Hugh “ Gene” Escott: 1939-2013 |

Hugh “ Gene” Escott: 1939-2013

Hugh “Gene” Escott, 74, of Faith, SD, passed away peacefully at his ranch on March 9, 2013.

Gene was born in Faith, SD, on January 4, 1939, to Hank and Mary Ellen (Heron) Escott, and came home to the dugout which they lived in until he was four. From the stories and the pictures he drew you can tell that his love for a good horse started young. His kids have heard many a story that centered on him and his brother Jerry and a horse, sometimes a good one and sometimes one that they had to break, which lead to his rodeo career. That career included bronc and bareback riding as well as being a pickup man for many rodeos.

Gene attended school at the Arrowhead country school north of Faith and once his older sister Mary Lou was in high school, he and Jerry boarded in town so they could attend school. Gene graduated from high school in 1957 and helped on the family ranch until he joined the Army in 1960. He and several others from Faith were activated during the Berlin Crisis and sent to Fort Lewis, Washington, but their unit was never shipped overseas. Gene served in the National Guard Unit #211 Engineering Company until 1966. He was always proud of serving his country.

Gene married Patty Kelly in 1964 and to this union four children were born. Gene was very active in the horse world, first in the horse show area and then helping to start the “Diamond Classic,” a race horse futurity. Gene developed quite a horse operation and put on an annual horse sale at the ranch for several years. Gene loved watching his horse and cattle genetics at work; he loved to research pedigrees and see what cross would be the most effective and he loved to teach this research to anyone that would listen. Gene was a consummate sportsman and loved watching all sporting events. He traveled many miles to watch his children and now grandchildren play basketball, football, wrestle, run track or rodeo. He loved all sporting events, but a good basketball game and a good bronc ride were his favorite things. He was a big community supporter, belonging to the Faith Booster Club for many years and helping behind the scenes with the Faith Stock Show and Rodeo every year.

Gene is survived by his children, Gnene (Clint) Fordyce, Faith, SD; Gnelle (Scott) Dauwen, Cambridge, NE; Kelly Escott (fiancé Peggy O’Sullivan) and Gzelle “Buffy” (Kevin) Groves, all of Faith, SD; and their children Garet and Jozelle (fiancé BJ Humble) Fordyce, Thane (fiancé Emily Wicks), Chance and Duce Escott, Taylor and Rayce Dauwen, and Kailyn, Hugh, Harland and Kaycee Groves and great-grandchildren, Toarin and Teedin Humble. He is also survived by his ex-wife, Patty Kelly, sister-in-law, Inez Jibben and brother-in-law, Teddy Imsland, numerous nieces, nephews and special cousins.

Gene was preceded in death by his parents, Hank and Mary Escott, two brothers Melvin Spencer and Jerry Escott, five sisters, Ella Shroeder, Ellen Bennet, Arlene Ogdahl, Jennie Butts, and Mary Lou King, sister-in-law, Violette Spencer, and brothers-in-law, Bennet Reed, George Ogdahl, Neal Crowley, Bob Butts, and Donn King.

Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday evening, March 12, at the Faith Area Memorial Chapel in Faith.

Graveside services for Gene will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, at the Escott Ranch (19884 Arrowhead Road) 12 miles north of Faith, with Duane Vig officiating. Burial will be at the Escott Family Cemetery with full military honors afforded by the Robert O’Shea American Legion Post #106 of Faith. Those attending the services will meet by 2 p.m. on the road near the Escott Ranch and follow the horse drawn hearse to the burial site for the graveside service.

Immediately following the graveside service, the Escott family has invited all for a time of fellowship and luncheon at the ranch house with special music by Butch Samuelson and Suzie Payne.

Serving as casket bearers are his grandsons.

Condolences may be sent to the family at

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