St. George, Utah -
Garn Oliver Huntington was born May 6, 1931. He was the fifth child and first son of Velma Mae Evans Huntington and Oliver Barnhurst Huntington. He was delivered by his grandmother, Julia Anna Marie Barnhurst Clove Huntington, in a small two-room home in Hatch, Utah. The doctor later arrived to sign the birth certificate. Garn passed away on January 2, 2022, due to complications from COVID. It was unexpected and his decline happened quickly.
Garn considered himself very blessed to grow up in Hatch and the mountains of southern Utah. He often said he did not know they were dirt poor people, and he learned a lot. There were four things about his childhood that stood out to him:
1. It was cold 24/7/365 and snowed every month of the year.
2. He was always hungry. There was never enough to eat for a growing boy.
3. They were always broke because there were not many jobs available in Hatch.
4. The town had a lot of LOVE since that was about all they could give at the time.
Thanks to Garn’s four older sisters, he remembered “playing a lot of school.” They taught him to read and when he entered the first grade, he was reading third grade books. He loved to read and continued to read regularly throughout his entire life.
The summer after first grade in 1935, Garn found a nickel and the biggest thing to buy was a big box of strike anywhere matches. So, of course he bought them! He went to the school lot and had a good match striking time. At one point, he struck some matches and poked them in a slit in the side of the schoolhouse. The slot was the “post office” that had been used for many years to slide in love notes. They lit up and yes, he burned down the old schoolhouse! The way Garn told the story, the town said he should get his butt kicked for carrying matches at 7 years old, but that they should also treat him to a big candy bar for burning the fire trap down. They attended school in the church for the next few years.
Garn was highly successful throughout his life. He was proud that he graduated in 1949 from Panguitch High School with good grades. He received a mission call from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve in the Southwest Indian Mission in New Mexico, however the Draft Board would not let him go and told him he was soon to be drafted. He always expressed sadness over not being able to serve a mission. Garn had a strong testimony of the gospel and a deep abiding love for Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation. He also loved the Book of Mormon and read it multiple times throughout his life.
Not wanting to be in the Army, Garn quickly joined the Navy, which was an experience of a lifetime. Garn was very bright and loved to learn. This gift allowed him to excel in the Navy. He was in the Top 5% at Boot Camp, Top 2% at Torpedo School, and Top 1% in Submariner. He was the Top Aqua Lung Diver, Deep Sea Diver, and Hard Hat Diver. Garn also completed at the top of advance Under Water Diving, completing two escapes from one hundred feet with nothing but his swimsuit by free accent. Additionally, was certified as the top Motion Picture man, 3rd Class Mine Man, (Passed with High Scores), 2nd Class Mine Man (Passed with Very High Scores). He spent time on the West Coast; New Port, RI; New London, CT; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; and Japan and served on three different submarines - The Queen Fish 393, The Black Fin 321, and the Bugara 331. He loved his Navy brothers and was proud to be a Veteran.
After the Navy, Garn enrolled at Dixie College. One afternoon, when dropping off some film at Dixie Photo on Tabernacle, he met the love of his life, Dorothy Bradshaw, and her beautiful daughter Becky.
The first time Becky met Garn, she asked him, “Are you going to be my new daddy?” It did not take long before they were married in the St. George Temple on April 6, 1956.
In 1957, Garn transferred to Utah State University, in Logan, Utah where he received his BA in Aeronautics. Later that year, Garn and Dorothy experienced deep heartbreak with the stillborn birth of a beautiful baby boy named Dale Garn. Later, they were blessed by the births of two daughters, Ellen and Barbara, as well as the adoption of a blond two-year-old boy named Mark which completed their family.
Garn has had a highly successful and varied working career. While in Logan, he drove truck for the Hatch Company and worked evenings in Research & Development for Thyacol as a “rocket scientist.” Following graduation from USU they moved to St. George to run the airport and open a trampoline center on the Boulevard. After someone wrecked two airplanes, the Airport closed and the trampoline center was not doing well, so he left St. George for Salt Lake City to work as an engineer on the Minute Man Missiles for Hercules. Hercules transferred the family to Radford, Virginia where Garn helped the Church grow in a very tiny branch. He served as the District President and many other callings.
Eventually, missing the mountains and Utah, Garn left Hercules to continue his education. He went back to USU and received his master’s degree in Technology. Following graduation, the family moved to southern Utah, and they bought a home in Middleton, where Garn resided for 52 years until his death.
Garn was a professor for Dixie College in the Aeronautic Department and Head of the Welding Program for 23 years. He was a partner in starting up Sky West Airlines and worked a summer for Seaward, welding the top bars on the power lines as they built them through Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and on to California. He worked on a BLM Helicopter Fire Crew throughout the Western U.S. fighting many fires. He also became an instructor for PADI scuba diving and even helped his daughters Barbara and Ellen to certify as divers. Garn also built the Huntington Boat, RV, & Welding shop next to his home, running it for six years before selling it and building an apartment complex on his property. Despite being “retired” Garn has continued to manage the apartments and multiple homes as landlord, general maintenance man, landscaper, and yard work laborer until his passing.
One of Garn’s pleasures in life was his relationships and connections with his Navy brothers. He enjoyed many Submarine Reunions for over 30 years. They traveled and met all over the country including Florida, Connecticut, Utah, and Hawaii. As of Garn’s passing, there are only 3 other members of his Submarine brothers still alive.
Music was another passion for Garn. He was a very talented guitar and bass guitar player. He played with many different bands over the years and started a band playing the bass guitar with Bill Mathews as lead guitar/lead singer, Larry Staples as piano/singer, and Dorothy Huntington as drums/singer. Over the years, Garn and Dorothy traveled to many Bluegrass Festivals all over Utah, Idaho, and Arizona. They loved listening to the music. The last time Garn played his bass guitar was just 11 days before his death with the Old Time Fiddlers.
Garn has lived a full and active life, with multiple hobbies and interests. Although Garn had heart problems and received a mitral valve replacement in 2000, it didn’t slow him down one bit. Garn and his beloved wife Dorothy loved Square Dancing. They danced locally and at many national conventions for over 15 years. They bought two ATVs and logged many hours traveling through Utah, Arizona, and Nevada seeing the beautiful country. He became very active in the Mountain Man Rendezvous selling beads, leather, making knives, and hatchets. All three of Garn’s grandsons were blessed to attend many Rendezvous with him, saying he made the best fluffy pancakes in the world. He has spent many hours traveling, with many trips to West Yellowstone, Iowa, and Bountiful to visit family as well as vacations throughout the world with his daughters and their families.
Garn was an avid welder and enjoyed making Horseshoe Art. He was proud of winning “Best of Show” at the Utah State Fair in 1996 and 1997 with his Horseshoe Cowboy Band and His Horseshoe Cowboy Olympics Athletes. He made many pieces and was always designing new ones for his family, which they consider to be priceless. He was very active in the Ham Radio Club and enjoyed his association with the members by going to lunch and playing on the radio.
For anyone who knows Garn, also knows he was a wonderful storyteller. He could talk to anyone and tell them many stories. His stories are cherished by his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. He was known for being kind and friendly. He was very intelligent and able to talk about anything and everything. In the months preceding his death, he had told many of his family members how blessed he was and that he could die tomorrow knowing he had lived an amazing life. He will be deeply missed and is dearly loved. In Garn’s own words, “Hey! Don’t you cry for me. My word, I have had such a fantastic life! No one should shed a tear at my passing. After all, we all have to go this way.”
Garn was preceded in death by his parents; son Mark David Huntington; son Dale Garn Huntington; grandson Jason Bud Branham; sisters Reva Lowder, Beth Allred, and Mayall Sawyer; and brother Boyd Huntington.
He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Bradshaw Huntington, of 66 years; his daughters Becky (Nick) Hammer, Ellen (Bud) Branham, and Barbara Belyea; grandchildren Randi (Dave), Tina (Blake), Jessie (Robert), Tyler, Andee (Andrew), Kristi Dawn (Nate), Ciera (Lib), and Bridger (Courtney); and great grandchildren Gunner, Ashlynn, Nyah, KaBella, Treyson, Ruger, Citori, Shelbi, Brecken, Ryder, Junuh, Penley, and Krew.
A graveside service for Garn will be held on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, at 2:00 pm at the St. George City Cemetery, 650 E Tabernacle Street, St. George, Utah. There will be a visitation prior to the graveside service from 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm at Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff Street, St. George, Utah.
Arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S Bluff Street, St. George, Utah. 435-673-2454. Family and friends are invited to sign Garn’s online guest book at