Thomas Henry Garrett passed away on February 9, 2020 in Panguitch Utah, after enduring a long fight with Congestive Heart Failure. Born in LaVoye, Wyoming on November 2, 1926, during the Roaring Twenties and at the doorstep of the Depression, Dad entered the world as part of, what would become known as, “The Greatest Generation”.
Growing up during the Depression, having to deal with shortages of everything, led to a life of collecting, hoarding, and always looking for a good deal. Not one to really save money, Dad never saw a bargain that he didn’t like. Dad’s savings account was a yard full of treasures that could be sold if he needed extra cash. An unexpected medical bill? Just sell an old tractor or some other relic. Heaven only knows what he sold when the four of us were born. He was also the quintessential “Shade tree mechanic”, and a very good one, so maybe we all rated an engine overhaul or some other repair, to pay our hospital delivery bill.
Dad finished High School in the first semester of his senior year and immediately went to work at the Lockheed Vega aircraft plant, in Burbank, CA. Dad then entered the United States Coast Guard on Oct. 23, 1944, during WWII. After boot camp and Fireman School, Fireman 2nd Class Garrett headed to the Kaiser Shipyard in Portland OR and became part of the commissioning crew on the USS Gen CH Muir, a heavily armed troop transport. The Muir set sail from San Francisco delivering troops to Pearl Harbor, Eniwetok, Ulithi and Leyte Gulf. At Leyte the Muir loaded casualties bound for New York and was the first troop ship to carry battle casualties through the Panama Canal. After sailing around the world, participating in escorting and supplying troops along with other missions, Dad was discharged on May 15, 1946.
Dad met Alice Anne McQuary, in Kagel Canyon CA after returning home from the service. Following a lengthy courtship of two weeks, he asked her to marry him tying the knot on Sept. 21, 1946. Mom and Dad moved to Acton, California, where his parents owned property, and set up their household in an old schoolhouse built in 1890. This new home featured a very private 4-hole outhouse, no electricity, a heated kitchen, and a laundry tub to bathe in located just inside the back door. Add a windmill to pump water, what more could a new wife ask. Dad eventually went on to complete an AA degree at Antelope Valley Junior College, graduating with honors. Upon moving up to Acton, Dad went to work for the Antelope Valley High School District in Lancaster as a mechanic and school bus driver and later in charge of the bus garage at Palmdale HS, eventually driving bus #42, from the time he brought it out from Ohio until both he and the bus retired.
Early in their marriage Dad made one of his rare sound financial decisions and bought a large piece of property across the riverbed from town and eventually built a new home. We had electricity and an indoor bathroom in the new house. Turning on a switch for lights was a new thing. During this same time period Mom and Dad started raising foster children, providing a family life that many never had, eventually caring for over 20 children. Dad did a lot of community service work in his early years serving on the local school board and Acton Community club. In addition, Dad started and operated the TriCan club, which took groups of young adults and children to places like Disneyland, Knots Berry Farm, Marineland and many other attractions in Southern CA, trips that many of them would have never been able to go on otherwise.
After retiring from the Antelope Valley High School District, Dad worked at a High School in Baldwin Park CA and finally the High School in Grass Valley CA. After selling their property in Acton and eventually moving to Grass Valley they began building a new home on property that they had purchased. Now Dad was always good at “starting” but never quite figured out the “completing” part. Eventually they sold the property in Grass Valley and moved on to Buffalo WY after an interim stop in Mina NV. They bought a home in Buffalo and soon “started” another expansion nearly doubling the size and it too was never completed. As Dad’s health began deteriorating, they moved first to Sequim WA, for a few years, and on to Panguitch UT. Dad has been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for over 40 years.
Dad leaves behind Alice, his wife for 73 years, two sons, Tym Garrett and Steve Garrett plus two daughters, Judy Escoto and Rose Iverson, foster sons Dave Ferruzzi and Gary Laurent, and younger brother David Garrett; additionally, there are 12 Grandchildren and more Great-grandchildren than I can remember.
The family is forever in debt to the Doctors, Nurses and other staff members at Garfield Memorial Hospital for the wonderful care they have provided.
Services will be held on February 14, 2020 at the Panguitch Utah Church of Latter-Day Saints, 178 North 400 East, Panguitch Utah. There will be a lunch, put on by the Relief Society, right after the grave side service. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to The Red Rock Center for Independence at 435-673-7501 or(www.RRCI.org) in the name of Thomas H. Garrett.