Los Banos Fairgrounds Manager Guy Gary passed away unexpectedly Saturday morning, Jan. 13, at his Los Banos home.
According to Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke, “Right now it appears to have been a medical event. The official cause is pending autopsy.”
Gary was born and raised in Los Banos, graduating from Los Banos High School in 1990. While attending school he worked mowing lawns and helping care for sheep owned by local businessman Marion Santos. As a freshman in high school Gary’s ag teachers convinced him to show a lamb at the spring fair, also known as the May Day Fair. He did and his decades-long career in agriculture began.
“I enjoyed it and as it ends up, my career was in livestock and then it just led from there,” Gary told the Westside Express in May 2022, when he was selected to be the Los Banos Fair manager.
After graduating from California State University, Fresno with a degree in agricultural education, Gary went to work as a quality assurance representative for Zacky Farms. He was soon promoted to hatchery superintendent and held that job for three years.
The State of California’s Department of Food and Agriculture Animal Health Branch was Gary’s next career move. There he worked as a livestock inspector, senior livestock inspector and most recently as environmental scientist. His area of responsibility spanned 17 counties and resulted in him having to drive about 4,000 miles a month.
Gary felt in May 2022 it was time for a new challenge and believed he had found it as manager of the spring fair.
“I see my friends’ kids coming through the fair. Now you see a wave of grandkids coming through, and the history and support that’s here,” Gary told the Westside Express in May 2022. “Everyone I’ve talked to has said to me, ‘whatever you need.’ I’ve received a lot of support.”
Gary’s mother, Loretta Gary, once worked at España’s Southwest Bar and Grill and also owned a shoe store called Retta G’s Shoe Store in Los Banos.
Gary also volunteered as an Our Lady of Fatima 4H consultant and leader for numerous years. He has helped transport FFA student’s animals to the fair for many seasons.
“This fair is home,” he said in May 2022. “For the past 35 years I’ve been involved in livestock with my children and we’ve been to fairs in Chowchilla, Merced, Arizona Nationals, Cow Palace, State Fair and others. We travel the circuit, but nothing has the feeling like this.” Gary said. “We would pull in here on Monday and the week would go by so fast that you didn’t want it to end. This truly is my dream job.”