Cover photo for Dusty Dean Pruett's Obituary
Dusty Dean Pruett Profile Photo
1961 Dusty 2023

Dusty Dean Pruett

December 30, 1961 — May 6, 2023


The strongest and kindest man we have ever known joined his beloved Dad in Heaven on Saturday, May 6th, 2023.  Dusty spent the last 6 1/2 years of his life struggling to stay one step ahead of his dreadful cancer diagnosis.  He decided early on that he wanted to help the medical researchers learn more about his disease in the hopes that he could aid in the discovery of a cure; not for himself, but potentially for his son, nephews and grandsons.  With this in mind, he chose to endure multiple traditional and experimental treatments.  His family and friends supported him in awe as he logged countless miles between his home in Hailey and his medical home in Salt Lake City.  

Dusty was very proud to introduce himself as a native Idahoan.  He was truly one of Idaho’s rarest gems.  Steve and Portia Pruett welcomed Dusty into their lives in Twin Falls, Idaho on December 30th, 1961.  Dusty spoke fondly of his young years chasing rabbits and learning to hunt and fish with his Dad and his special dog, Frisky, in Southern Idaho. He enjoyed growing up in a large family of grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.  He particularly enjoyed large family gatherings during the  holidays at his great grandparents’ home as well as all the family reunion antics and softball games each summer in Filer, Idaho.  This love of family carried over into his married life.

In the summer of 1975, on a softball field in Hansen, Idaho, at the tender age of 13, Dusty met the girl he would eventually call his wife.  Dusty enjoyed athletics and excelled at  football, basketball and track and field events in High School.  He also rarely missed any of the Hansen  girls’ athletic events because, although he had his eyes on all the pretty girls, one always stood out and grabbed his heart.  In the summer of 1979, this special girl moved to Hailey, Idaho with her parents.  Dusty found creative ways to visit her during their last year of High School.  Dusty finished his senior year at Hansen High School while his girlfriend finished her senior year and started new adventures in the Mountains of Hailey.  During his visits to Hailey, Dusty not only continued to fall in love with his special girl, but  also found himself falling in love with the Wood River Valley.  The mountains, the river, the canyons and the quaint, quiet town spoke to him in a special way and he knew he would find a way to raise a family in this special place.

In the fall of 1981, Dusty decided that in order to start his adult life with a family of his own in Idaho, he would first need to leave Idaho.  Dusty was a proud and dedicated Airman in the United States Air Force from 1981 through 1988.  After only three months into his service, he called his girlfriend, now Fiancé, and suggested they get married as soon as possible so she could join him in this most incredible military life.  On June 20th, 1982, in Hailey, Idaho, Dusty married his best friend — Kathy Lema.  From that day until his last day Dusty and Kathy were inseparable.  They enjoyed adventure after adventure in those early years of marriage. In 1986 they welcomed their son, Matt.  Once they thought they had the hang of parenthood, D&K realized it was time to head back to Idaho so they could raise their son as Dusty had been raised, surrounded by family and all those little people they would eventually call cousins.  Before their move back to Idaho, Kathy asked Dusty where they would live.  Dusty replied, “We are going back to the scene of the crime” (where they were married). Hailey would become their forever home.  Transitioning from military life to civilian life was harder than expected and in 1988 it was tough for young families to find homes.  D&K were determined to make Hailey their home.  In the first years back in Hailey, Dusty worked 3 jobs  at once.  He worked in the parts department at the former Sun Valley Motors in Ketchum. He also helped out at a local ranch in Deer Creek and in his first winter back in Idaho he worked with a local snow removal company, plowing snow in Ketchum in the middle of the night.  During weekend snow storms he would get up early and buckle 2 1/2 year old Matt into his car seat and off they would go with a bag of Cheerios to plow snow.  Matt loved going with Dad.  Dusty explained to him that he needed to work so he could buy him a house with a back yard to play in.   When Matt was 4, because of his Dad’s hard work, he had his first backyard.  Shortly after moving into their first home D&K welcomed their baby girl, Katie.  Within seconds of her arrival, Katie became her daddy’s cherished gift.  Over the next 20 years D&K would settle into raising their two children in the best home town ever.  Dusty moved from Sun Valley Motors to Idaho Lumber in Hailey in early 1990.  He would become the “Go To Guy” of Idaho Lumber for over 14 years.  When True Value Hardware introduced their Just Ask Rental department, Dusty relished in building this new department of Idaho Lumber.  Many people in town joked that it was actually “Just Ask Dusty”.  Dusty loved his job and all the clients and customers that would frequent Idaho Lumber and Just Ask Rental.  Matt and Katie would take turns hanging out with Dad on the weekends at Idaho Lumber, then finish their work day with a treat at Snow Bunny.  As his kids got older and became more active with athletic activities that required travel outside of Hailey, Dusty realized that he could not devote 5-6 days a week to a retail store and also see the kick off of his son’s football games, or the first 2 games of his daughter’s softball tournaments.  In 2004, Dusty embarked on a deep rooted dream to build and own his own business.  This decision fulfilled a life goal while also allowing him to spend more time with his busy kids.  Dusty enjoyed his time as a volunteer tee ball coach, football coach, and football referee. As his disease began to slow him down, he was able to have the best seats in town at the local high school football games as a member of the chain gang crew. Dusty was never happier than when he was sitting on a bleacher cheering and coaching his kids from the stands of a track meet, football game, volleyball game, basketball game, hockey rink or softball field.  He loved dragging the kids behind the boat at Anderson Ranch, Petit and Red Fish - He wore out two suburbans chasing his kids from one end of the state to the other.  Dusty and Kathy had just dusted off their observation chairs and snack bags last year as they began the ritual of watching their grandchildren begin tee ball, soccer and swim lessons.  Dusty would just grin and laugh when the littles would yell at him …. “Look at me Bop”. They had know idea he never took his eyes off of them.  Dusty was a very social and service oriented man.  D&K spent many years doing volunteer work for the American Red Cross, Hailey Rotary, Blaine County Recreation and Blaine County School District.  He also loved the Christmas Season when he would channel his inner Santa and become one of Santa’s Helpers.  He loved calling out the kids’ names as they approached him and watching the surprised looks as the genuine wonder crossed their faces wondering if this was a Santa’s helper or the “Real Santa”.  

Five short months ago, Dusty put on his red suit one last time as Santa’s helper.  It took all his strength to visit 4 homes and 9 very good little boys and girls on Christmas Eve.  He had to take a break after the second home as his body was exhausted.  Kathy, his consummate caregiver, was concerned that it was too much.  Dusty insisted on continuing. He HAD to make more memories for his grandchildren.  

As too many know, a life lived with cancer steals your future dreams.  Your life becomes consumed with appointments, labs, scans, tests, treatments, pharmacies, and emergency visits just for the hope of having more time to make those memories, or to squeeze in one of those bucket list trips with your best friend.

Dusty selflessly gave up the chance to cross off many of his own bucket list dreams; instead he opted to make as many memories as he could with his cherished grandchildren.  His last years with cancer were devoted to being the best Bopa ever. His heart was warmed and his pain was eased every time one of his Grandchildren would run full speed to him, give him a big hug and yell “I LOVE YOU BOP!”   This, we are convinced, was his true medicine.  Bop taught his four littles all things important in life; how to fish, how to swing a bat, how to watch a football game on TV, how to respect a body of water and enjoy a carefree boat ride, catch a minnow in a net, do a cannon ball into a lake, play corn hole, pick up a worm, hike a mountain, cook a marshmallow, chase a squirrel, love a dog, and always say please and thank you to Nana for making breakfast, lunch, dinner and lots of snacks during sleepovers.  Cooper, JP, Rainna and Waylon were his whole world and the only reason he agreed to the torture of his treatments the last six months.  If you knew Dusty and want to give Dusty a gift, please hold a special memory close and as these four little people continue to grow up in this small town … take the time, days into the future, to remind them that you knew their Bop and you have a special memory about him to tell them.  

Dusty will be laid to eternal rest in the Hailey Cemetery at a location chosen by young JP & Kathy.   His Military Service will be honored  as well as his life well lived and cut short because of his selfless act to help find a cure for future generations. Dusty and Kathy were active members of the Hailey Rotary Club for many years.  The Rotary motto is “Service above Self”.  Dusty, with his never-ending smile, big bear hugs and desire to always jump in to help a friend or a stranger (that would become a friend), embodied this motto.  



I know you are free of pain and finally at peace, reunited with your beloved Dad.  Those of us that will miss you greatly include your mom, Portia and step-dad Nick; sisters, Kerie, Renee & Wendy; brother Blaine; hand-picked brother and sister-in-love, Kevin & Annie, dad and mom-in- love, Fred & Rochelle; brother-in-love, Steve; as well as many, many, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and endless friends.

You have left behind your greatest joys with broken hearts, but with a piece of your soul embedded in each of them: son Matt, with Kristy, Cooper & JP; daughter Katie, with Nicholas & Waylon; bonus son Steven with Samantha & Rainna.

Lastly, as I begin each day without you by my side, I will recite to myself … Give us this day….. these words remind me of the 48 years of days that we were given together and that each day forward without you by my side will be lived “this” day at a time.  

Thank you for picking me, you were my Best Friend and the best Husband a girl could ever have.   As you did for me, I will love and honor you through my last breath - Kathy 


Many have asked how they can honor Dusty

Dusty appreciated the work of local organizations and provided volunteer services for the Local Chapter of Higher Ground based in Ketchum, Idaho in its early days.

Higher Ground combines outdoor recreation with trauma-informed care to help Veterans improve their quality of life through adventure, support and belonging. 

To learn more about Higher Ground - 

please check out their Website at 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dusty Dean Pruett, please visit our flower store.
Service folder 6.pdf

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Friday, May 26, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood

100 Saddle Rd, Ketchum, ID 83340

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