Gary Tang Obituary (1941 – 2021) – Salt Lake City, UT


Gary Tang

August 29, 1941 – September 21, 2021

Salt Lake City, Utah — 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 a eternal peace on September 29. He died at the George E. Wahlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where he spent much of his life volunteering. Gary was 80 years old. His legacy is carried on by his son Curtis Ward, his beloved grandchildren, Sean, Danielle, Tommy, Demi, and countless numbers of Utah veterans and community residents. On August 29, 1941, Gary was born in Humbolt County, Minnesota, to Ruth and Lars Tang. Gary quickly moved to a place he has always held close to his heart, Winnemucca, Nevada. Gary, his parents, and his only brother, Doug, later returned to Humbolt County, Minnesota, where he graduated from Humboldt County High School. He then attended the University of Minnesota and enlisted in the United States Army in 1962. Excelling in flight and ranger schools, Gary served in Germany as a paratrooper during the Vietnam War until 1967. After resigning, he moved to his permanent home, Salt Lake City. , Utah, to help care for her mother, Ruth. Gary got a job as a loan officer at a local bank just as Visa was being implemented. There, he just met a young and resilient Marilyn Millet. Impressed with her tenacity and vision, when Marilyn failed to secure a loan, Gary loaned Marilyn enough of her personal funds to pursue her dream of opening one of the first women-owned businesses in the world. Utah. Looking back, we realize it wasn’t outside of Gary’s character, as he has performed similar great acts of kindness and thoughtfulness throughout his life. Gary and Marilyn fell in love and married in 1970. Together, alongside his stepson, Curtis, they fought tooth and nail to make sure their business, Certified Handling Systems, would set the odds and succeed. * Their business is still due and operates as a family business almost 55 years later. Gary has 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, unexpected comedian, football fan and artist, sharing his love for the arts with his wife, mother and grandchildren. To Gary, it didn’t matter if you needed a helping hand with a move, fundraising, donation, school fees, a car, a job, a place to sleep, or just some honest advice; Gary stood up. His help often came with a small price of “hard 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, honor what is due, and lend a hand when you can.


Published by The Salt Lake Tribune October 5-10, 2021.

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