Gayle Loveridge Tangren passed away at the Canyonlands Care Center in Moab on Jan. 25 at 2:15 pm. Her son, Rusty, was at her side. She was 91.
A lifelong resident of Moab, Gayle had resided at the Canyonlands Care Center since 2017. Prior to that, she lived at the Virginian Apartments for 13 years.
She is preceded in death by her parents; her sisters, Renae Polly and Helen McDougall; her brothers, J.T. Loveridge and William (Bill) Loveridge; her son, Kay Clair Tangren; and daughter, Denise Gayle Merkl. She is survived by her sister, Joan Jackson, longtime Moab resident, now of Surprise, Arizona; children, Monette Clark, Russell Tangren, daughter-in-law Dianna Tangren, and Brent Tangren of Moab; and by her 14 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.
Gayle Loveridge was born on May 31, 1930, in Moab in a big, two-story house built by her grandfather. Her parents were Emma Sperry Loveridge and William Bryan (Jack) Loveridge. She was the fifth of six children.
Gayle was of pioneer heritage. Her ancestors crossed the plains to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, among the first wagon companies of the Mormon exodus from Missouri.
In 1881, her grandfather, John Thomas Loveridge, brought his young family from Ferron down to Moab. J.T. became a very successful businessman and rancher. He was a founding investor in the Moab Mercantile Company and the Moab Bank.
Gayle grew up on her grandfather’s 50-acre farm along Mill Creek Drive. The Loveridge farm included the land that is now Bowen Circle, Locust Lane, Loveridge Circle and the bottom land adjacent to Mill Creek, from Rotary Park down to 4th East.
Born in the Great Depression, Gayle never knew a childhood without ration stamps for sugar, tea and coffee but her family never went without food. Her mother kept a garden; they had an orchard, a milk cow and chickens. Her father ran a small herd of cattle on Hatch Point. He butchered a beef and a hog every fall. Gayle liked farm animals all her life and her favorite flower was the sunflower.
Gayle had many hardships in her life. A month after her 13th birthday, her mother died at home of cancer. Gayle, her older sister Joan, and her younger brother Bill were the children left at home with their father unable to care for them due to alcoholism. After six months, they went to live with their married sister, Helen, just down the road. Throughout her life, Gayle’s best friend was her sister Joan. Their bond was strong.
Gayle attended first through eleventh grade at Grand County School on Center Street. When she was 18, she eloped with Marvin Clair Tangren of Moab. They were married on July 24, 1948, in Gallup, New Mexico. Ever after their quip was: “We ‘loped to Gallup and got hitched!”
The newlyweds moved to Salt Lake City, where Clair obtained a job with an auto body shop. Daughter Denise Gayle was born in 1949. They moved to Provo where Clair’s mother and siblings lived and where Clair worked at another body shop. They were able to purchase a very old adobe house. In 1951 their second daughter, Monette Clair, was born. Gayle recalled how the back wall of the kitchen caved in later that winter while it was snowing.
Gayle and Clair returned to Moab in 1952 and Clair started his own body shop business. Three boys were added to the family: Kay Clair (Kayc) in 1953, Russell William (Rusty) in 1958, and Brent Marvin in 1963. The couple divorced in 1984 but continued to share family time together over the years, as their children and grandchildren came to town for holidays.
Gayle was the heart of her family. She will be dearly remembered for her unconditional love.
In the ‘90s, Gayle established the tradition of cooking a big Sunday dinner for her kids and grandkids living in Moab. She did this for over 25 years. Dinner at Grandma’s became legendary. Boyfriends and girlfriends were invited, great-grandchildren were born and her small apartment was crowded wall-to-wall with eaters. Fried chicken, mashed potatoes with milk gravy, pan-fried carrots, hot rolls, cake and ice cream were on a typical menu. Conversation was always lively, with updates for Grandma. Gayle’s natural wit came out, much to the delight of her grandchildren. Grandma’s expressions were unique.
Gayle was very creative. She sewed contest-winning, original Halloween costumes for her kids, baked a special Easter Bunny cake for them every year and created the magic of Christmas. She loved to grow flowers.
Gayle entered the paid job world about 1964, to help with the family income. She worked as a motel maid, laundress, bakery worker, night dispatcher at sheriff’s office, and cook at Canyonlands Café. Her favorite job was as a seamstress at a sewing plant that came to Moab in the mid 1970s.
Gayle lost her son Kayc and daughter-in-law Jill in 1985 in an automobile accident. She endured the loss of her relationship with four of her grandchildren through no fault of hers. As she entered her seventies, Gayle became more social, participating in Senior Center activities. Home was always her favorite place. She never liked to leave town. Moab was the only place she ever wanted to be, all her life.
A beautiful graveside service was held for Gayle Loveridge Tangren at Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery on January 29, 2020. She was buried in the family plot, next to her beloved son Kayc. May we always remember and honor her.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.spanishvalleymortuary.com.