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Biehl, Gary

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Gary Keith Biehl was born on March 17, 1954, in York, Pennsylvania, the second son of Frank and Loretta Biehl. As a young child Gary lived in Harrisburg Pennsylvania, Rockville Maryland, and Deerfield Illinois before his family eventually settled in Saratoga California. Gary graduated from Lynbrook High School in 1972. He then attended De Anza Community College in Cupertino before transferring to the University of Utah.

In 1973, Gary began his 43-year career with the United States Forest Service as a wildland firefighter. Over the years, he took on various roles within the Forest Service, leading to numerous opportunities at the Regional and National levels. Gary was highly respected for his work as a fire behavior analyst, a budget analyst, and for implementing numerous regional and national policies and programs. Throughout his career, he received many awards and was held in high regard by his colleagues.

Gary met his wife, Rhonda, in the fall of 1979 in Willits, California, while he was working on the Mendocino National Forest – Covelo District. They married in the Oakland Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on July 11, 1981. The couple began their married life in Covelo, California, where they purchased their first home and welcomed three sons: David, Matthew, and Mark. In 1988, Gary was offered a position as Assistant Fire Management Officer at the Stanislaus National Forest headquarters in Sonora, California. The family relocated to Sonora, where their fourth son, Jason, was born in 1989.

Gary was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having joined the church in 1975. Of his decision to join, he said, “This was the most important decision that I made in my life. It has led to all the blessings that I have today and will yet have in the eternities. The church is true.”

Gary lived a life centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ. He deeply cherished his family and set a remarkable example for his loved ones and friends, embodying qualities of gentleness, kindness, humility, patience, service, and generosity. Gary possessed a strong work ethic, never complaining and provided well for his family.

Gary passed away peacefully at home with his wife at his bedside on the evening of April 25, 2023. He is survived by his mother, Loretta Biehl of Morgan Hill, California; his wife of 42 years, Rhonda Southwick Biehl; his sons, David (Elizabeth) Biehl of Los Banos, California, Matthew (Sabrina) Biehl of Sonora, California, Mark (Lainee) Biehl of St. George, Utah, Jason (Adrienne) Biehl of Provo, Utah; 16 grandchildren; brothers Frank (Barbara) Biehl of Sacramento, California, Wayne (Socorro) Biehl of Portola, California, Craig (Angelica) Biehl of Horsham, Pennsylvania, and Mark Biehl of Morgan Hill, California. Gary’s father, Frank Biehl, predeceased him in 2014.


  • Date of Death: 04/25/2023
  • Age: 69
  • Residence: Sonora, CA
  • Services: May 2, 2023 at Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints at 2pm