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Siblings remember Gary Ott as man of adventure, love, integrity

SALT LAKE CITY — When Gary Ott used to be in his overdue teenage years, he used to be identified as the fellow who constructed the quickest automotive in Cedar City.

His older brother, Marty Ott, jokes that he “still wakes up at night screaming” from a time when he used to be within the passenger seat when Gary, riding that automotive, became the nook out of their community and floored the fuel pedal.

“That genuinely terrified me,” he mentioned with fun. “And I’m sure Gary, God bless his soul, is still laughing about it.”

His more youthful dual sisters, Kathy Chamberlain and Kris Williams, remember even later in lifestyles, when Gary would come down from Salt Lake City for circle of relatives reunions in southern Utah, they might see who may power the space between Tropic and Cannonville the quickest.

Gary Ott, riding a yellow Honda, would in most cases win.

Williams mentioned she “can nonetheless listen’ her brother’s infectious giggle.

Siblings remember Gary Ott as man of adventure, love, integrity

Gary Ott at age 13.
(Kathy Chamberlain)

“You couldn’t be around him without him making you laugh,” she mentioned. “I don’t remember Gary ever having a bad attitude. He was a happy person. He made people happy.”

He used to be a “magnet” for kids and canine — which used to be most probably telling of his “good character,” his brother mentioned.

He cherished canine, large and small. He had a greyhound named Jake and a Jack Russell terrier named Sam, amongst many others.

While Gary Ott married two times, he by no means had children — however his “animals were his children,” Chamberlain mentioned.

This is who Gary Ott used to be to his circle of relatives — and it is how they would like him to be remembered, slightly than the turmoil on the finish of his lifestyles as he battled with Alzheimer’s illness, a struggle he in the end succumbed to on Oct. 19 on the age of 66.

Ott’s well being struggles made lots of headlines over the last yr, however his brother and sisters don’t need Utahns to remember him as the previous Salt Lake County recorder who used to be on the middle of controversy.

“We want to remember him as a kind, loving, loyal man of integrity,” Chamberlain mentioned. “That’s who Gary was.”

Ott’s siblings, in preparation for his funeral on Saturday in Cannonville, Garfield County, mirrored on their brother’s lifestyles this week and shared their fondest recollections with the Deseret News.

Family lifestyles

Gary Ott used to be born in Panguitch on April 11, 1951, to McCune Charter Ott and Mary Fae Ott. As a kid, he and his siblings lived in a wide range of puts, together with Colorado, Texas, Nevada and Utah as they adopted their father’s paintings with the National Park Service.

When sifting via his assets in preparation for his funeral, Ott’s sisters discovered a field of 12 arrowheads he had accrued close to Dinosaur National Monument when he used to be eight years outdated.

“We couldn’t believe he kept it for so many years,” Williams mentioned.

Siblings remember Gary Ott as man of adventure, love, integrity

A set of arrowheads Gary Ott’s sisters lately discovered whilst going via his assets in his Salt Lake City house. They imagine he accrued the arrowheads close to Dinosaur National Monument when he used to be eight years outdated.
(Kathy Chamberlain)

Ott’s siblings mentioned their brother’s style for journey caught with him via his lifestyles, from rapid vehicles to the outside. But he additionally had a love for circle of relatives — a bond that grew robust out of tragedy on the early age of 14.

That used to be when their father died too quickly — on the age of 45 — of a middle assault, Chamberlain mentioned, leaving in the back of his 4 youngsters and their mom.

At the time, Marty Ott used to be on his approach to faculty, so Gary changed into the man of the home.

“He had a lot of responsibility at home. … It was a responsibility he didn’t begrudge at all,” Williams mentioned, including that her brother “always had a job” to lend a hand, from turning in papers to operating on the native theater.

Likely as a result of of that accountability, Chamberlain mentioned he had a distinct bond with their mom.

“We knew that he was always her favorite, and we all knew that,” Chamberlain laughed. “There was something about Gary she felt extra tender about.”

After their father’s dying, Gary Ott “brought excitement into our lives with his personality and crazy adventures,” Williams mentioned. “He offered that to us at a time when we, two little girls, needed it most.”

“Gary truly was a father figure to us,” she mentioned. “He stood in as our father at both of our weddings.”

The sisters recalled a time when Ott, a youngster on the time, had positioned a sparsely wrapped provide underneath the Christmas tree.

“We knew a present under the tree was something to be excited about,” Williams mentioned, so she and her sister have been too nervous to attend till Christmas Day. They sneaked the existing out from underneath the tree and unwrapped it — “shocked” to look he had purchased them hair curlers, an “unreal” reward on the time as a result of curlers have been simply changing into standard.

“But what we didn’t know how to do is wrap that present back up very good,” Williams mentioned, so when her brother got here house he used to be “furious his surprise had been discovered,” and he threatened to go back them.

But that Christmas, the twins were given their curlers.

Ott used to be a “sensitive” brother and son, Williams mentioned, including that he would additionally paintings onerous to shop for particular gifts for his or her mom.

“He was just a thoughtful, caring person from the time he was little,” she mentioned.

When their mom died in 2010 — additionally of Alzheimer’s — it used to be “very, very hard” on all of her youngsters, Chamberlain mentioned, however it hit him specifically onerous. Even extra tragic, Ott would die of the similar illness simply seven years later.

The siblings plan to bury their brother in Tropic, subsequent to his parents.

‘Heart and soul’

From his time within the Army, to his later professions in images and politics, the whole thing Ott did he did it with “heart and soul,” Marty Ott mentioned.

“He made stuff look easy, which was a great annoyance to me,” he quipped.

“Truly everything Gary had an interest in, he conquered,” Williams added.

After Ott graduated from highschool in Cedar City, he instantly enlisted with the Utah National Guard and later the Army the place he served in Germany till 1976. He used to be “proud” of his time within the army, Williams mentioned.

Eventually, Ott would attend Utah State University, the place he graduated with some extent in images and artwork. Seeking paintings, he then moved to Salt Lake City, the place he owned and operated a photograph processing lab, however later tailored when virtual generation rendered movie much less of a trade.

He went on to guide a number of photograph safaris in Africa, and labored in promoting and different jobs earlier than he discovered paintings within the Salt Lake County Recorder’s Office. There, he would in the end be appointed as recorder in 2001, a place he would stay for 16 years.

During his time in place of job, Ott used to be received a couple of awards — together with the 2014 Best of State Elected Official Award. He used to be identified for decreasing the place of job’s funds and for being the primary to digitize report retaining.

“He loved what he was able to do in the office,” Chamberlain mentioned. “He shook things up, saved the county a lot of money … but I think what he also liked was the camaraderie. He became such close friends with everybody in that circle — they were his family.”

Williams mentioned her brother merely cherished politics and campaigning. He noticed it as a “challenge” he by no means were given bored of. Up till his 2014 marketing campaign, his siblings mentioned they helped him all through each marketing campaign season.

“To be a part of that — to stand on the corner and hold the sign for Gray Ott was pretty thrilling, and he was so touched his family wanted to be a part of it,” Chamberlain mentioned. “It was a great experience to be a part of his political life. To say, ‘Gary Ott’s my brother,’ … it was a proud time for us, too.”

Reflecting on his brother’s lifestyles, Marty Ott mentioned if Gary have been nonetheless alive, he’d urge other people to “enjoy all of the good things in life,” and “don’t spend one second worrying” concerning the finish.

To Chamberlain, her brother’s luck in lifestyles most probably got here from his upbeat angle — depicted via one thing he would at all times say to her once they would communicate at the telephone each day.

“I would ask, ‘How’s your day, Gary?” she recalled, choking again tears. “And always he would say, ‘I’m the only one that can decide what kind of a day I’m going to have.’”

That’s a lesson she mentioned she’ll by no means put out of your mind from her brother.

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