Marvin Tangren, 1924-2019

Marvin Clair Tangren, 95, died peacefully at 11:56 p.m., July 25, 2019, at the Canyonlands Care Center. Tangren was a lifelong resident of Moab. He had lived with his son, Brent Tangren, for the past six months before becoming ill with pneumonia four weeks ago.

Clair 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 and the National Youth Administration 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. A private first 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 returned 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 Salt Lake City 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.

Four children survive Clair: Denise Phillips, Monette Clark, Russell Tangren and Brent Tangren, all of Moab. Fourteen grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren survive him. His surviving siblings are Karl Tangren (Moab), Edward Tangren and Richard (Bud) Tangren (Las Vegas).

Clair was 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, and 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 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 4, at Spanish Valley Mortuary, 386 North, 100 West, Moab. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Aug. 5 at the mortuary.

A last viewing will be from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. immediately before the service. Interment will be at Sunset Memorial Gardens.

Condolences may be sent to the family at