Hal Wing, founder of Wing Enterprises, Little Giant Ladders and former Springville mayor, dies at 72

By Kathryn May

Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Aug. 9 2012 2:13 p.m. MDT

Hal Wing, a Utah native, was known globally as the founder of Wing Enterprises, creator of The Little Giant Ladder System. He died Monday at age 72.

Deseret News archives

SPRINGVILLE — Former Springville mayor and prominent businessman Harold Wing died Monday from heart complications at the age of 72.

Hal, as he preferred to be called, led a life dedicated to hard work and service to his family, business, nation, community and church.

Wing, a Utah native, is known globally as the founder of Wing Enterprises, creator of The Little Giant Ladder System.

Wing's business was inspired by a German ladder prototype in the 1970s. He brought the idea back to the United States, patented it and began Wing Enterprises in his garage. Within the first year, he sold more than a $500,000 worth of ladders.

He and his wife Brigitte Mayer Wing raised seven children. Friends and family members had a memorial at the Little Giant Ladder building in Springville Tuesday.

"He was a very giving and charitable to his employees, not only to them but also to complete strangers," Doug Wing, a son, said of his father.

Wing was personable with his employees at Little Giant Ladders, making them feel like they were part of the family.

“He knows all of the people on the plant,” said employee Jeff Dinsdale. “He’ll walk through the plant and say hello to everybody by name, even if they are just a lowly operator that just started a few days before.”

He was also known for hiring those people whom other businesses wouldn't because of criminal records or physical disabilities. 

Along with having a big heart, Wing also loved fancy cars and dirt biking. He was actually riding a dirt bike when he suffered a heart attack days before his death. A few days after that, he insisted on seeing his employees.

“In his weak condition, he wanted to express his appreciation and his love for all his employees.”

“He truly was just one-of-a kind, and he’ll be missed,” said his son Art Wing.

Hal Wing held numerous positions in, and with his wife, served multiple missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

He also served in both Ronald Reagan's and George H.W. Bush's administrations as a representative at several national conferences on small business.

In 2011, work was completed on Utah Valley University's new Hal Wing Track and Field complex. He made a sizable donation to fund and build the complex at the university.

“This is a very sad day, losing one of our own,” said UVU director of athletics Mike Jacobsen. “Hal is one who has meant so much to Wolverine Athletics and to Utah Valley University. He has been a champion, a leader, and a friend to so many in our community. He will be deeply missed.” 

Funeral services will be held Saturday, Aug. 11 at 11:00 a.m. at the LDS Spring Creek South Stake Center at 350 N. 400 East in Springville. A viewing will be held Friday, Aug. 10 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Wheeler Mortuary at 211 E. 200 South in Springville.

Instead of flowers, the family is asking that people donate to Utah Fast Pass, a charitable organization that provides funds to several groups including the UHP’s Honoring Heroes Foundation; and local community projects that improve the communities, improve the education opportunities for students throughout the state and other charities that improve the quality of life in the state.

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