Richard Frank Gaufin

December 28, 2019

Richard Frank Gaufin passed away peacefully on Dec. 28, 2019, at his home in Dammeron Valley, Utah. His wife and daughter were at his side. Born in Salt Lake City to Arden and Ruth Gaufin, he had a childhood filled with great adventures living in many places across the country as his father was in the service and completing his doctoral work. His primary sidekick was his beloved sister, Marilyn, who loved having a big brother to teach and protect her. They lived among people from many different cultures, races and religions, influencing Dick to respect and value diversity and differences throughout his life.

Dick was a lifelong learner, with a brilliant mind and a keen sense of wonder and possibility.  The family resettled in Salt Lake City in time for him to attend Olympus High School where he excelled in scholarship and sports. He graduated with honors from the University of Utah receiving his BS, MS, Ph.D. (Environmental Health), and a Post-doctorate (Clinical Psychology). He authored many professional publications and received recognition for his talent as a scientific researcher and professional.

He was proud of his legacy, daughter Kim. He and her mother, Susan Sowards (Mcfarland), were students when she was born. Kim started life inside a university setting (Cornell), and she inherited her father’s intelligence and his spirit for adventure and creativity. Although Susan and he divorced, he was able to provide Kim with guidance and support even though they were often separated by miles — but their hearts were always one. They traveled cross-country on many special adventures that bonded them in a special way.

Dick’s career was long and varied from working at the National Institutes of Health developing training to improve race relations, to working as a public health consultant with the Utah Department of Health. In between, he taught biology and psychology at many colleges around the country, referring to himself as an “itinerant professor.” He did community level counseling in Alcohol and Drug Addiction. In retirement, he continued to author papers on topics that he found interesting, including observations on political, religious and other community or organizational phenomena. 

Dick was a renaissance man. He enjoyed being outdoors. He created art, jewelry and woodworking (he built a boat).  He wrote poetry and poignant prose. He gardened, and then canned his produce, reproducing his grandmother’s recipes. 

Dick had long searched for his forever love and eternal companion, and he found that with Joyce. Together for 30 years, they enjoyed collaborating on work, traveling, parenting their many cats and dogs, and enjoying their blended family. He was a source of great support to Joyce’s daughters and grandsons.

Appreciation is given to his hospice nurse, Kathy Valadez, and his CNA, Sara Johnson Holt from Alliance Hospice Care. Special appreciation to grandson Derek, who provided loving care to Dick these last few years.

He is survived by his wife, Joyce Andersen Gaufin; daughter, Kimberly Smith; stepdaughters, Jennifer Cardwell and Emily Maxfield; sister, Marilyn Johnson (Ray); four grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; many nephews and nieces.

A memorial gathering/open house will be held Jan. 11, from 3-5 p.m. at the Dammeron Valley Community Center (Hyway 18 and Dammeron Valley Road East), where friends and neighbors may pay their respects. A Memorial Tribute will be held at Wasatch Memorial Mortuary in Salt Lake City on Jan. 18 from 2-3 p.m.  Obituary and details on services are available on-line at  Arrangements by Spilsbury Mortuary (St. George) and Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park and Mortuary (Salt Lake City).

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