Arthur Varney Gailey was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 22, 1933 to Arthur Strong Gailey and Virginia Blood Varney Gailey. He was the eldest of two children.
Varr grew up with his mother and sister Nancie in Roy, Utah surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. The first three years of his education took place near Austin, Nevada with his mother as his teacher. The first year, school was in the home of a rancher who had hired Virginia to teach his three children. The next two years, with his mother still his teacher, school was in a one room adobe schoolhouse on the Shoshone Indian Reservation where his schoolmates were a local rancher’s two children and 7-11 Indian children of varying ages. On the reservation, living conditions were very primitive. Water had to be carried from a well two blocks away and in the winter, snow was melted for bath water.
Summer work at his Grandfather Varney’s canning factory in Roy during his growing up years taught Varr many skills, as well as discipline and responsibility, all of which would serve him well in the various careers of his life.
Varr graduated from Davis High School in 1951. He subsequently attended Jr. College at Brown Military Academy in San Diego, graduating with honors and receiving an appointment to West Point. Not wanting to have a military career, he turned the appointment down and, instead, enlisted and served for two years in the Army toward the end of the Korean War as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne.
After his honorable discharge from the army, Varr attended the University of Southern California for one year, prior to receiving a basketball scholarship to California Western University in San Diego where he studied and played basketball for a year. At the urging of friends, he transferred to BYU where he graduated with a degree in Radio and Television Communications. His extra-curricular activities at BYU included: manager of KBYU Radio, being a DJ with his own radio show which he called “Saturday Scramble”, and acting in several theater productions. It was in the Theater Department that he met and started dating Julia Harmon, telling her to “stick with me kid and I’ll take you places.” She did, and he kept his promise to take her places. For some 62 years they shared life’s adventures, challenges, sorrows and joys with tears and laughter and faith, knowing that Heavenly Father was always there looking out for them and leading the way.
They started married life and their family in Fort Pierce, Florida where he worked for Tree Sweet Products as a warehouseman. He quickly was promoted to Warehouse Manager and from there to Traffic Manager in charge of all shipping. From Florida they moved to Orange, CA where he was made manager for Sunnyland Corp., a subsidiary of Tree Sweet. After Sunnyland closed its doors Varr worked for a short time for Sunkist before being hired by Olsen Brothers Egg Co. to manage their egg breaking plant in Philadelphia, PA. (Yes, that’s right, an egg breaking plant!) So off again across the country, now with 3 children, they went and settled in Marlton, NJ, a short commute to Philadelphia. It was there Varr started “moonlighting,” preparing tax returns for Tax Corporation of America and as a manager hiring and teaching others to do the same. The part time moonlighting job turned into full time employment and ultimately resulted in a transfer to the home office in California and promotion to Vice President In Charge of Production in southern California, as well as maintaining and building his own tax practice in Claremont, CA. When TCA closed their doors Varr went into partnership with a good friend and they started their own income tax processing operation, Associated Tax Processors, where they finished tax returns by putting them onto computer for freelance tax preparers. As home computers became more and more accessible to everyone, they found it necessary to dissolve the partnership and Varr struck out on his own as a Tax and Financial Consultant. He has served over 1000 clients, some clients for 40+ years, and made many friends.
Varr and Julia moved to Mapleton, UT in 1991. Working side by side, they commuted back and forth to southern California several times a year to serve their tax clients. While in Mapleton Varr was able to fulfill a dream and go back his original life’s plan when he became involved in the operations of KOVO Radio, a Provo radio station devoted to the great music of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, and reviving his old radio show “Saturday Scramble.” That project was short lived, however, when the station owner sold it out from under them.
Varr was a good father and grandfather. He loved his posterity and instilled in them qualities of service, love, integrity, work and a sense of history and belonging. He loved to play games with them and take them places where they could experience the culture and history, or see the beauty of nature or just plain have fun. His favorite family card game was Frustration. The games were generally animated and often, well... frustrating. And he loved to win! (How far can you throw your dice across the room when you lose?)
He loved old movies and would sit up into the wee hours of the morning “taping” a John Wayne western or Cary Grant comedy with his VHS recorder. He loved the music of the Big Band era and the mellow classic jazz of Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck.
And Varr loved critters! He donated to every animal charity that dared to send a request. His love affair with cats was cemented when one day a tiny black kitten showed up on the front porch. Varr took him out a small saucer of milk which the little kitty lapped up and proceeded to lick the dish all over the porch and down the steps. The big, gentle but tough man came into the house with tears in his eyes and said, “That’s one of God’s creatures, and it’s starving.” From that time on all strays and drop-offs were welcome at the Gailey home, and the motto became “Every Life should have at least Nine Cats!”
Varr loved USC football and was a loyal, True Blue Cougar fan, literally following the BYU football team from place to place for games all over the country. He loved to travel and has traveled throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Great Britain, China, and Australia to name a few. His favorite place to vacation, however, was Hawaii where he fell in love with Leonard’s malasadas, Lappert’s coco-macadamia nut ice cream and virgin Chi Chi’s.
In January of 2015 he and Julia moved to Springville, UT. Early in 2018 upon returning home from his first tax trip of the season, Varr suffered a massive stroke that left him totally paralyzed on the left side. Unable to recover from that he has spent the past two years in the long term care facility at Stonehenge of Springville.
Varr passed away from complications of severe aspiration pneumonia on April 11, 2020 at the age of 86. He is survived by his wife, Julia; Daughters: Laurine Jack (Allen) and Tami English (Joe); Son, Arthur Varney Gailey Jr (Sheri); Grandchildren: Russell (Bonnie) Jack, M Jack, Brianne (Dustin) Creer, Nathan (Adrienne) Jack, Dallin (Becky)Jack, Ginelle (Zach) Swenson, Spencer Jack, and Evan Jack; Randall (Kayla) Macchi, Philip Macchi, and Amber (Joe) Jensen; Jake Gailey, Jackson Gailey, and Connor Gailey; and 16 Great Grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his father Art, mother Virginia, sister Nancie, and a grandson McKay.
Varr’s testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is sure and strong. He knew he has a Heavenly Father and that Jesus Christ is his Savior! He loved the Book of Mormon and its truths. He read it over and over again faithfully for years by reading five chapters every day. As a life-long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints he has served as a temple worker and held many Ward positions, as well as served in Bishoprics and Stake Presidencies from coast to coast. His favorite calling was as an officiator in the Los Angeles Temple. He loved that temple where Julia and he had been sealed husband and wife for all eternity on Friday, July 13, 1962. He always called that day his Lucky Day. His greatest dream is that his children and their children, and their children always walk in truth and righteousness.
A small, family memorial will be held Monday, April 20 at Wheeler Mortuary in Springville, UT. He will be interred at Mapleton Cemetery, Mapleton, Utah. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary or Primary Children’s Hospital, Salt Lake City, UT.