Gene Heaton

Gene (Sterling Eugene) Heaton, 21 July 1930 – 21 June 2024

93-year-old, Gene Heaton, snuck out of town in the early morning hours of June 21st, 2024, to rejoin with loved ones on the other side of the veil.

Gene was born in Kanab, Utah to Sterling Heaton and Jane Myrtle White. He spent his early years roaming the hills around Moccasin, Arizona where he learned to work hard in the fields, looking after the cattle, trapping, and helping his dad build reservoirs in Pipe Valley. 

He started school in Moccasin’s one room schoolhouse and later attended school in Fredonia, Arizona. During his high school years he met his future wife, Ramona Judd. Gene attended Branch Agricultural College in Cedar City, Utah, where he pursued his studies and excelled in sports, particularly basketball and track.

Gene and Ramona were married on April 13, 1950, in the Mesa, Arizona Temple and settled in Fredonia, where Gene built their family home and raised their five children and bonus son.

To support his family, he worked for Arland Brooksby in his service station and delivered gas throughout the area. Gene eventually purchased the station and became the proud owner of Gene’s Conoco. He helped maintain Fredonia’s culinary water system, served as watermaster, and delivered freight. He was a cowboy at heart following in the path of his Heaton heritage. As an expensive “side hobby,” he and his dad ran cows on the Arizona Strip and raised alfalfa in Moccasin.

Gene was called as Scoutmaster of BSA Troop #366. For nineteen years he taught young men skills they would use throughout their lives. He was honored with the Silver Beaver Award. He was a devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in many callings including bishop of the Fredonia 2nd Ward. Gene was known as a humble, kindhearted, man of few words. He lived a life of service to his family, his Father in Heaven, the town and people of Fredonia, and many others.

Gene and Ramona enjoyed supporting their children in their various activities. They loved making memories with their children and grandchildren. They were happily married for 51 years when Ramona passed.

Gene found love and happiness again when he married Merlyn Carlley McCormick on April 18, 2003. They enjoyed twenty-one years together. They spent their time caring for cattle, four wheeling, geocaching, fishing, staying at their cabin on Kolob Mountain, and spending time with their family. Merlyn lovingly cared for Gene until his death. He deeply loved her.

Gene was preceded in death by his wife Ramona, parents Sterling and Myrtle Heaton, sister Jane Ione Johnson son Bart Heaton, son-in-law Scott Bentley, and grandson Nathan Bentley. He is survived by his wife Merlyn, children Brad (Mary Jo) Heaton, Peggy Bentley (Keith) Blomquist, Kurt (Pauline) Heaton, Bob Miller, Cindy (Brad) Griffiths, 17 grandchildren, 41 great-grandchildren and 6 great-great grandchildren.

The family would like to express our deepest gratitude to Jordon Hatch and the Zions Way staff for their care and compassion, Steve and Barbara Winward for their love and support and to all those who loved and took care of Gene. Also special thanks to Mosdell Mortuary.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, July 13, at 11:00 AM (AZ) in Fredonia, Arizona at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint chapel. Viewings will be held Friday July 12, from 6:00-7:00 PM (AZ) at the Mosdell Mortuary in Kanab, Utah and Saturday from 9:30-10:45 AM (AZ) at the Fredonia chapel. Interment will follow at the Fredonia City Cemetery.

You are invited to watch the services through the Zoom link below.

Meeting ID: 882 6070 2804

Passcode : 072521



  1. Esther Farrow June 29, 2024 at 1:22 am - Reply

    I’m saddened at Uncle Gene’s passing but at the same time happy at the joyful family reunion he is having right now. Uncle Gene was known in my family as a “double uncle” since my mom and Ramona were sisters and he was dad’s first cousin. What a bonus. I remember walking over to Genes Conoco on Saturdays with a dime to by a soda from the pop machine there. He was so patient that he would explain to me what he was doing in the station almost every time. As a curious kid, I loved it. What an Uncle!

  2. Sharee Walker June 29, 2024 at 1:38 am - Reply

    Like most people in Fredonia, Gene and Ramona were like family to me. He was awesome to all of the kids and let us use his shop to change bike tires, etc. Cindy and I are distant cousins as well as being great friends! I know Gene is going straight to heaven to be with our many loved ones!!♡♡

  3. Jim Black June 29, 2024 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    I remember Gene as a Scoutmaster when I was 12-13. The many lessons learned at his tutelage have lasted a lifetime. What a great Scoutmaster he was! While I offer condolences to his family, his influence and teachings will always be remembered.

  4. Jessie Burraston June 29, 2024 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    He was my great uncle! He and Aunt Ramona lived kitty corner across from my Grandma Arlene Pointer. He was always such a kind loving man as I remember. I went to uncle Gene and Aunt Ramonas often as a child. See you again someday uncle Gene.

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