Marvin Clair Tangren
Born: 3/14/1924, Imbler, Oregon
Marvin Clair Tangren was born March 14, 1924 in Imbler, Oregon, to Lucian Randolph Tangren and Ethelinda Henrie Tangren. Clair was the fourth in a family of seven boys and three girls. He was a twin, but his brother was stillborn. Clair lived on the Tangren homestead, Rattlesnake Ranch, in LaSal, Utah until he was seven years old, and then the family moved to Moab.
As a boy, he ice skated in the sloughs on his wooden skates, and he shared a bicycle with his younger brother, Hugh. Each evening, Clair and Hugh walked from their home at the end of Walnut Lane, to the sloughs, to find their milk cow, which grazed in there during the day. Clair was raised during the Great Depression. This had a lifelong effect on him, of frugality and never discarding anything. His sister Marie reported that Clair had been the kid who always had a pencil you could borrow. Clair began first grade in the basement of the old LDS Church, which is now the Moab Arts and Recreation Center. He graduated from Grand County High in 1942. He worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the National Youth Administration (NYA) program, where he learned arc welding.
World War II was on, and Clair went to Oakland, California and got a job welding victory ships. He was drafted into the Army in June, 1943. He was a Pvt. 1st Class; his job was medical technician in the 202nd General Hospital Unit, stationed in Paris. After Victory-in-Europe Day, Clair was transferred back to England and took an acetylene welding class. He was honorably discharged from the Army in March, 1946. When Clair got back to Utah, he used the GI Bill to take an auto-body class for vets, at West High School in Salt Lake. He completed his training “on the job” at Moab’s Rim Rock Garage. He married Miss Gayle Loveridge, of Moab on July 24, 1948 in Gallup, New Mexico. To this union were born five children: Denise, Monette, Kay Clair (Kayc), Russell, and Brent. The couple divorced in 1982. Clair and Gayle lived in SLC and Provo for the first three years of their marriage, then, missing Moab, they returned. Clair always wanted to have his own business. So he rented a garage and opened Clair’s Body Shop in 1952, just as the uranium boom was hitting. He owned and ran a successful auto-body, towing, and salvage business for 35 years. He was a craftsman at auto-body repair and had an artist’s eye for color, often mixing his own paints. Many times he left in his towing truck in the middle of the night to go to an accident. Sometimes these were grisly scenes, but he never spoke of them. He retired his business in 1987.
Clair is survived by four children: Denise Phillips, Monette Clark, Russell Tangren, and Brent Tangren, all of Moab. He is survived by 14 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren. His surviving siblings are Karl Tangren (Moab); Edward Tangren and Richard (Bud) Tangren (Las Vegas). Clair is preceded in death by his parents, his son Kay Clair Tangren, and by three sisters, and three brothers. Clair believed in staying active. After retirement, he worked outside in his shop yard every day. He played harmonica, loved music, dancing, cookouts, fishing in the river, deer hunting, and cars. He was an active member in the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He studied WW II extensively for the rest of his life. He served on the Grand County Planning Commission in the late 1970s. He had a remarkable memory for dates and events. In recent times, Clair spent happy hours watching documentaries and movies, and listening to country and bluegrass music.
We loved our father, brother, friend, Marvin Clair Tangren. We will miss him greatly. A viewing will be held on Sunday evening, August 4, from 6 to 8, at Spanish Valley Mortuary, 386 North, 100 West, Moab, Utah. Funeral services will be held at the mortuary the next morning, Monday, August 5 at 10:00 am. A last viewing will be from 9 to 9:45 a.m. immediately before the service. Interment will be at Sunset Memorial Gardens.
Tributes:Russ, Sending our deepest condolences to you and your family.
- Bruce DisselClaire Tangren should be considered with legendary status in the town of Moab. A graduate of Grand County back in 30s, a WWII vet. Businessman, entrepreneur who taught me more about the history of Moab then I ever learned in the classroom, just by listening to his story's. His biggest accomplishment however, was his kids. His sons specifically and especially had a powerful effect on my life. The Tangren family as a whole are great hardworking, humble and talented people and that is in large part to the values and ethics that Claire, and their Mother Gayle raised them with. I wish I could be with you all to celebrate his life. The Great Sweeny may he rest in peace.
- John TuckerClair Tangren was a fixture of Moab life. He dealt with my Dad, Bob Stocks regularly at his wrecking business, and then with my husband, Bill Bailey. You could count on getting a good deal on whatever you needed to fix your vehicles...He was a man of integrity and always had a smile for the folks he dealt with. He will be missed. So sorry for your loss.
- Lurell Stocks BaileyCLAIRE WAS OFTEN AT THE BOAT DOCK CHECKING OUT THE HEIGHT OF THE RIVER. I DID CLEANING AND SHELF/ COOLER STOCKING AT GOFER FOODS WHEN GAYLE TANGREN WAS WORKING THE REGISTER. I WAS ALWAYS PAID BY ORANGE AND PEPSI SLUSHES.
- MATT BAILEY
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