Damon Lynn Gannett, 72, beloved husband, father, grandfather and Griz fan, passed away peacefully on Oct. 2, 2019, after a herculean three-and-a-half-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Damon was surrounded by his wife of over 50 years, all living children and his sister when he calmly and graciously drew his last breath, leaving a void that will not soon be filled.
Damon was born to Will and Patricia Gannett in Amarillo, Texas, on April 29, 1947. As military brats, the Gannett family moved constantly. In the summer of 1961, the family moved to Missoula, where Will would serve as the Air Force ROTC Commander at the University of Montana. Damon would fondly recall when he learned of the new assignment, he immediately assumed he’d be “riding to school on a horse, picking arrows out of the saddle bag, and sleeping in an igloo.” Unbeknownst to him at the time, the state of Montana would become the cornerstone on which he would build a legacy of faith, family and public service.
Damon graduated from Missoula County High School in 1965 and continued his academic pursuit at the University of Montana, where he studied business. In the fall of his senior year, Damon changed the course of human history — at least in terms of population contribution — by asking an 18-year-old Billings-gal on a date. By August of 1969, Damon and Carol were married, which Damon would surely regard as his greatest achievement in life. Through 50-plus years of marriage, Damon and Carol conquered law school, an Air Force stint of their own, and created perhaps the greatest family (at least in this author’s opinion) to ever walk the earth.
And then there’s Jude. In 2014, this family endured great, great sorrow. From that sorrow, we found Jude. Jude, at age 5, was without his mother and in need of a home. Damon and Carol provided that home without hesitation. Five years later, Jude is thriving. The night before he passed, Damon was most animated when Jude arrived in the hospital room, hugging him tightly and scratching his back. From great sorrow came Great, Great Love. Damon’s leadership and quiet dignity will be sorely and profoundly missed by his family.
Damon was known for his artisan blend of intellect, wit, charm, humanity and grace. Giving a voice to the voiceless, Damon spent his professional career tirelessly advocating for the most disenfranchised among us: children. Stifling the chaos, Damon quietly guided his wife, six children and 11 grandchildren through the trials of their human experiences. Damon Gannett was an exceptional human being: he was honest, he was kind, and he put the needs of others before his own for the entirety of his time on earth.
Damon is preceded in death by his parents, Will Gannett and Patricia Taber; stepfather Dick Taber; and his daughter Jessica Gannett. Damon is survived by his loving wife, partner, and “Sweetie” Carol; daughters Amy Bergen and Lindsey (Nick) Bouchard; sons Tyler (Kari) Gannett, Tobin (Holly) Gannett and Tucker (Kristin) Gannett; and siblings Mark, Rebecca and Robin Gannett. Damon is also survived by 11 grandchildren, Lainey, Natalie, Lola, Stella, Auggie, Ella, Jude, Anna, Oren, Henry and Finn. These 11 young people will miss their “Grampy” dearly.
A celebration of Damon’s life will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, Oct. 7, at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church at 2055 Woody Drive, Billings.
In lieu of flowers, please direct any financial contributions to CASA of Yellowstone County, the Family Tree Center, or any charity that might aid the Grizzlies in beating the Bobcats this November, because we all know he’ll be watching.