Gary Grant Daniels, 89, passed away in Murray, Utah on 4 November 2023. Born in Mount Pleasant, UT, on 23 October 1934, Gary was the son of Charles Henry Daniels and Alice Henrietta Anderson.
As a child, Gary described himself as a teaser and as a budding pugilist. A lifelong friend and Mt. Pleasant neighbor said that Gary “was a good fighter!” However, as he grew, those characteristics matured into an engaging sense of humor, a big, loving heart, and a willingness to pitch in and help wherever needed.
His growing years were mostly divided between Mt. Pleasant, UT and Eureka, UT, as his father alternately worked in farming and mining.
Gary graduated from Tintic High School in Eureka, and on Valentine's Day of the following year, he married his high school classmate, Nelda Childs. They soon had a son (Derek), but the marriage only lasted a few years. Gary was inducted into the US Army in 1957 and was selected for the President's Honor Guard, Company B, Third Infantry ("The Old Guard"), serving in Fort Myer Virginia.
After his honorable discharge from active duty, he returned to Utah. On 3 February 1961, he was married in Salt Lake City, by a local judge, to Gwen Eileen Madill, whom he described as “the person who would be the love of my life.” He felt very blessed to “get two girls for the price of one,” since marrying Gwen also made him father to her beautiful daughter, Cindy, whom he adopted as his own. His marriage to Gwen was later (1975) solemnized in the Salt Lake Temple. In speaking about Gwen, Gary often quoted Ray Price in singing “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.” The family was later completed when their “handsome son, Jeffrey” was born.
Hard work was one of the enduring examples he set. Whether it was mining in Eureka, packing meat at Cudahy in North Salt Lake, mink ranching in Syracuse, or establishing his own long-haul trucking enterprise, he always did whatever was necessary to support his family. During his thirties, in order to build a more consistent career, he managed to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Weber State College. Gradually, he carved out a career in accounting and human resources, ultimately retiring as the HR manager for the Salt Palace Convention Center.
Gary loved the outdoors and athletics. In his younger years he participated in boxing, basketball, golf, racquetball, etc. In fact, he often lamented that he probably should have been a basketball coach. He and some other family members had Utah Jazz season seats when they played at the Salt Palace. He was a John Wayne fan, enjoyed westerns, and also had a great appreciation for the history and culture of western Native American tribes. He also enjoyed camping, fishing, and 4-wheeling trips. When he retired, he and two of his brothers bought a property in Scofield and built a nice cabin he called “the Villa.” The Villa was the site of many wonderful reunions for the extended families of Gary and his siblings.
Above all, Gary loved, supported, and invested in his family. He and Gwen devoted endless service in caring for his aging parents and later helped however possible with each of his siblings and their spouses. Whenever invited, as long as circumstances allowed, they were always present at children's and grandchildren’s events. They always remembered special days like birthdays and anniversaries. And they tried to establish and support family traditions.
Not long after moving to their home in Murray, Gary and Gwen became actively involved members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For more than five decades, Gary served his Savior, the church and friends and neighbors in many callings. For example, in his fifties he was asked to serve as bishop, and had a heart attack one week later! The call was delayed until he recovered, and he then served faithfully for five and a half years. He was always regarded by the extended family as a spiritual leader and was often called upon to give blessings or serve in some other way.
His departure leaves a void for those of us left behind, but we rejoice with him to be reunited with those who had gone ahead. He was predeceased by his parents and four of his siblings and some of their spouses: sister Betty (and husbands Bernard Burnside and Kent Broadhead); brother Mont; brother Dennis (and wife Milly); and sister Patsy Joan.
He is survived by his wife, Gwen; his brother Michael (Karen); a sister-in-law Mary Jean (Mont); and three children. From his son Derek (Karen), he has five grandchildren: Joshua (Amy); Katherine; Emily (Jefferson) Van Bloem; Elisabeth (Carson) Berrett; Rachel (Brock) Bateman. And from his daughter Cindy, he has four grandchildren: Gregory Lawrence (Bethany); Aaron Lawrence (Amanda); Daniel Lawrence; Sean Lawrence (Megan). From his son Jeff (SueZett), he has five grandchildren: Roman (Melanie); Jaren; JoAnn (Tyler) Losee; Richard Blackhurst; Ronald Blackhurst (Jori). Gary’s growing posterity now includes 23 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held at Millcreek Stake on Saturday, 11 November 2023. The address is 4220 S Jeannine Dr, Millcreek, UT. The viewing will start at 10:30 with the memorial service immediately following. Interment will then be at Memorial Mountain View Cemetery, 3115 Bengal Blvd, Cottonwood Heights, UT.
A live stream of Gary's funeral service will be available on this page on November 11 at 11:30am.