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Former mayor of Springville Harold R. Wing, creator of the Little Giant Ladder System, passed away Monday from heart complications. He was 72.

"Hal" Wing, a native of Springville, founded Wing Enterprises in his garage in the 1970s after he was inspired by a prototype ladder built by a German painter, according to the Little Giant website. Wing modified the design, patented his multiuse product in the U.S. and showed it off at trade shows and fairs.

He "had one of the greatest work ethics of anyone I've ever known," said his son, Art Wing.

The Little Giant Ladder System became popular because of its safety and versatility: Today's ladders can be set up in 24 different configurations. The Springville company now brands itself as one of the world's largest manufacturer of ladder systems.

Then chairman of the board and CEO of Wing Enterprises, Wing was elected mayor of Springville in 1997 and set about turning around the city's finances. The businessman fixed budget discrepancies, hired an outside auditor, made cuts and balanced the books.

Almost four years later, "when he left the city, it was in excellent condition," recalls Rod Oldroyd, who was then on the City Council. Wing had high expectations on how he wanted the city run, Oldroyd said, and "went by the budget" but was also "generous."

Oldroyd remembers groups such as the Boy Scouts petitioning the city for money during meetings. Wing was firm: "I'm sorry, it's not in the budget," he would say. But after the denial, Wing would excuse himself from the meeting, go out in the hall and write a personal check or offer other assistance to the group.

"He did a lot of things at his own expense," Oldroyd said. Wing also purchased a new sound system for city hall and even donated two Harley-Davidson motorcycles to the police department.

Motorcycles and cars were his passion, said Art Wing. He rode dirt bikes with his sons — up until his death — and had a collection of historic and pristine cars that numbered 100 at its peak.

He taught "the harder you work, the luckier you get," his son said.

In October 2010, he became the fourth person inducted into the Utah Valley Entrepreneurial Forum Hall of Fame.

The entrepreneur was also a music man.

Wing played the bugle and knew how to yodel. He even cut a CD of his yodels.

Springville "is going to lose a little color not having Hal around," Oldroyd said.

nmathews@sltrib.comTwitter: NickMathewsTrib —

Funeral services

Funeral services are Saturday, 11 a.m., at the LDS Spring Creek South Stake Center, 350 N. 400 East, Springville. A viewing is Friday, 5-9 p.m. at Wheeler Mortuary, 211 E. 200 South. In lieu of flowers, the Wing family asks that donations be made to the Utah Highway Patrol's Honoring Heroes Foundation at