Returning to his native roots this weekend, from his home in California, offers a two-fold purpose for Raymond “Kelly” Gysler.
Having graduated from Williston High School in 1960, the son of Ed and Arlene Gysler will be in town for a book signing along with the spreading of his mother’s ashes.
The book signing is set from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 29, being hosted by Chuck Wilder and staff at Books on Broadway.
We learned the book is titled Freeman Yellowbird and is centered in the Medora area of North Dakota and eastern Montana.
This captivating book deals with the mysterious disappearance of Native Indian women.
When asked how he became interested in this subject he said, “I checked in on the Herald on Facebook and saw where Senator Heidi Heitkamp had sponsored a bill on missing Indian women.”
Thus his research began and the wheels began turning, leading to the publication of the book.
Now you will have a first-hand opportunity to meet and learn more from the author.
The spreading of ashes for his mother is planned earlier in the day on Saturday.
Arlene passed away in December and her ashes will come to rest at her family farm near Avoca, located east of Williston.
This gathering will draw a number of family members from different parts of the country, along with local relatives, to be a part of the service.
A varied career
Now is a perfect time to tell you more about the author.
Following graduation from WHS, it was off to Arizona to attend Phoenix University for Kelly.
There he was pursuing biochemistry, while telling us the science classes he had taken in Williston were a full year ahead of what they were offering at the college level in Phoenix.
It was then off to Fullerton, California, where he opted to pursue a radio/television broadcasting career.
He noted, “like an idiot,” that he had turned down an appointment to the U.S. Air Force Academy.
But next came a notice from the draft board, leading him to quickly enlist in the U.S. Navy at the age of 20.
Joins the Army
That led him to state, “I would rather float then walk,” as his reasoning to join the Navy.
While assigned to Navy Boot Camp in San Diego, that camp was closed off due to a medical emergency, meaning he ended up across the way at a Navy Seals Boot Camp instead.
Kelly spent time aboard ship, completing his Navy career as a radio operator.
Meanwhile, he has since retired from a medical career in the Riverside, California area, working as a Clinical Coordinator for 24 clinics and a hospital.
He also worked as a Nuclear Medicine on-site trainer for King Medical University.
While Kelly has logged an interesting career, his wife Nancy (Bearce), who grew up in the Fort Buford area, has had a few adventures of her own to reminisce about.
You see, she is a retired National Certified Trauma Nurse, spending her time flying to rescue operations in helicopters.
Patriotism runs deep in this family, as three of the four Gysler children served, or are serving, in the military.
If you think Kelly and Nancy had exciting careers, wait till you read about the children.
BRIARLY (Wilson): Serving in the U.S. Air Force, Briarly is presently seeing duty in Germany, while holding the rank of Senior Chief Master Sergeant.
RAYMOND III: After a career that included nine years in the U.S. Navy as a rescue swimmer, rappelling instructor, door gunner and crew chief, Raymond continues to work with veterans.
He is now a Nurse Practitioner and runs his own medical clinic for the Veterans Administration, caring for veterans.
HEIDI (Ordonez): After three years as a combat field U.S. Army Medic with the 82nd Airborne, Heidi then entered the U.S. Air Force reserve.
She now works as a nurse at the VA Hospital in Redlands, California.
HEATHER (Dailey): These days Heather works as a middle school physical education instructor. For her this is a much slower pace after working as a physical trainer for the Los Angeles Angels baseball team.
It should be noted Heidi and Raymond arrived as a set of twins.
All of the children reside fairly close to the family, giving Nancy and Kelly easy access to 13 grandchildren.
Garden Club tour
We now turn your attention to the local front and ask you to mark down or enter in your phone the date of July 13.
On that day the 26th annual Garden Tour, sponsored by the CHI St. Alexius Hospital Auxiliary, will be held beginning at 9 a.m.
The tour kicks off with a continental breakfast served at First Lutheran Church at 910 Main St. in Williston.
You will learn more, but for now mark the date.
But we should also tell you that tour tickets are $15 each and available at the Hospital Gift Shop, Auxiliary members or at the event on July 13.
This is a fantastic event, with the proceeds this year going to the purchase of a zoom cart for the hospital.
A. Kvamme is a former resident and long time sports editor and columnist for the Herald. He can be reached at email@example.com.