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Scott M. Gress

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Scott M. Gress, 61, of Thorp, passed away at his home on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 after a two-plus year battle with esophageal cancer. Due to current restrictions, a celebration of life will be held at a later date. He will be laid to rest next to his daughter Cody at the High Valley Cemetery in Ellensburg.

Scott was born on May 5, 1959 in Dickinson, North Dakota, the oldest of five children born to Melvin & Joyce (Neidhardt) Gress. He grew up in Richardton, North Dakota, and graduated high school there in 1977. Following high school, Scott enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served for three years before being honorably discharged in 1980.

Following his discharge from the USMC, Scott attended Bismarck Junior College where he earned an associate degree in Farm and Ranch Management, before going on to attend National College on a rodeo scholarship in Rapid City, South Dakota, graduating with a bachelors of science degree in Applied Management in 1986. He married Sandy Stevenson on November 5, 1982 in Richardton.

Scott was a true cowboy from the time he was a small child, tormenting the many ponies his grandfather supplied he and his brothers with. He participated in all rodeo events, at both ends of the arena, in association rodeos, then high school rodeo but then specialized in bareback riding. He was the 1984 North Dakota Rodeo Association Bareback Champion and filled his PRCA permit that year. In 1985, he was the NIRA National Bareback Champion. Scott and Sandy moved to Phoenix following his graduation from college and he worked as a brick and block mason when he wasn’t on the rodeo trail. An injury in 1990 forced Scott’s retirement from the PRCA rodeo circuit and he and Sandy then moved to Ellensburg where Scott went to work for the Washington Central Railroad as a conductor, then an engineer. He also had a concrete/masonry business during that time. In 1994, he accepted a cowboy job, which led to moving to the Thorp area in 1998 where he leased the cattle ground at Springwood Ranch, which he continued to do until his death.

Scott was known as a progressive, forward-thinking cattle manager, always looking for opportunities to learn, expand, and improve, with a work ethic legendary to the Kittitas Valley and surrounding areas. He was a master at stockmanship, (cattle, horses, dogs), and a quiet and patient mentor and leader for many young cowboys in the northwest. He was an alumnus of Ranching for Profit and it’s Executive Link and a member of the Washington Cattlemen’s Association. His family was named the Kittitas County Cattle Family of the year in 2009.

Scott never turned down an invitation to a branding, partly because he loved to rope, but also because he would drop anything to help a friend. He was also a talented golfer, a skilled water skier, and avid hunter. He cherished time spent with his family, especially his rambunctious grandsons, who he was mentoring in all ways cowboy.

Scott is survived by his wife Sandy; daughter Hailey and her husband Brent Haberman of Ellensburg and grandsons Knox, Henry and McCoy Haberman; brothers Cary (Jolene) Gress, Dale Gress and Lynn (Lisa) Gress and sister Faye (Scott) Bergan, all of North Dakota; parents Melvin and Joyce Gress as well as many dear friends and extended family. He was preceded in death by his daughter Cody Lynne Gress in 2004.

Memorial contributions in Scott’s honor are suggested to the Working Ranch Cowboys Foundation, the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, or the Washington Cattlemen’s Association.

Steward & Williams Funeral Home and Crematory of Ellensburg has been entrusted with caring for Scott’s family. Online condolences may be left at www.steward-williams.com

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