Gary Tang (our "Papa Tang") joined his beloved granddaughter Jessica Ward and the love of his life Marilyn Millet Tang (just two weeks to the day after her passing), in eternal peace on September 29th. He passed at the George E. Wahlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where he spent much of his life volunteering. Gary was 80 years of age. His legacy is carried on by son, Curtis Ward, adored grandchildren, Sean, Danielle, Tommy, Demi, and an immeasurable number of Utah Veterans and community residents.
On August 29th, 1941, Gary was born in Humbolt County, Minnesota, to Ruth and Lars Tang. Gary soon moved to a place that he forever held close to his heart, Winnemucca, Nevada. Later, Gary, his parents, and his only brother, Doug, moved back to Humbolt County, Minnesota, where he graduated from Humboldt County High School. He then attended the University of Minnesota and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1962. Excelling in Flight and Ranger schools, Gary served in Germany as a paratrooper during the Vietnam War through 1967. After resigning, he moved to his permanent home, Salt Lake City, Utah, to help care for his mother, Ruth. Gary secured a job as a Loan Officer at a local Bank just as Visa was being implemented. There, he just happened to meet a young, resilient Marilyn Millet.
Impressed by her tenacity and vision, when Marilyn failed to qualify for a loan, Gary loaned Marilyn enough of his own personal funds to pursue her dream of opening one of the first women-owned businesses in Utah. As we look back, we realize this was not outside of Gary's character, as he performed similar grand acts of kindness and thoughtfulness throughout his life. Gary and Marilyn fell in love and were married in 1970. Together, alongside his stepson, Curtis, they fought tooth-and-nail to ensure their company, Certified Handling Systems, would define the odds and succeed. *Their Business is still owed and operates as family-owned nearly 55 years later.
Gary enjoyed a life of fishing, golfing, traveling, dancing with his wife, chasing trains, and long road trips to visit family. He was an avid reader, an unexpecting comedian, football fan, and artist, sharing his love for the arts with his wife, mother, and grandchildren.
For Gary, it didn't matter whether you needed a hand with moving, a fundraiser, a donation, college tuition, a car, a job, somewhere to sleep, or just honest advice; Gary stood up. His assistance often came with a small price tag of 'tough love,' but it always came from a place of dedication and genuine concern for those he loved. Once he believed in something or someone, he would be there to support them wholeheartedly.
May we all learn from Gary to practice humility, be true to your word, give credit where credit is due, and lend a hand when you can.