Gerhard "Gary" Wolff


June 16, 1944 - July 21, 2009

Gary passed away on July 21, 2009, due to a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis and other complications due to this disease.

Notes from Gary Wolff's memorial celebration

The church was filled with uniformed officers, union officers and members, family and friends.

State Sen. Dennis Nolan, R-Las Vegas, in full Scots kilt attire, played two selections, including Amazing Grace, on his bagpipes.

Cross-cutting all the comments about Gary were memories of what he had taught young officers both through his experience and personal example

Perhaps his most lasting legacy lies in his post-retirement union advocacy. On his watch, Nevada Highway Patrol officers received from the Nevada Legislature parity with the best-compensated law enforcement officers in the state. (At that time, in 2003, that meant the City of Henderson Police Dept.)

This alleviated the longtime ongoing loss of experienced officers to local law enforcement agencies with NHP as a training ground.

Andrew Barbano

Gary was born in Vienna, Austria, and came to America in 1948 with his mother and sister.

As a young man, he became a trooper for the California Highway Patrol.

He moved to Reno in 1972 and worked for the Nevada Highway Patrol until his retirement as a sergeant in 1996.

After his retirement, Gary remained dedicated to the men and women in the state law enforcement community as a business agent and lobbyist continuing the advancement and service of his colleagues.

He leaves a legacy of accomplishments to the benefit of his brothers and sisters in law enforcement.

Gary loved to play golf and travel with his wife, Wendy. He was also a great fan of the Oakland Raiders and loved to cook for his family, especially during the holidays and on special occasions.

He is survived by his wife and best friend, Wendy; his mother, Frieda Baum; sister, Kathy (Bill) Taylor; daughters, Mary (Jeri) Wolff, Angela (Bill) Chavera, Sandi (Jim) Reandeau and Shelley (Bodie) Monroe; son, Blair (Julie) Harkleroad; nieces, Vicki (Fred) Kollar and children, Lexi (John) Kowtko and children, Jamie (Al) Granite and his adoring grandchildren, Adam, Brooke and Hudson. He was also deeply loved by all of Wendy‘s family.

A memorial service was held at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, July 30, 2009, at Sparks Christian Fellowship, 510 Greenbrae Drive, Sparks, Nevada.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, 1332 North Halsted Street, Suite 201, Chicago, IL 60642-2642.

— Published in the Reno Gazette-Journal from 7-26 to 7-28-2009


Remembrances of Gary
will remain permanently posted on this page at
Send additional comments to Andrew Barbano.

GOODBYE, WOLFFMAN. Longtime union leader and retired Nevada Highway Patrol Sgt. Gary Wolff will be laid to rest at a memorial service this Thursday, July 30. It begins at 11:00 a.m. at the Sparks Christian Fellowship Church, 510 Greenbrae Drive in the Greenbrae Shopping Center.

A potluck reception will follow. "Guests from the area are requested to bring a little extra, as we anticipate guests from around the state that would have a logistical hardship bringing a dish. Beverages will be supplied by the Nevada State Law Enforcement Officers' Association," according to an official statement released by the union.

Donations to the family may be made at Nevada State Bank, account number 0558034575. For more info, contact Trooper Lori McGrath at 775-846-4685.

I worked side-by-side with Gary for more than a decade. He was a credit to law enforcement and organized labor. He passed away at his home in Reno on July 21 at age 65.

Among his survivors are a son and daughter, both with NHP. Sgt. Blair Harkleroad lives in Reno and Trooper Angela Chavera works out of Las Vegas. She started with the patrol in 1995. Sgt. Harkleroad joined in 1996. Gary spent six years (1966-72) with the California Highway Patrol and 24 with NHP (1972-1996).

Rest in peace, Wolffman.

You did real good.

Be well. Raise hell.

From Barbwire by Barbano, Daily Sparks Tribune, 7-26-2009

August 04, 2009
Sandy and I were inseparable for many years. Gary treated like family. He listened when I needed an ear. In my fondest memory he helped when my baby brother split his lip open, while my parents were away. I was unprepared to deal with the situation. I called Gary and he calmed me down and told me what I needed to do. I have three boys of my own and with each injury, I can hear Gary's voice telling me to be calm and I can handle anything. I really admired him and he's sorely missed.

Brandy Williams,
Tallahassee, Florida

August 04, 2009
Please accept my deepest sympathy and condolences for your recent loss of Gary. I grew up with Blair and remained friends with him as adults. I also care very deeply about another "son" to Gary who loved Gary as his own father. Although I never personally knew Gary, I do know he had to be an amazing, loved, and well-respected person with a big heart to have made the impact he did. May God bless you (his family and friends) and also give you hope, strength, and peace during this difficult time.

Jamie Riffel,
Reno, Nevada

July 31, 2009
Gary Wolff left his print on this earth. He will long be remembered, especially by me. No matter what pressures he had on his mind, he never failed to make others smile.

Donna Cuzze,
Las Vegas, Nevada
July 31, 2009

My condolences extends to the family and friends of Gary.
I never met Gary, but I've known Blair for several years.
May God's love surround you and comfort you in your loss.
With deepest sympathy,

Joyce Riffel,
Reno, Nevada

July 29, 2009
gary was one of the warmest, funniest people i've ever known. i found him to be a loving husband to my sister wendy and a great father,grandfather and uncle to all of his kids and their kids... he loved them all very much.. i will miss his smile and words of wisdom and his stories, i know he is smiling down on all of us and would not like us to be sad that he can no longer be here on earth with us. he is busy now golfing and cooking for people and telling funny stories.
if he can hear me i would want him to know how much he is loved and missed by all of us.
love and peace,

south lake tahoe, california

July 27, 2009

Dear Wendy and Wolff family members:

WOLFFMAN – That was what all kinds of folks called Gary at the Nevada legislature.

There, he was a constant-moving dervish of a man who fought to make better lives for working citizens and peace officers alike. For four sessions I watched and helped Gary work the halls to get good bills passed and bad bills killed. When we lost a good bill, Gary said it was just one step back so we could win another day. When we passed a good bill, he cautioned our celebration, saying our victory was just a new line drawn in the sand we would now have to protect.

Gary was so good at this work that legislators and lobbyists would often chuckle, shake their heads and say, “That Wolffman – who would have thought that bill would pass?” It was the highest of compliments, and it often came from bill opponents.

Working with Wolffman for over eight years on political issues, Gary and I became colleagues and friends who knew we could truly count on one another. That in itself is a gift he has left me of gigantic proportion. To us all, Gary leaves a legacy of honor, love, strength and integrity seldom seen today in any profession. My heart is heavy, but I am so glad he and I walked and worked and laughed during our days at the Legislature, for I will carry these stories – his stories - in my heart until the end of my days.
My heartfelt condolences to you, Wendy, and the entire Wolff family. He will be sorely missed by so many.

Kathy Naumann,
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

July 27, 2009
Mary, Angela & Sandi-I have many cherished childhood memories growing up of you and your wonderful dad in Sparks. The time he "rescued" my dad with the full law enforcement effect sirens & lights spiriting him to the hospital due to painful kidney. Our neighbor, Gary, the hero:) I was just thinking about Gary the other day with fondness wondering what he was up to and then this sad news. I am so sorry and I am so grateful to have known him. You are in my thoughts are prayers.

Staci Peterson
Sparks, NV

July 28, 2009
Oh Mare, I am so sorry, I had no idea. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Lots of Love to you, Michele

July 28, 2009
What a truly inspirational/caring man Gary was. He changed my life in ways that never seemed possible. He will be greatly missed! Thanks to his daughter Sandi, we will keep his memory alive! God Bless!"

Robyn Cawiezell-Miller
Raleigh, NC

July 27, 2009
My thoughts and prayers to Gary's family. Gary taught me a great deal, and he was a tireless advocate for the Troopers he and I both represented. The quality of union representation just went down with Gary's passing. What a great guy! Thanks for everything, Gary. Have a safe journey.

Ian Silverberg
Reno, NV

July 27, 2009

To my Second Father

I cannot express, in words, the grief and sadness I am feeling at the loss of one of the most important people that I have ever known, Gary Wolff. I know that my grief and sadness is shared by all who knew him. Throughout our many private conversations that we had with each other, one statement stood above all others..Gary's love and devotion for his family and true friends. Many times he told me that he felt blessed to have met such a wonderful woman as his Wendy, or as he put it, the "love of his life!" As for his children Mary, Sandy, Angela, Shelly, and Blair, it was abundantly clear that he was very proud of who they were (as any father should be) and of how they had matured into adulthood and the accomplishments they had achieved in their respective lives..he beamed whenever each of their names came up in conversation. his grandchildren, Adam, Brooke, and Hudson, were the twinkle in his eyes. He adored his sister Kathy and loved his mother, Frieda, with all of his heart.

Gary was an asset to the law enforcement profession and epitomized the term "a cop's cop!" He took that stellar reputation into his second profession-that of a lobbyist and business agent for the Nevada Highway Patrol Association and the Nevada State Law Enforcement Officer's Association where he was well respected in the Nevada Legislature for his work and efforts there. My daughter, Alyssa, and I know that Gary is in a better place and at peace with God; yet, we are devastated by his passing from this earth. We both LOVED gary with all of our hearts and we send that love to his family and friends. A few years ago, I endured one of ther most difficult times, professionally and personally, in my life. As my world crumbled around me, Gary came to my side, stood there and supported me and never left my side. his dedication and commitment to me then, and when I lost both of my parents recently, never wavered and I will NEVER forget that as long as I live! God bless you Gary...I am looking forward to the day when we will see each other again! I miss you "Dad"

Stewart Handte,
Reno, Nevada

July 27, 2009
To My Second Father
I cannot express in words the grief and sadness I am feeling about the loss of one of the most important people that I have ever known, Gary Wolff, and I know that my grief and sadness is shared by all who knew him. Gary cherished his family and friends and was so devoted to both that there aren't enough adjectives to describe that devotion. In the many conversations that I had with Gary, he felt truly blessed with the "love of his life", Wendy; his children Mary, Sandy, Angela, Shelly, and Blair whom he was so very proud of, and his grandchildren who brought so much joy to his life that he always smiled when we talked about them. Gary was an asset to the law enforcement profession..the epitome of the phrase "a cop's cop!" His stellar reputation followed him into his second profession, as a legislative lobbyist and business agent for the Nevada Highway Patrol Association and Nevada State Law Enforcement Officer's Association, where he was very well respected in the Nevada Legislature for his legislative work and efforts. A few years ago, during an extremely difficult time in my life, Gary stood by me as my world crumbled around me, and never left my side! I will never forget his dedication to me during that time. My daughter Alyssa and I loved Gary with all of our hearts..our lives will never be the same without you in them! God bless you "Dad"...I will see you again some day!

Stewart Handte,
Reno, Nevada

July 27, 2009
I am so sorry for the loss of your father. Our prayers are with you and your family.
Fawna & Billie Gregory

July 27, 2009
To the family and friends of Gary please accept our deepest sympathies. Gary was a super person, an excellent advocate, a highly respected professional peace officer and a great friend. We had many excellent conversations, disagreements and agreements. I enjoyed all of my graveyard conversations with him while on patrol years ago. I enjoyed all of our debates at the legislature. But mostly, I enjoyed having Gary as a friend. I will really miss him. From all the professional peace officers of our great state we thank him for all he gave to all peace officers. Rest in peace Gary. You truly deserve the rest.
Ron Dreher - Retired Reno PD

Ron Dreher,
Reno, Nevada

July 26, 2009
We're so very sorry for your loss. Gary was a great guy and a true gentlemen. He'll be missed and remember by the very many lives he touched.
Melodie and Ed Harney

July 26, 2009
Though I did not know Gary on a personal level, I had great respect for him as a fellow Officer for many years and for the professionalism he carried on, in the behalf of the NHP. I Am very sorry for your loss.
Walt Hines
Taylorsville, California

July 26, 2009
I cannot begin to tell you how much Gary meant to me. When I was new to the lobbying game, Gary took me by the hand and introduced me to people that could help me and my fellow workers' cause. That being railroad safety in Nevada. He did this and asked for nothing in return. I will always remember him and what a fine upstanding gentleman he was. I will always cherish his memory in my heart. God bless you and yours.
Jack Fetters
United Transportation Union

July 26, 2009
We have so little time here with one another, but my uncle used his time well. He was the most caring, giving, intelligent, hard working, fun to be around, and often downright hilarious person that I have ever known. He will be sorely missed by many people, but he will be remembered by a family who will never be able to fully let him go. Although, I know he is most likely in heaven playing a round of golf with Papa and eating all of the things he loved to cook. I am saddened that I will not be there for his service, but I know that I don't need a memorial service to honor my uncle because I will do that in my everyday life. I pray for my family that they can make it through this tough time and I am so sorry for this earth to have lost such an amazing person. Love-Jamie and Al

Jamie Granite
Weston, Connecticut

July 26, 2009
To the Wolff family: I share your mourning with the passing of Gary. I was a fellow lobbyist during many sessions of the Nevada legislature. He was dedicated in his advocacy for public safety personnel. Your loss is shared by many.

Danny Coyle, AFSCME Local 4041
Carson City, Nevada

July 26, 2009
I didn't know gary personally but i'm friends of sandi.I must say if sandi was a replica of her dad than he was a great man.Please accept my condolences and prayers on behalf of my family and my late 6 year old son connor.May god bless your family as i'm privaledged to meet and know one of your families members!
matt edmunds and family God bless.

Matthew Edmunds,
Londonderry, New Hampshire

July 26, 2009
We are deeply saddened to hear of your loss. Our thoughts are with you and your family.
Jim and Becky Heryford

July 26, 2009
Wendy, I am very sorry for your loss. my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May the blessings be. Tamsen

July 26, 2009
I am so very sorry to hear about Gary. I worked with him for many many years when I worked in Reno Justice Court. I am so sorry Wendy for your loss. He will be sorely missed. A very wonderful person.

Sandi Specht
Reno, Nevada

Remembrances of Gary
will remain permanently posted on this page at
Send additional comments to Andrew Barbano.

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