Gary Emberland
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Obituary of Gary Steven Emberland

The Feather River Recreation and Park District is mourning the passing of Director and Board Chairperson Gary Emberland. Emberland passed away Saturday, April 6th, surrounded by family at his home in Oroville, at the age of 68, from complications from diabetes.

Originally from Willmar, Minnesota, he studied engineering and design at Willmar Area Vocational Technical Institute, and high voltage and electrical theory at Dunwoody College of Technology, Class of 1977. He was a veteran, serving one tour in Viet Nam, eventually being honorably discharged from the U.S. Army Reserves. In the early 1980’s Emberland left the Midwest to interview for an engineering position with the City of Palo Alto, landing the job and moving west without knowing anyone in California. In his position with the City, Emberland was involved in bringing power to many of the startups in what would become Silicon Valley. Later in his career, Emberland traveled extensively around the world as a project manager, helping to bring solar and wind facilities to locations in Africa, Australia, Canada and more. While living and working in Palo Alto he met his eventual wife Colleen, who was working as a nurse at Stanford Hospital. They had two daughters, Sarah and Willow. Both Gary and Colleen grew up enjoying boating, so when they visited Oroville in 1995 they were hooked. They purchased a houseboat, and began coming up to enjoy time on the lake nearly every weekend. Upon his retirement in 2011, the Emberland's fulfilled a dream by moving to Oroville full time, purchasing a two story 1920’s farmhouse and adjoining seven acre orange orchard in the East foothills. In November of 2014, wanting to serve, Mr. Emberland ran for a seat on the FRRPD Board of Directors, winning easily. Two years later, in November 2016, he ran again and was reelected to a four year term. During his four and a half years in local office, Emberland served on multiple committees, including the Supplemental Benefits Steering Committee. He was instrumental in the allocation of funds for several notable projects, including the rebuilding of Riverbend Park, the ongoing construction of the Veterans’ Memorial, improvements to Palermo Pool, and the upcoming renovation of Nelson Pool. He was passionate in particular about promoting the development of all water related recreational opportunities, especially those to benefit underprivileged children in the Oroville area.  He advocated for the construction of a new downtown swimming and aquatic center. During his service to FRRPD Emberland was known for his dedication, kindness, generosity and soft spoken demeanor. Emberland continued to be dogged in continuing to serve, even after declining health brought him serious physical pain. He will be sorely missed.

He is survived by his wife and companion of over thirty years, Colleen, daughters Sarah and Willow, grandsons Cash and Ajay. A granddaughter, Royce Marie, is scheduled to arrive this summer.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Arrangements are entrusted  to Ramsey Funeral Home 530-534-3877. 

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