Garry C. Switzer was born Oct. 24, 1932, in Greenvale Township, Dakota County, Minn., to William and Esther (Jacobson) Switzer. In 1939, his parents purchased what became Switzers Nursery & Landscaping near Castle Rock. Garry attended District 54 Country School, was baptized and confirmed at McKinley Chapel Methodist Church (now Castle Rock UMC) and graduated from Farmington High School in 1950. After high school, he continued to assist with the family business and in the fall, enrolled in the University of Minnesota School of Agriculture Horticulture Program. In Feb. 1953, he was drafted into the US Army. Following his honorable discharge in Feb. 1955, he returned to the family business and also worked various jobs. He married Annette K. Zeeff on Nov. 27, 1959, at Fairview Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich. After marriage, he continued his studies at Michigan State University where he received his Landscape Architecture degree. Upon graduation he took a job with the National Park Service and they moved to San Francisco. In 1964, they moved to Boulder City, Nev., where he was assigned to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. In 1969, they returned to Northfield and in 1970, purchased and took over the operation of the family business. Together they operated the business until his health failed in 2005.
Garry was a member of the Northfield United Methodist Church. He was a former member of Faith United Methodist Church in Farmington where he was very active over the years. He was a member, past president and Melvin Jones Fellow of the Farmington Lions Club, a member and past commander (2000-01) of the Northfield American Legion, a member of the Dakota County Agricultural Society Board of Director for 28 years, a member of the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association, a charter member of the Riverbend Auto Club, a former member of the Dakota County VoTech Landscape Advisory Board, a former Jaycee, and a member of the AGR Social Professional Fraternity, as well as being involved with Boy Scouts, 4-H, FFA, and high school sports and events with his children.
Garry was kind and thoughtful. He loved the Christmas season and he enjoyed talking to and listening to people. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and brother, and he will be greatly missed.
Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Anne; three children, Carole Hlavay of Farmington, James and wife Vickie of Northfield, Glenn and wife Michelle Millenacker of Dundas; one granddaughter, Tami; two brothers, John and wife Joyce of Apache Junction, Ariz., Dale and wife Marilyn of Farmington; his sister, Joan and husband Norman Torbenson of Northfield; nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Garry passed away Wednesday evening, Dec. 2, 2009, at Three Links Care Center, at the age of 77.
Services will be held 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, at the United Methodist Church in Northfield with Rev. Marty Raths officiating, followed by military honors and refreshments. Music will be provided by Donna Paulsen and Wendy Smith. Interment was in Greenvale Cemetery, Castle Rock. Visitation will be from 3-6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, at the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home. Visitation will be at the church on Sunday one hour prior to the service.
Memorials are preferred to the Garry Switzer Memorial Fund.
Arrangements are with the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home.