Cover photo for Gary Lee Salata's Obituary
Gary Lee Salata Profile Photo
1951 Gary 2020

Gary Lee Salata

June 11, 1951 — October 7, 2020

Gary Salata of Rocklin, California passed away unexpectedly, but peacefully, at home at the age of 69 from aggressive cancer on 10-7-20. He was able to come home from the hospital and be with family and friends. We were able to tell stories and just remind him how much he was loved by so many people.

Gary was surrounded by his loving family (wife Gail, sons Byron and Tyler, daughter-in-law Rebecka Manni Salata, parents Ed and Bernice Salata and his brother Mike Salata) as he entered into Heaven. He was peacefully sleeping then opened his eyes to look at each one of us one by one, then looked up to Heaven as happy tears rolled down his beautiful face. Heaven gained an angel, a new greeter, and a friend to all people.

Gary is survived by his wife Gail Salata of 34 years, sons Byron & Tyler (Rebecka) Salata, parents Ed and Bernice Salata, brother Mike (Linda) Salata, twin Larry (Linda Belluomini) Salata, sister Patti (Bill) Clerico, mother-in-law Jean Cornelius, sister-in-law Paula (Don) Knutson, brother-in-law Robert Cornelius, many nieces, nephews, their children, and wonderful friends. Gary was preceded in death by his grandparents & father-in-law Bill Cornelius.

Gary was born in Portland, Oregon He was one of four children to Bernice and Ed Salata. When he was born, Bernice and Ed were surprised to learn that they had twins (Larry and Gary). He graduated from Miramonte High School in Orinda, CA. He received his AA degree from UC Davis. Gary worked at Riverview International Trucks in West Sacramento for 36 years. He was the "Lead Man in the Body Shop" there. When he retired in June 2017, his family surprised him with a retirement party at Cante Ao Vinho Winery in Rocklin. After retirement, Gary and his family took a trip of a lifetime to Portugal, Spain, and Italy.

Gary and Gail met at the Discovery Park Apartments in Sacramento, CA in 1985. He was sitting out by the pool and a group of Gail's friends from MI picked him out as the "California guy" for her. On their first date at the Virgin Sturgeon on the river, Gary told Gail that he planned on marrying her. He flew to Warren, MI to ask Gail's dad for his blessing and permission to marry her. They married the following year at the First United Methodist Church in Sacramento with a reception following at the Rusty Duck in Sacramento. After the reception, Gary had arranged for a yacht to take him and his new wife down the river as trumpets played "Here Comes the Bride" and dropped them off at the location of their first date. They spent their honeymoon night in Lake Tahoe. A few weeks later they went to Kaui for the honeymoon. In 1987 and 1990, they were blessed with two sons, Byron and Tyler. Another one of his favorite moments was when he gained a daughter-in-law at Tyler and Rebecka's wedding at the beautiful Trentadue Winery in Sonoma County, California in June, 2019.

Throughout the years, Gary loved on his family and friends so much. His love language was Acts of Service which he frequently demonstrated to those around him. He participated in various community events through Destiny Church, assisted his parents with whatever they needed, helped to build and care for the garden at Antelope Creek Elementary School, painted the staff lunchroom with Nancy and Gary Wilson at Ruhkala Elementary, packed lunches for his family, carved pumpkins with the kindergarten class, and so much more!

Everyone knew that Gary loved God, his family, friends, life and anyone he met. He also loved social activities, nature (especially water), fishing, traveling, happy hour, walking, biking, swimming, boating, racquetball, the San Francisco 49ers, Liverpool Futbol Club (soccer), Cocoa Beach, and family time. He enjoyed the many get togethers with friends and family.

Gary would also want to share a few last thoughts:

1. Reach out to a family member, friend, or stranger and have a genuine conversation.
2. Mend your strained/broken relationships and make a new friend.
3. Seek balance with family/friends/work.
4. Find your place of peace and go there to refresh your soul.
5. Make time to connect or reconnect your relationship with God through whatever means works for you.

In lieu of additional flowers, donations can be made towards a memorial for Gary through We will be placing a memorial bench in the Sunset Whitney Recreation Area, planting a tree in Cocoa Beach Florida, and developing other ideas in his memory due to the immense generosity of his friends and family. We would love to hear your memories and stories about him. Feel free to add them to the Guest Book beneath Gary's photograph. These will help us to cope with this devastating loss.

The family is planning on having a celebration of Gary's life next spring when it is safe for family and friends to gather.

Thank you to all of our wonderful family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers that have sent prayers for our family, condolences, flowers, meals, gifts, and donated to the memorial for him. We can feel the love and appreciate you so much. Thank you to the wonderful doctors, nurses, and staff at Kaiser Hospital in Roseville. The family would also like to thank Pastor Scott Sinner for having such a great impact on Gary's life and being present during his final days. Finally, we would like to thank our Lord and Savior for blessing us with such a loving and supportive husband, father, and son.
To order memorial trees in memory of Gary Lee Salata, please visit our tree store.


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