On the 50th anniversary of his death, Gary Stacey’s family will be honoring his memory with a memorial highway dedication ceremony and signage in Taney County.
On March 20, 1970, Stacey was killed in hostile action in the province of Thua Thien, Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
On Friday, March 20, 2020, Joe Stacey will honor his brother’s memory with an official unveiling of two armed forces memorial highway dedication signs that will be placed on either side of Ridgedale Road.
“Gary was my brother. He enjoyed life. He was happy and always had a grin on his face. Always. Everybody knew him. Those that did know him, liked him or loved him,” said Joe Stacey. “He spent his life and grew up in Ridgedale, Missouri.
“He went to Hollister, Missouri School.”
Joe Stacey shared that at the age of 20, his brother was drafted into the Vietnam War in 1969, and on March 20, 1970, he was killed in action.
“We all missed him. I loved him, and he loved us,” said Stacey.
“I’m so happy to get done what we’re getting done for him and the other solider boys that’s done their duty, the girls that’s done theirs and even like the fallen Marines. Any of them. Anybody that’s done service, I said this is in appreciation to them. It’s not just for my brother, but it’s for them, too.”
Working to make this highway dedication possible has been an ongoing project for a couple of years. Joe Stacey added that this wouldn’t have been possible without his wife Brenda.
“(Brenda) started on it and it took her a while. I backed her up. I didn’t know what to do, but she’s smarter than me,” Joe Stacey said with a chuckle. “It was all her.”
Brenda Stacey added that the difficult part of this project, was this was going to be the first memorial dedication of this kind done in Taney County.
“They had never had anybody in Taney County ask them to do this before,” said Brenda Stacey. “I thought of this three or four years ago, and I thought Ridgedale Road. They were born and raised there. I thought it would be an honor for his family to get this road dedicated in his honor.”
Gary Stacey began his active tour on July 21, 1969 and served with the 101st Airborne Division, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry, C Company. He held the rank of Specialist Four and was given the occupation of light weapons infantry. During his service, Gary Stacey received, or was qualified to receive, several awards, including the Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge, Marksmanship Badge, Parachutist Badge, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medial, Army Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnam Gallantry Cross and Army Good Conduct Medal, according to honorstates.org.
The Staceys both said the public is invited to attend the roadside dedication service and unveiling ceremony on Ridgedale Road on March 20 at 10:30 a.m.
“The honor guard is going to be there,” said Brenda Stacey. “We thought this would be a good time to do this. It’s the 50th anniversary of his death. It’s just an honor. I’m just so glad they let us do it.”
“Anybody that’s a service member, if they’d like to come, or just the public, they’re welcome to come,” said Joe Stacey.
Joe Stacey added that this dedication also wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of Taney County Assistant Highway Administrator Denzil Brown and Western Taney County Commissioner Brandon Williams.