Gary Mayo Sorensen, age 87, passed away peacefully on May 29, 2019, surrounded by his family at the Central Utah Veteran’s Home in Payson, Utah. Forged and refined by his experiences and resilient approach to life, Gary was an example of service, humility, happiness, kindness, and love to his family and friends. His positive example, fun-loving good nature, sense of humor and simple ways will leave a long-lasting impression on his family and friends for generations to come.
Gary was born in Manti, Utah, on October 28, 1931, to Mayo and Vera Sorensen. He spent most of his youth growing up in Manti. In his youth, he developed hands-on, mechanical and technical abilities that developed into a talent that enabled him to work hard in life.
After graduating from Manti High School in 1949, Gary joined the United States Airforce. He started in Lackland Air Force Base and then Cheyenne Air Force Base for communication training. He then served at McCord Air Force Base in Washington and the Portland Airport, working in communications. Then he served at a radar site in North Bend Oregon, and a communications center at Edwards Air Force Base in Tacoma, Washington.
While in Portland, he met Joyce Pearl Mott, and they were married March 31, 1951. His next assignment was in Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. From Mountain Home, he was assigned to Osan Air Force Base during the Korean Conflict to a communication relay center as a cryptographer and squad leader.
After his service in Korea, he was sent to Montgomery, Alabama, and then served as a Cryptographer to CINCPAC Admiral Felt in Oahu, Hawaii. On September 14, 1958, his wife Joyce passed away. At this time, because of his need to take care of his four children, he retired from the military.
While working with family in Las Vegas, San Migul, New Mexico in the sewing industry, he met Marie Leonires Aragon, and they were married October 29, 1959. Marie instantly became the mother of four children; they had three children together. Gary and Marie were dedicated partners for 58 years of marriage. After their wedding, they moved their family to El Paso, Texas, where Gary was involved in the designing and manufacturing of the Recovery Systems for the Gemini, Apollo, and Mercury Space Capsules for Northrup Corporation. These recovery systems helped astronauts such as John Glenn return after space exploration missions.
In 1963, Gary moved back to Manti, the place he loved, to work with his family. He became involved in the manufacturing of parachutes for the United States Military and all organizations requiring their use. The Sorensen’s Manufacturing Company employed hundreds of local citizens throughout its existence. He continued to be involved in the sewing industry until his retirement.
While raising his family in Manti, Gary purchased an older house and remodeled it into a home that he and his family enjoyed. Gary loved taking his wife and kids in the mountains camping, fishing, and hunting. He coached his sons in baseball, and was involved in supporting his family’s activities. He also enjoyed being active in the community, where he was a member of the Lions Club, Rotary Club, American Legion, and the Jaycees. He was always involved in community development and activities. He also served as the Manti City Fire Chief. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gary was honored to serve in the priesthood and Sunday School, as well as helping with the Manti Pageant. He also served as a missionary in the Spanish Branch in Sanpete County.
Gary’s legacy for his family to remember will be the example he showed as he served his country, lost his first wife at a young age, lost his brother to Multiple Sclerosis while helping him all he could, reared his daughter Carol Marie, who had Cerebral Palsy, and worked hard to raise a family with his wonderful wife Marie in the place he loved. He is a wonderful example of what it means to be hard-working, resilient, and industrious, as well as being fun, humble and kind.
Gary is survived by six children: Mike (Leona) Sorensen, Fairview; Leslie (Kirk) Jacobson, Payson; Steven (Anita) Sorensen, Salt Lake City; Joyce Sorensen, Manti; David (Mindy) Sorensen, Richfield; and Bob (Britnie) Sorensen, Boise, ID. He is survived by 21 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren, and 10 great-great-grandchildren. He is survived by his siblings: LaWanna (Wesley) Peterson, Hinckley; Helen (Ivan) Carbine, Provo; Jim (Dixie) Sorensen, Manti; Paul (Margaret) Sorensen, Hurricane; Carolyn (Robert) Bessey, Manti; Joan (Joe) Shand, Manti.
Gary is preceded in death by his brother, Errol Rex Sorensen: parents, Mayo and Vera Sorensen; wives, Joyce Pearl Mott and Marie Leonires Aragon; daughter, Carol Sorensen; and grandson, Dennis Sorensen.
Funeral services will be Tuesday, June 4, 2019, at 11 a.m. in the Manti Stake Center where friends may call Monday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. and Tuesday morning from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Burial will be held in the Manti City Cemetery with military honors. Funeral Directors: Magleby Mortuary, Richfield, Salina and Manti. Online guestbook at www.maglebymortuary.com
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Central Utah Veterans Home: Bennion Veterans Home (Gary Sorensen), 1551 North Main, Payson, UT 84651 or calling: 801-465-5400