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MT: Hunter drowns while trying to save dog (the dog survived)

January 11, 2010

Man drowns in Missouri saving dog

58-year-old Great Falls man drowned Sunday in the Missouri River after rescuing his beloved lab from the frigid water while bird hunting between Cascade and Ulm.

Paramedics tried to resuscitate Garry E. Wallace, but Wallace was pronounced dead on the scene shortly after noon after falling through ice on the river and slipping downstream 30 yards. "He was a rock. He was just a good person," said his wife of the 30 years, Sharyn Wallace.

According to Cascade County Sheriff David Castle, Wallace was bird hunting with a friend, Aaron Corbett, when his dog went to retrieve a bird and got stuck in the water.

Wallace climbed out on the ice to retrieve his dog, but he quickly fell into the water. Castle said Corbett tried to pull Wallace out of the water a couple of times but was unsuccessful and went to make a call for help.

Castle said deputies from his office, the county's search and rescue team, paramedics from local Quick Response Units, and the Cascade Fire Department were all on their way to the scene when Wallace slipped under water and floated downstream.

The dog known in the family as Miss Max survived.

Wallace was an investment manager at RBC Wealth Management. Between the two of them, the Wallaces had three children, though one died when she was 19.

When not golfing in the summer, Sharyn said her husband was hunting in the winter. He belonged to the local dog hunting club, so it was no surprise to her that her husband would risk his life to save his dog.

Sharyn Wallace said she met her future husband when they were both living in Harlem, where she worked as a seamstress.

"He was tall, and he bought his pants un-hemmed, and he'd bring his pants for me to hem," she said.

Sharyn Wallace said her husband and Corbett had been out hunting all weekend. They went out early Sunday morning so they could be home in time to watch the Green Bay Packers game.

"He loved hunting, and he loved his dog, and he loved his family," Sharyn Wallace said. "I you know just wasn't ready yet.".

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