Gary Lee Kamo
February 25, 1948~April 20, 2020
Gary Lee Kamo passed away on Monday, April 20, 2020 in Ontario, Oregon. Gary was born on February 25, 1948 in Ontario, Oregon. He was the second of three sons born to Tom and Kimi Kamo. Gary grew up in Vale, Oregon. He was described as taking after his mother being social, captivating and charismatic. Gary attended Vale High School where he excelled in football, wrestling and track. He was part of the 1964 State Championship football team and started on both sides of the ball. After graduating from high school, he attended college at Treasure Valley Community College (TVCC) where he participated in football, wrestling and track. During Gary’s sophomore year at TVCC, the football team was rated #3 in the nation where he was the starting fullback and was awarded Athlete of the Year in 1968. After graduating from TVCC, Gary attended Oregon State University (OSU), where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business.
Gary moved back from OSU and worked to expand Kamo Farms with his dad and brother, Doug. Gary married the love of his life, Nancy Musgrove Kamo on March 14, 1987. Together they had a full life raising their family. In the words of Gary’s son, Colter, “he lived life in every moment joking and laughing and being himself. He did not have a lot of money, yet his riches were far more valuable. Gary was wealthy in family, friends, and relationships, which abundantly surrounded him.” He loved his neighbor. He treated every stranger as a new best friend. Gary would often drop everything in his life to help a friend and not ask for anything in return other than a beer and a good conversation. Gary always saw the good in people. He would put his own interests aside to help someone in need, no matter the cost. This type of unconditional love and true selflessness is an extremely rare quality and almost impossible to find today.
Gary had a million dollar smile and an infectious laugh that would brighten a room. There are some Garyisms that we’ve all heard a time or two, although most may not be appropriate, some of our favorites are: “you know, a guy could…”, “you kiss your mama with that mouth”, “hey, you drank all my beer”, “Randy, when did you start driving”, “Yes dear, no dear, sorry dear, right away dear,” “you’re a bad dog…,” “what are you, some kind of …,” and of course his favorite calling, Bishop of the 3rd Ward.
Gary’s capacity to love was beyond comprehension. The magnitude of lives he touched is endless. He was everybody’s best friend and was never too busy to answer a phone call and help anyone in need. Gary is a true example of kindness, compassion, service and love. He has taught us all that what matters most is what you have done to impact those around you to leave a lasting impression. We all want to emulate Gary’s best traits. He was a legend. Our lives will forever be changed. We will miss his laughter, his voice in the stands, his support at birthdays, funerals and weddings, the fishing trips (but did we ever really fish?), the visits, taking the grandkids to run the dog, change the water, pick corn, the list goes on and on. Gary was always there, he had an innate ability to know where he was needed, and show up. We are forever grateful for the memories and lessons learned.
Gary is preceded in death by his parents, Tom and Kimi Kamo, and brother, Doug (Bonnie-Hinton) Kamo. He is survived by his wife, Nancy Kamo, brother, Ray Kamo, children, Kimiko
(Todd) Griffith, Colter Kamo, Shelly Gholson, Toni Parker, Chris Aldred, Scott (Gloria) Aldred, Chuck (Melonie) Aldred, Nate (Angie) Aldred, Jeff (Marilee) Aldred, 19 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren, niece and nephew, Samantha Kamo and Thomas (Victoria) Kamo, beloved brother and sister in laws, and the many others who refer to Gary as their “favorite uncle” or “best friend.”
Due to the current restrictions in place because of COVID-19, there will be a Celebration of Life that will be announced once restrictions are lifted. The family would like to thank Lienkaemper Chapels, the Vale community, and many friends for the love, support, prayers, and many acts of kindness. Memorial donations can be made in Gary’s name to the Vale High School Alumni Association, P. O. Box 216, Vale, OR 97918.