The Bellevue Archery Club is honoring one of the founders of its organization this season.
Gary Purtilo, who passed away in August 2021, will be commended for his efforts to get the National Archery in the School (NASP) started in Bellevue.
At the Archery Club’s home tournament on Feb. 12 at Bellevue High School, the event will be named the “Gary Purtilo Memorial Tournament,” with all archers and coaches wearing shirts that read “In Memory of Gary Purtilo”.
“Over the years, with his role in archery, Gary has touched the lives of so many students and coaches involved in the program. With his passing in 2021, we decided he was all fitting to name our home tournament after him,” said Cory Bellings of Bellevue Archery Club. “We thought it was the least we could do to honor him because without Gary and Connie Purtilo, there is years ago, Bellevue Archery would not exist today.”
Gary W. Purtilo died on August 15, 2021 at the age of 77 and was a longtime Department of Natural Resources (DNR) public servant who loved the outdoors.
Gary was born on April 6, 1944 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the son of Arthur and Dorothy (Soule) Purtilo. Gary married Connie Milburn on February 14, 1965 in Honolulu, Hawaii while in service.
He also served his country in the US Marines for 4 years in the 1960s. Upon his return from service, he began his career first as a DNR Water Patrol Officer and later as a Game Warden of DNR, serving in various counties in Iowa, before taking his last posting in Bellevue and Jackson County, before retiring in 2003 after 34 years. at work.
According to Purtilo’s family, he enjoyed fishing, hunting, making bows, tying flies, camping, and canoeing. He loved being in nature and on the water in general.
In addition to starting the Bellevue NASP chapter, he was active in the international chapter of the YHEC (Youth Hunter Education Challenge) for 21 years.
The Bellevue Schools archery program began with approximately 20 students over a decade ago, but now has over 150 young people from the public and parochial school systems participating.