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Gary Frank Kiren, 75, passed away surrounded by his family on February 3, 2023, at the Davis Hospice Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming, following complications from acute pancreatitis.
Born June 5, 1947, in Kemmerer, Wyoming, Gary was the oldest of Frank, Jr., and Katherine Miano Kiren’s children. Gary grew up in Diamondville where he developed lifelong friendships and participated in his fair share of mischief. Not long after the unexpected death of his father when Gary was seven, he described going next door with his grandparents “to spend a weekend and stayed 21 years”. Frank, Sr., and Frances Kiren were instrumental in helping raise their precious grandson or “Gary Boy” as Frances called him.
In 1966, Gary graduated from Kemmerer High School. He loved to tell stories from his high school days, describing himself as the class clown while also speaking fondly of the cherished friendships he developed. During his high school summers, Gary learned the value of hard work docking sheep and haying at the Angelo family’s ranch. The Angelos became an important influence for good in Gary’s life and were like a second family to him.
The United States military drafted Gary into the Army in September 1966. He was trained as a cook and assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 54th General Support Group in Nha Trang, Vietnam. He earned the rank of Spec-4 and was honorably discharged from the Army in July 1968. Gary was always proud to be numbered among the veterans of the United States.
Upon returning to Diamondville from his service in Vietnam, Gary went to work for El Paso Natural Gas Company in Opal. Outside of work, he spent his twenties living the care-free life of a young bachelor. During this time, he consumed so much of a certain Italian dish that people started calling him “Pizza”. The nickname stuck, and to many, “Pizza” was his name.
In 1972, Gary left El Paso to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. He became the third generation of Kiren coal miners in southwestern Wyoming. He worked in various roles in the Kemmerer mine for 34 years and was a proud and loyal member of the United Mineworkers of America Local 1307.
On December 31, 1976, Gary attended the annual New Year’s Eve dance at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. His neighbors in Diamondville, John and Yvonne Grivet, introduced Gary to their daughter Lynn’s friend and neighbor from Ogden, Utah. That friend was a woman named Lorilyn. Gary and Lorilyn began dating, and after a few months, Gary, who was characteristically worried about the 1977 union contract negotiations, asked Lorilyn, “Would you like to get married after the strike?” Gary and Lorilyn were married by a justice of the peace in Elko, Nevada, on July 21, 1977.
Gary and Lorilyn made their home on Chicago Street in Diamondville. They soon welcomed a daughter, Donna, followed three years later by a son, David. Family life changed Gary’s priorities, and he dedicated his life to providing for his family and being present for his children’s many activities. He traveled the state and country to support them as they pursued their interests and goals. From the time Donna and David were very young, he was adamant that his children go to college. He was very proud when both earned graduate degrees and felt that one of his life’s primary goals was achieved.
A love for sports at all levels, especially the Kemmerer Rangers and Wyoming Cowboys, was Gary’s passion. He loved to watch sports, talk about sports, and recall great moments in sports. He also enjoyed going for walks, reading nonfiction (primarily biographies and accounts of military history), completing wordsearch puzzles, and visiting. Gary loved talking and worrying. He could talk endlessly without regard for time and without picking up on social cues to stop or allow others to speak. He especially loved to talk about his family to anyone who would listen. When it came to worrying, if Gary did not have something obvious to worry about, he could always find something.
The small-town, simple life suited Gary well. He valued family, close friends, and frugality. He was practical and content with modest possessions but took great pride in caring for what he owned and how he presented himself to others. Gary was impatient, anxious, and risk-averse, and he could hold a grudge. He loved to be the center of attention, and making others smile or laugh brought him great joy. Gary was a man of his word and had a strong sense of right and wrong.
Gary is survived by his wife of 45 years Lorilyn; his daughter Donna (Glenn) McAlister of Cheyenne; his son David Kiren of Chicago, Illinois; his granddaughter Annika Nelson of Cheyenne; and his step-grandchildren Ashley (Caeden) Quist, Bailey McAlister, Michael McAlister all of Cheyenne; and step-great granddaughter Octavia Quist. He is also survived by his brother James Kiren; sisters Frankie Ann Kiren and Roberta Morris; his godson Michael Angelo; many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Gary was preceded in death by his grandparents Frank, Sr., and Frances Kiren; father Frank Kiren, Jr.; mother Katherine Morris; sister Beverly Kiren; uncle Jack and aunt Agnes Scott; and cousin Kathy Scott.
A memorial service, including military and union honors, will be held at 10:00 am on Friday, February 10, 2023, at the South Lincoln Training and Events Center (215 Wyoming State Highway 233 in Kemmerer, Wyoming). A luncheon from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm will immediately follow at the same location. Inurnment will take place privately with Gary’s family at South Lincoln Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Gary’s name to the Davis Hospice Center through the CRMC Foundation (214 East 23rd St.; Cheyenne, WY 82001 or give.cheyenneregional.org).
Friday, February 10, 2023
Starts at 10:00am (Mountain time)
South Lincoln Training & Event Center
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