(July 19, 1938 -December 13, 2020)
Gathern Dale Elliott of Stephenville, Texas passed away December 13, 2020 at the age of 82. He died at home, surrounded by family, after a long battle with dementia.
Gathern was born July 19, 1938 in Gorman, Texas to Floyed Monroe Elliott and Elizabeth Agnes Gorden Elliott. He grew up as an only child on a farm in Comanche and began working odd jobs such as shoe shining at the age of twelve to help support his family.
Gathern graduated from Comanche High School in 1956. He moved to Stephenville that fall to attend Tarleton State College and met Stephenville High School freshman Sandra Price. Though Sandra tried to resist his charms, Gathern proved too persistent. The pair married June 3, 1960.
Over the years, Gathern and Sandra raised three children together. By day Gathern worked as a grocery store butcher, and by night he often hauled hay to make ends meet. No stranger to hard work, Gathern returned to Tarleton when it grew from a junior college to a senior college to complete his degree. By attending classes during his lunch break and late at night he was able to graduate with a bachelor of science degree in 1971. After sacrificing twenty-three years and several fingertips to his career as a butcher, Gathern traded in his apron for a John Deere tractor. He spent the next thirty-two years in hay fields all over Erath county as a custom hay farmer, where he was often joined by his family.
Gathern was a math whiz, a lover of checkers and fast cars, and a roller skating aficionado. He never lost a game of dominoes, despite his sons-in-law’s best efforts. As a church deacon and Sunday School teacher he connected with the youth through Sunday night volleyball games and softball leagues, and inspired them by living a life worth emulating. He struck up conversations with every stranger he met and was always ready to provide them advice, a warm meal, or a place to sleep on his couch. When he heard about a struggling Navajo community in Arizona without electricity or running water he packed a trailer full of supplies, including the wood stove from his daughter’s house, and delivered it to the reservation, then turned around and did it again. And as the chief of the Huckabay Volunteer Fire Department for several years, he spent many holidays and sleepless nights protecting the homes of his neighbors from raging fires. He loved to take his grandkids fishing or attend their various sports games, and in later years he loved nothing more than playing peek-a-boo with his great-grandkids. Of all of his many accomplishments, he was most proud of his family.
Gathern is survived by his wife of sixty years, Sandra, and their children, Cathy Tucker and husband Jim, Rhonda Powers and husband Jerry, and Craig Elliott and wife Helen. He is also survived by five grandchildren, Alan Powers and Christi Miller, Tiffany Jones and husband Matt, Ashley Ladd and husband AJ, Megan Day and husband Brannon, and Addison Bailey and husband Kevin, as well as step-grandson Derek Price, and three great-grandchildren, Easton Jones, Charlie Ann Jones, and Archer Day.
Gathern will be remembered in a private service for immediate family members, with burial at Oakdale Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Shriner’s Hospitals for Children, or the charity of your choice.