Hyrum Wayne Smith

October 16, 1943 — November 18, 2019

Hyrum Wayne Smith, age 76, of Gunlock, Utah, died surrounded by his family in his home at Eagle Mountain Ranch, on Nov. 18, 2019.  He was born Oct.16, 1943, to Joseph Fielding and Ruth Pingree Smith in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was raised in Honolulu, Hawaii as a consequence of his family moving there when he was three years old, where his father was the head of the speech department at the University of Hawaii.  

He graduated from University High School in 1961. He attended Brigham Young University for a year followed by a semester at New York Queens College before serving two years in the British Mission, London England for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While there, he met his wife to be, Avenna Gail Cooper on Nov. 19, 1964. A day he has always remembered. 

Following his time in England as a missionary, he was drafted into the United States Army. He participated in the standard Basic Training followed by Advanced Infantry Training (AIT), NCO Academy (Non-Commissioned Officer Academy) and Officer Candidate School (OCS) finishing as the Honor Graduate and top in his class in all four trainings.

A few days after graduating from OCS at Fort Sill, Oklahoma as a Second Lieutenant, he married his sweetheart, Gail Cooper on Dec. 21, 1966 in the St. George Utah Temple. They were ultimately blessed with six children and 24 grandchildren.

After his marriage to Gail, the newlyweds returned to Fort Sill and Hyrum attended the Pershing Missile Officers Course. He was then assigned to a nuclear capable Pershing Missile unit in Schwaebisch Gmeund, Germany where he was initially Firing Platoon leader, followed by being the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery Commander. He retired from the military to attend BYU where he graduated in 1971 in Business Management.

Since then he has lived with his family in Honolulu, Hawaii; Portland, Oregon; Ventura, California; Simi Valley, California; Centerville, Utah; St. George, Utah, with the last 20 years being spent at his beloved Eagle Mountain Ranch in Gunlock, Utah.

Before his passing, Hyrum specifically stipulated that he did not want a long obituary. That is a difficult task to obey. So, to be as brief as possible, the below list describes some of the events or aspects of his life that he looked back on with great fondness and pride:

  1. He is grateful for the experiences he had with his “17 Cool Priests” as the Boy Scouts Explorer advisor in Orem Utah.
  2. He loved the three years that he and Gail presided over the California Ventura mission
  3. He is very proud of the impact that the Franklin Day Planner has had on hundreds of thousands of people.  He co-founded Franklin Quest in 1983 and helped to develop the Franklin Day Planner. The company bought Stephen R. Covey’s leadership company in 1997 and changed the name to FranklinCovey. Hyrum has traveled the world teaching people how to gain control of their lives and to bridge the gap between what they value most and what they are actually doing about it.
  4. He loved serving on the board of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College for several years. He loved his time in the army as a young man and the relationships he built with his “band of brothers” OCS classmates. He loved his country and honored all men and women who served or who are serving in all branches of the U.S. military.
  5. He is very proud of what Tuacahn Center for the Arts has become. He helped found and fund Tuacahn from its very first show, “Utah,” in 1995. It transitioned into doing Broadway shows in 1999. Hyrum has served on the board in several different capacities, including Chairman, and was fulfilling a Vice-Chairman role when he passed. Tuacahn has delighted audiences with top-quality professional family entertainment, provided opportunities for performers and education for students for nearly 25 years as well as having a dramatic positive impact on the economy in the greater St. George area. 
  6. He and Gail have been very generous to many other institutions and individuals about which they have chosen to remain anonymous.
  7. He loved spending time at his ranch home with his family.

Over the years, Hyrum has received numerous honors and community service awards, including: 

  • Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America.
  • 1992 SRI Gallup Hall of Fame and Man of the Year Award.
  • International Entrepreneur of the Year by Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of management in 1993. 
  • He has served on several boards of directors and national advisory councils and has been the recipient of three honorary doctorate degrees.
  • Inducted into the Utah Business Hall of Fame.
  • Utah Governor declared Sept. 27, “Tuacahn Day” in honor of Hyrum.

His military awards include:

  • U.S. Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal.
  • National Defense Service Medal.
  • Good conduct medal.
  • Distinguished Member of the U.S. Army OCS Hall of Fame.
  • Member of the Artillery OCS Hall of Fame.
  • Ancient Order of Saint Barbara.
  • Honorable Order of Saint Barbara.
  • Honor Graduate of Artillery Officer Candidate School.

Hyrum is the author of several nationally acclaimed books including “What Matters Most,” “The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management,” “The 3 Gaps,” and “You Are What you Believe.” His most recent book is “Purposeful Retirement.” 

Hyrum never really retired; he just changed the focus on where he was spending his time. After retiring from FranklinCovey, he co-founded several other entrepreneurial ventures, his most recent being a company called Ampelis, which continues Hyrum’s interest in helping individuals and corporations gain control of their lives.

Hyrum was passionate in his effort to make a positive difference in the world. For decades he strove to empower people to effectively govern their personal and professional lives. His books, seminars and presentations have been acclaimed by both American and international audiences. He was a master communicator, combining wit and good storytelling to teach principles that incite lasting personal change. 

Hyrum traveled with his wife Gail all over the world for both business and pleasure. He loved riding his horses and spending time at his ranch, watching a good movie, visiting with friends, following current events, operating his blower to drive leaves and debris out of his garage and off his walks, eating good food (never without a napkin), and Sunday taco afternoons with children and grandchildren. He loved to attend the sports, music and dance events of his grandchildren whenever possible. He also loved the American flag and proudly displayed it everywhere it could possibly be displayed. 

He hated when something didn’t work, such as computers, phones, media machines, vacuums or appliances. He couldn’t function well until it was fixed. He also hated messes of any kind and always had on hand a generous supply of 409 spray bottles for any cleaning need that might come up.

When he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, he was asked what was on his bucket list that he would like to do in the time he had left. He said, “I just want to stay here” – meaning Eagle Mountain Ranch.

Hyrum is survived by his wife Gail, five of his children: Glenna and husband Ed Burdick, Stacie and husband Larry Shurtliff, Joseph and wife Katie Smith, Rebecca Smith, Jacob and wife Emilee Smith; 22 grandchildren; his brothers Joe Smith and Denis Smith; and his sister Pauline Jensen. He is preceded in death by his daughter, Sharwan Smith; two granddaughters, Shilo and Abby Shurtliff; sisters, Ruth Silver, Ida Smith, Lynn Partridge; and his parents, Joseph and Ruth Smith.

The Smith Family would like to especially thank the many friends that came to visit, called on the phone, sent emails and cards and brought food in the last few months of Hyrum’s life. It meant the world to him. The family would also like to thank the nurses from Dixie Hospice for the excellent service they provided. 

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, at noon at the Ivins Stake Center, 260 E. 1060 South, Ivins, Utah. There will be overflow facilities available in the adjacent ward house. A visitation will be held Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, from 6-8 p.m. at Tuacahn Center for the Arts Ballroom, 1100 N. Tuacahn Drive, Ivins, Utah. A private Interment will be in the Gunlock Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Hyrum & Gail Smith Tuacahn Legacy Endowment.  

Arrangements entrusted to the care of Metcalf Mortuary, 435-673-4221. Please visit our website at metcalfmortuary.com for condolences, complete obituary and funeral listings.

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