Barry Wayne Vig, age 67, was born in Rapid City on January 23, 1950, the oldest of eight children, to A.Wayne and Carole (Weiss) Vig. Home was on the ranch 30 miles southwest of Faith near Opal. Barry attended grade school at the Lemmon Butte School and the Opal School. He graduated from Newell High School in 1968. He then attended South Dakota State University and graduated with a degree in Animal Science in 1973. He also worked at the sale barn in Brookings while in college.
Barry completed the ROTC program at SDSU and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 1973. He attended Summer Camp at Ft. Lewis, WA, in the summer of 1972 and Officer Basic Training at Ft. Benning, GA, in the fall of 1973. He spent eight years in the Army Reserve and was discharged as a First Lieutenant in 1981.
Barry married Cheryl Hight from Murdo in 1973. They were blessed with four children: Georgia, Justin, Marti Jo, and Ryan. The kids all played a very important part in the family ranch operation by helping with the work.
Barry and Cheryl came home to the ranch in 1973. In 1975, they moved to Murdo and worked for Cheryl’s parents for a year. They came home to the ranch again for a time, then in 1981, they moved to the Bob Talley place. In 1986, they moved back to the ranch. It was always very special to Barry that he was home again where he grew up and that part of his ranch was once owned by his Grandpa Weiss and the other part, by his Great Uncle Jim Vig.
The Vigs introduced Limousin genetics into their cattle herd in 1970 and have been raising registered Limousin and commercial cattle ever since. Barry always enjoyed those long-time relationships that he and his parents had with other Limousin breeders from across the state. Barry went to an A-I school in the late 60’s, and for many years, helped his parents with their A-I program, using what he learned and always learning more. For quite a few years, Barry played a major part in putting on his family’s annual bull sales and, then later, their private treaty sales. And for a long time, he preg tested all his own cows, plus some for the neighbors also. His desire was to improve his own cattle herd and help his kids get started in ranching. Barry always felt blessed that he was able to work with his sons on the ranch and would be very happy to see them as they carry on. Barry truly enjoyed ranching and raising good cattle.
Barry has always had a special interest in water and has always done a lot of work to improve the water system on whatever piece of ground he owned. He also enjoyed talking to his neighbors and learning more about how they did water systems on their ranches. Barry always said that one of the best sights ever was a tank full of water out in the middle of the prairie.
Barry did not buy a class ring, but put that money towards flying lessons instead. He learned to fly while in college and has always had a plane around to check cattle, both at home and in pastures away from home. He always appreciated being able to just walk out of the house, get in his plane, and look around a little bit. Through the years, Barry has flown cowboys to rodeos, has done some mercy flights, has flown the family to many family events, school events, and livestock events, and has flown to Bible Camp many times. And he loved flying to visit his kids back when they were living in Tennessee, Arkansas, Utah, and Iowa. He’s said many times, “I never fly for pleasure, but it’s always a pleasure to fly.”
In the last few years, Barry was seldom seen without his loyal cowdog, “Hoots,” by his side, whether on a 4-wheeler, in the pickup, tractor, or airplane, or working cattle. He really liked watching her work. Barry took her to Bible Camp, which the kids at camp absolutely loved. She was also a favorite greeter of the After-School Bible Hour kids on Wednesdays, which Barry was a big part.
Barry’s spiritual life was the most important thing of all to him. He was baptized into Christ in 1973 and had devoted his life to living for Jesus. He always got up early in the morning and studied his Bible, taught Bible classes for many years, preached a few sermons, and spent many hours talking “Bible” with his Christian brothers, which he loved to do. He even hosted some early-morning Bible studies out in his hangar for a time. Barry was an active member of the Church of Christ and has served as an elder for his church family for over 20 years. He would want to be known not as a “Christian rancher" but rather as a “ranching Christian.”
Barry always said, “We’re just passing through.” Barry died in an airplane accident on his ranch on Thursday, March 16, 2017, doing what he loved to do, with his cowdog right beside him.
Preceding Barry in death are his parents, Wayne in 2002, and Carole in 1980; sisters, Susan Vig in 1968, Lorie Parker in 1995, and Mona Reichert in 2015.
Survivors include his wife, Cheryl of Opal; children, Georgia and her husband, Steve Dale, of Rapid City, Justin and his wife, Mellissa, of Opal, Marti Jo and her husband, Bucky Derflinger of Opal, and Ryan of Opal; grandchildren, Joe Dale, Jeremy Dale, Jami Derflinger, Blake Vig, and Skylar Vig; brothers, Marty Vig of Opal, Andrew (Jacquee) Vig of Rapid City, and Morris Vig of Rapid City; sister, Lisa Loveridge of Box Elder; brother-in-law, Dan (Vanessa) Hight of White River; along with many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Memorials have been established to the Dakota Christian Bible Camp and the Opal Fire Department.
Funeral services were held Monday, March 27, 2017, at 1:30 p.m. at the Faith Community Center. Burial followed at the Opal Cemetery.