After a short and courageous battle with cancer and with his family by his side, Gary Edward Luckow, age 79, of Crookston, left this earth to be with his heavenly father on May 21, 2020.
Gary was born in Crookston on April 21, 1941, the son of Edward and Genevieve (Whitney) Luckow. He attended Crookston Central High school, graduating in 1959. He enrolled at the University of ND in Grand Forks for a time, where he met his future bride, Carol Jean Fitzsimonds. Gary and Carol, also known as Jean, were united in marriage on November 26, 1960 at McCabe Methodist Church in Bismarck, ND. They made Crookston MN their home and Gary joined his father and 2 uncles in farming. After a few years of dabbling in the farm industry, Gary decided to strike out on his own, becoming a potato and sunflower farmer. His innovative ways brought the first irrigation system to the area. He also grew potatoes for Simplot and established his own brand which he named Top Tato. Gary was not only a grower, but a broker as well, shipping his produce all over the United States. His farm was highlighted in several farm journals including ‘Potato Grower’. It was through one of these articles that a farmer from Washington Island, MI became familiar with Gary’s innovative ways of growing sunflowers and traveled to the area to meet Gary and gain his first-hand knowledge. Gary would later develop a natural food line, known as Au Natural Great Foods, striking a relationship with an offshore company in Korea.
Sailing was one of Gary’s passions which started in high school when he designed and built his first sailboat. After becoming empty nesters he and Jean bought several sailboats. One was christened “Whisper” and another “You Gotta Wanna” as they sailed these boats on Lake of the Woods. Being the dreamer that he was, Gary purchased his bigger and final sailboat, “Shadow Fax” in the late 90’s from Florida. His excitement was contagious when watching him arrange to get the sailboat up here, then moving it to its final destination at Kenora, Ontario, Canada. Both Gary and Jean enjoyed spending as much time as they could sailing the great waters of Lake of the Woods and finding adventures in its many back bays and islands.
Gary’s kids and grandkids would best describe him as a loving grandfather, and the most amazing father any kid could ask for. They knew him as an innovator of many things often way before their time, an entrepreneur, and a visionary. He was insightful, adventurous, had a persona bigger than life itself, was a great conversationalist and always had a contagious smile. He had a deep and abiding faith and placed his trust in Jesus to guide his life’s path. Gary was dealt many difficult circumstances throughout his adult years, including a stroke when he was 67. His life was a true testament to remaining strong in your faith and not giving up through the tough times. After his stroke he was told he would never walk again, but true to his spirit, he proved everyone wrong. Gary will always be remembered for his steadfastness and perseverance. May God bless the memory of Gary Edward Luckow.
Gary is lovingly survived by Jean, his wife and closest friend of nearly 60 years; their 6 beautiful children: LeAnn DeBoer, Greg Luckow (Tina Cameron), Jennifer Peterson-Ross (Jay), Chris Luckow (Julia Toso), Daniel Luckow (Jessica), and Emily Luckow; 25 grandchildren; 21 great grandchildren; siblings, Richard Luckow (Bobbi) of Fisher, MN and Karen Eisert (Mike) of Burnsville, MN. He was preceded in death by his parents.
The public graveside service for Gary Luckow will be held at 12 Noon, Friday, May 29, 2020, at the Oakdale Cemetery in Crookston. Visitation at the cemetery will be for one hour prior to the service.
Online registry: www.stenshoelhouske.com