NATHAN LEE CLARY was born January 11, 1949 in Le Mars, IA to Bertha and Earl Clary. He was raised on his family’s acreage near Hudson, SD.
From the time he could walk, Nathan loved to be outside. He spent his childhood helping on the farm and hunting, fishing, trapping and exploring on and around the Big Sioux and Rock Rivers, near his home.
He graduated from Hudson High School in 1968. He settled in Hudson, where he started a family and worked in the area as a machinist. He also worked later as a carpenter and a smelter.
Nathan moved to Sioux Falls in 1995. In September of 1997 he began working as a machinist at Graco in Sioux Falls. That year he also formally established his own business, Clary’s Custom Comps, which he operated out of his garage. He married Paula Tenney on December 3, 1997 at the home of Paula’s sister and brother-in-law, Lisa and Todd Peterson, in New Hope, Minnesota.
In 2000, Nathan and Paula moved to Flandreau, SD. He continued to work at Graco and to build his business. In 2009 Nathan and Paula opened Clary’s Custom Comps and Gunworks in downtown Flandreau. Nathan spent most of his free time at his shop, where he continually expanded the custom gunsmithing services he offered. Over the years he built a large and loyal customer base which extended to many areas of the country. He was known for the precision, creativity, and excellence of his work. In 2014 he retired from Graco to run CC&G full-time, which he did until his accident.
Nathan was an avid hunter and fisherman. He hunted in several states and most enjoyed these trips when he could go with family and friends. He taught Paula to fish, and they enjoyed years of fishing together on area lakes in both summer and winter. He was a master trap shooter, having belonged to the Moody County Sportsman’s’ Club for many years.
Nathan’s other interest was motorcycling. He loved to ride and began attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in the early 1990’s. Paula joined him in 1996 and together they attended the rally annually through 2016.
On June 23, 2018 Nathan was involved in a devastating motorcycle accident which left him with serious physical injuries and a traumatic brain injury. With Paula at his side, he spent the next 15 months in 7 different hospitals, rehab units and nursing care facilities, fighting for the goal of returning home. This goal was finally achieved on September 26, 2019 when Nathan came home to their house in Pipestone, MN, where Paula had moved them the prior November.
Nathan died peacefully in his sleep at home, with Paula at his side, on Sunday, January 26, 2020.
Survivors honored to have shared his life include his adoring wife, Paula Clary of Pipestone, MN; daughter, Kimberly Clary; sons, Matthew (Kyle) Clary, and Patrick (Rhiannon) Clary and their children, Nathan’s cherished grandchildren, Zoe and Jude Clary, all of Sioux Falls; sister-in-law and brother-in-law Lisa and Todd Peterson of New Hope, MN and their children, niece and goddaughter Rachael Peterson of Green Bay, WI and nephew and godson Jacob Peterson of Eau Claire, WI; as well as many extended family and dear friends.
Nathan was preceded in death by a baby daughter, Dawn; his parents, Bertha Clary and Earl Clary; and his mother-in-law, Carol Tenney.