OBIT: John "Johnnie" Gaking

John “Johnnie” Gaking, “Wambdi Waci” (Dance Eagle) 49 of St. Michael ND passed away on Saturday, January 16, 2021 at Altru Hospital, Grand Forks ND.

Visitation for Johnnie will be held on Thursday, January 21, 2021 at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. with a Rosary and Scripture Service at 7:00 p.m.  The procession to St. Michael will leave on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. from City Plaza, Devils Lake. Mass of Christian Burial will be on Friday, January 22, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at the church with Reverend Paul Schuster celebrating the Mass.  

Burial will be in St. Michael’s Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Troy Lovejoy, Paul M. Matheny, Benjamin “Patrick” Cavanaugh, Jason “Harv” LaRock, Audie Matthew Swiftbird, Jacob Gaking, Gerard Charlie Thompson, Leland BullHead and Rick Larson.

 Honorary Bearers will be Art Carmona and family, Billy Johnson, George “Coonz” Longie Jr., Terry Ross, Wayne “LJ” Trottier III and family, Delmer Youngbird Sr. and family, Mike Rodriguez Sr. and family, TransSystems-EGF Division, Knife River Materials-Bemidji MN Division, Spirit Lake Fire Dept., Pine Ridge Fire Dept., Kim and Daryl ThreeIrons and family, Maggie and Willard Chaske Sr. and family, Catherine Howard, Selina Horse, Eagle Thunder Drum Group, Spirit Lake Nation Drum Group, Stacey MakesGood, Germaine Thompson, Dr. Leander “Russ” McDonald, Earl BullHead and family, Merle IronHawk Sr. and family, Michael “Chaske” Thompson III, Ann Wadsworth and family, Stella Cavanaugh and family, Terry Belgarde, Dave and Debbie Cavanaugh and family, Anita Cavanaugh and family, Jay Thompson and family, Jeff and Mary DeCoteau, Sylvia and Eugene Hale, Melissa and Dusty Dauphinais and family, Perry Fassett and family, Heath Estay, Kermit and Carol WalkingEagle, Charlene WalkingEagle, Charlie Blackbird, Cody and Donna Greywater, Father Brian Moen, Tanya and R.J. Jetty, Iris WalkingEagle, Toby “TJ” and Melvine Reierson, Mardell and Joel Redfox, Kari (Nick) WalkingEagle, Greyhorn family, Matheny family, Baer family, Richotte family, Lovejoy family, Morin family, Jetty family, WalkingEagle family, Cavanaugh family, Langstaff family, and the Four Winds 1990 Classmates.  

His many friends and relatives meant the world to him and if we forgot to name anyone it was not intentional. Music will be provided by the Lake Region Singers. John C. Gaking, son of John Everette and Marie (Cavanaugh) Gaking was born on February 18, 1971 in Devils Lake.  Johnnie lived his entire life on the Spirit Lake Nation. Johnnie attended Four Winds High School where he participated in basketball and cross country.  He graduated from Four Winds with the class of 1990.   He continued his education at Cankdeska Cikana Community College received a Liberal Arts Associate Degree (graduating with honors) and later his Commercial Drivers License (CDL). He also served as an instructor in the CDL program. Johnnie worked for several trucking companies including Knife River Materials for 7 years, TransSystems-East Grand Forks Division for many years and he also worked for Spirit Lake Tribe in Water Resource.  From 1997 to 2000, Johnnie was the owner and operator of Heart Road Services.  He was a dedicated member of the Spirit Lake Fire Department for over 20 years and also served with the Pine Ridge Fire Department. Johnnie had a passion for singing his Dakota Songs.  

He was a part of the Eagle Thunder Drum Group and Spirit Lake Nation Drum Group for 20 years and they traveled throughout the United States as Ambassadors of the Spirit Lake Nation.  They were a part of all of the events of the Lake Region and traveled to Michigan and New York to perform, just to name of few. Johnnie was a passionate fan of the Seattle Seahawks and the Chicago Bulls.  In Johnnie’s mind, Michael Jordon was the greatest basketball player of all time. Johnnie married his beloved sweetheart Kristen WalkingEagle on August 6, 2005 and they lived a life of love, devotion to each other and happiness for 31 years.

Our tears flow, our hearts ache as we mourn the loss of our husband, dad, son, nephew, uncle, cousin, relative and dearest friend. Johnnie’s loving family include his wife Kristen; daughter Tiana (27) and son Johnnie Gaking IV (23); siblings Jody (Joanne) Gaking, Jerry (Lori) Gaking, Jennifer Gaking, Pam Bartlett-Hohenschelt, Peggy Cavanaugh and hunka daughter Michelle Hale; nieces and nephews Jaede Gaking, Jacob Gaking, Joseph Gaking, Daniella Saenz, Daniel Saenz Jr., Stewart Hohenschelt, Steven Hohenschelt, Leland BullHead, Amorette BullHead, Kateri BullHead and Nina BullHead; aunts Edna Matheny, Ida Mae Lovejoy and Darlene “DeeDee” Wadsworth and many cousins and relatives too numerous to mention. He was preceded in death by his parents John and Marie, son Delano Gaking, grandparents Clarence and Mabel Cavanaugh and brother Raymond Richotte.

Posted online on January 21, 2021