April 9, 2019
CLIA Loses the Best of the Best with the Passing of Gary Hong
CLIA lost its longest-serving board member and its greatest friend. Gary Luke Hong passed away Sunday afternoon, April 7 th after losing his battle to Myeloid Leukemia. His passing is a great loss for our industry. Gary was always generous with his time his financial support for CLIA, his local community and anyone else who needed his help.
He enjoyed working on government affairs and served enthusiastically on CLIA’s government affairs committee chair for most of his decades on our board of directors. But even when he served on other committees that he enjoyed less, he did so with the same professionalism and leadership. When Gary spoke, the board knew that his words came only after very careful consideration of all points of view.
He is survived by his wife Martha and three grown children.
CLIA Reacts to the Sad News
John Manderfeld, CLIA Treasurers and Past President
“You couldn’t ask for a better friend, business partner or colleague--or a better example of a lodging industry leader. In very many ways, he was our role model on the board of directors. He often contributed to guiding new board members and committee members on the history and important contribution of our association. He contributed just as enthusiastically in his South Bay community, being a leader in the Chamber of Commerce and other service organizations. Anyone who worked with Gary even for a few minutes felt honored for the experience. It is hard to imagine our industry without him.
Bobbie Singh-Allen, CLIA Executive Vice President
Gary’s leadership served as a reminder of selfless service. He was often the driving force to testify before the legislature and government agencies on the harmful impact of burdensome legislation or regulations on hotel owners and operators. He brought his common-sense business perspective and hotel ownership experience to CLIA.I will miss his leadership and friendship.
David Bowman, CLIA President
My deepest condolences to the family and friends of Gary Hong. It was an honor to serve with Gary on the Board of Directors of the California Lodging Industry Association (CLIA). His dedication to California hotel industry as a Board Member and Past President of CLIA is greatly valued. May his memory continue to inspire all of us to emulate his warmth, humor and compassion.
Ram Jeereddy – CLIA Director
A gentle and caring Heart not only to near and dear but whoever he came across.
Pravin Pranav, CLIA Vice President
We have lost a true friend and a gentle soul.
Mike Belote, CLIA Lobbyist- California Advocates
I’m heartbroken. I’ve known Gary for upwards of 20 years. Not only was he a “go-to” on lodging issues, but he was always upbeat and positive, just a wonderful man.
Mike Wang, CLIA Director
Sad! Gary was a very nice man and contributed greatly to CLIA!
Sima and Peter Patel, Past Presidents and Directors
CLIA has lost a great leader. Gary Hong was a loyal, generous and supportive friend. Anyone that was fortunate to be around him would be uplifted by his cheerfulness and his optimistic outlook on life. His smile and laughter were infectious. If we had more people like Gary, the world would be a better place. We will miss him dearly.
Chris Middleton, Past CLIA President
I have known Gary Hong for over 20 years. What I admired about Gary most, besides his huge heart was his ability to find an effective solution for every problem that was agreeable to everyone. That is a rare quality and one that will be missed by CLIA and our industry.

Caroline Beteta, CEO of Visit California
So sorry to hear of the passing of dear friend and colleague Gary Hong. He was a true champion and early pioneer of Visit California and the tourism industry, but most importantly just an all-around terrific and gracious person. He will be missed deeply by all.
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