Gary “Chief” Stapleton, 75

On the morning of February 14, 2019, Gary Stapleton, better known as “Chief”, passed away at his home in Nezperce.

Gary was born to Harold and Hilla (Rice) Stapleton on July 12, 1943, in Kellogg, Idaho. He was a graduate of Nezperce High School and the University of Idaho. He married Joyce Spickelmire in the spring of 1965, and they would later divorce. Shari was born while he was completing his senior year at U of I. After graduation, Gary, Joyce and Shari packed up and moved to Renton, Washington, where Gary started his accounting career at Boeing. Kyle was born in 1969.

In 1974, Harold retired from farming and the family moved back to Nezperce. In 1976, Gary and his brother Sherm bought Bell Motors and the name was changed to Bell Equipment. In 1978, Gordon Webster would join Gary as a partner. The two would later acquire Brown Motors in Grangeville, and spend many years building a John Deere dealership they were very proud of. Gary eventually sold his share of the business, but remained working for Bell Equipment as the CFO.

Gary married Julia Tichnell in 2005, and she survives him at the family home. Gary was John Deere through and through; besides working at Bell, he enjoyed playing softball, skiing, running score clock for Nezperce High School Athletic events, volunteering with the Nezperce Ambulance and Fire Department, and watching his family play in all kinds of activities.

He is survived by his wife Julia and her 2 children Brittney (Michael) Hale and Ryan Heideman, his daughter Shari (Dave) Kuther, and son Kyle (Marci) Stapleton. He has 7 grandchildren, Andy, Amy, Ally, Kaci, Kayla, Maddie and Hannah and 9 great grandchildren Slater, Maci, Macklin, Paityn, Gerhett, Daxton, Paisley, Emerson and Tucker.

A memorial service will be held Monday, Feb 18th at 10:30 a.m. at the Nezperce Christian Church, with burial to follow at the Nezperce Community Cemetery. A viewing is planned for Sunday afternoon from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. at Blackmer Funeral Home in Grangeville, and again Monday morning at the church from 9:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Memorials may be made to Nezperce Ambulance, PO Box 174, Nezperce, ID 83543. Blackmer Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Send condolence to the family to

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