37 year career as a public school administrator.
    My thoughts are with you as you celebrate his life!

  29. I am so sorry to hear this. Gary was an outstanding attorney and an national leader for the Council of School Attorneys (COSA). I was privileged to serve with him on the COSA Board of Directors, where his wise counsel was always valued and almost always heeded. He was warm, gregarious, and always generous with his time, advice. He mentored many younger attorneys, always looking to bring them up the ranks, and I always looked forward to seeing him at our meetings and conventions. I will miss him.

  30. Heidi, so sorry to read of your dad’s passing. Our sympathy to you and all of your family.

  31. Betty, you most likely don’t remember us—Ivan and Gerry Lucht. We attended United Lutheran in Grand Forks with you and Gary years ago. We were so sorry to see notice of his death in the Forum. Please know that you and your family are in our prayers.

    Ivan and Gerry Lucht

  32. My condolences to the family of this good and great man. Gary was a leader who was grounded in principles, practiced with integrity, and enthusiastically shared his intelligence and expertise with others in benefiting ND education. RIP Gary.

  33. Mrs. Thune and family,
    You all are in my thoughts and prayers in Mr. “Coach” Thune’s death. He was a great football coach at St. James and a wonderful administrator there and at Red River High School. After high school we followed each other to UND, I was in under grad and he in Law School. A gentleman and scholar, a man of justice and fairness who pursued the common good of all people. May he have eternal peace and joy.
    Fr. Tim Bushy

  34. I remember Gary as a coach at Roosevelt school in Minot, ND when growing up. Dedicated educator who made an impression on me! Our sympathy!

    Dale and Teresa Olson
    West Fargo

  35. I was so sorry to hear of Gary’s passing. I had the great pleasure of working with him during my tenure as the Director, NSBA Council of School Attorneys (1984-2012). His contributions and good humor will be foundly remembered. Rest in peace.

  36. Betty and Family – We’re so sorry to hear of Gary’s passing. We, in the community of educators, will greatly miss Gary. I knew Gary as a highly effective and impressive educator, coach, administrator, leader, attorney, parent. Gary had such a commanding presence whenever he entered a room. As an administrator, I was always so grateful to have him as our advocate. When Gary spoke, we listened as he had an impressive wealth of legal knowledge, a quick wit, and was a persuasive speaker. He left his mark.

  37. Thune Family – I was so sorry to hear of Gary’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. It was my priviledge to have worked with Gary for 12 years at Pearce & Durick. There are many words that describe what an amazing man Gary was and he will be remembered by many and missed by all.

  38. I’m thinking about you and your family, Betty. I’ve certainly enjoyed watching the video here of your lives. So happy that those college friends are there with you. Bunny Varberg Solberg

  39. My thoughts and prayers have been with all of you as you mourn the passing of Gary. I knew him as a loving and caring father when Heidi was a student of mine at Ben Franklin. (student teacher with Lois Wells; music teacher) I remember him when he served as an attorney for the ND School Board Association. He was a hard worker and a man who was dedicated to what he believed in. Take care, and God bless you all!

  40. Sincere sympathies to the family of a Very good man. He was a Great school board attorney. I always enjoyed the law seminars.

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