SALT LAKE CITY — He went from a poor Idaho boy to the head of a multi-billion-dollar business empire. Jon Hunstman, Senior, died today at the age of 80.
The business mogul served in the Nixon Administration, he founded a giant packing company and created a foundation that has poured money into cancer research and other public programs. (More on his accomplishments here)
Jon Huntsman Sr., served as special assistant and staff secretary to President Nixon. Pictured with his family in the Oval Office in 1971. pic.twitter.com/LGtIaoFRlu
— Nixon Foundation (@nixonfoundation) February 2, 2018
It didn’t come easy. Huntsman struggled as young man to get business experience and financing while simultaneously supporting a young family and serving in his church.
“Throughout these early years the thought came to me repeatedly, the difficulties in life are designed to make us better not bitter,” Huntsman said in a 2009 devotional at BYU, “God did not put us on this earth to fail.”
Jeanette and I are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of our friend Jon M. Huntsman, Sr. Our hearts are with his wife Karen, and the entire Huntsman family. pic.twitter.com/kKB49WmOmT
— Gov. Gary Herbert (@GovHerbert) February 2, 2018
Reaction continues to pour in as news of the man’s death spreads. Among the tears are words of respect and admiration for the man.
Governor Gary Herbert released a statement calling Huntsman a “visonary” man who was a champion for the state, “We have lost a giant in our state history. His influence is felt far beyond the borders of Utah. He is one of the greatest Utahns ever to live.”
Several other Utah politicians also tweeted their appreciation for the man and his life work.
I would not be the member of Congress I am without Jon Huntsman Senior’s friendship and guidance.
I hear his voice frequently as I vote in the House: “Be the kind of Representative that Utah deserves.”
Thank you, Jon. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without you. pic.twitter.com/hQfBXaCM8a
— Rep. Mia Love (@RepMiaLove) February 3, 2018
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) February 2, 2018
— Mayor Ben McAdams (@MayorBenMcAdams) February 2, 2018
My statement on the passing of Jon Huntsman, Sr. pic.twitter.com/oQ1V2FH7oj
— Mayor J. Biskupski (@slcmayor) February 2, 2018
Fred Esplin, Vice President of Advancement at the University of Utah, said he first met Hunstman while serving as an intern in D.C.
“I could not have imagined at that time in the 70’s what he would go on to accomplish in life,” Esplin said, listing the Huntsman Cancer Institute as his greatest legacy. “It’s really due to his vision and persistence that has created this world class treatment center and facility.”
Huntsman’s son, Peter, released a statement as well today, saying the best way to honor his father is to continue the fight against cancer until it is completely erradicated.
“His vision for philanthropy went well beyond his own life. That’s clear.” Esplin said.
More reaction on his death:
We’re deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Jon Huntsman, Sr. The generous support of the Huntsman Family Foundation has enriched our education outreach and QTalks speaker series. We send our condolences to his family in this difficult time. https://t.co/e24y3HSch6
— Equality Utah (@EqualityUtah) February 3, 2018
We are deeply saddened by the loss of Mr. Huntsman Sr. Words can’t express our gratitude for his lifetime of service for our community. Our thoughts and love are with the Huntsman Family. pic.twitter.com/GEPVqrLLfU
President Pershing has given this statement on behalf of the U as we mourn the passing of Jon M. Huntsman Sr., who did so much for education, health and science, and those in need. We send love and condolences to his wife Karen and all his family. https://t.co/OQs59Du2J6 pic.twitter.com/mEPQ00I2FH
— Ruth V. Watkins (@RuthVWatkins) February 3, 2018
Mr. Huntsman has been a tremendous benefactor, but it would be severely shortsighted to talk about his impact on our Aggie family exclusively in terms of philanthropy. His love for students was clear and ingrained deeply in his heart. – President Cocketthttps://t.co/4prrdJeqDg
— Utah State University (@USUAggies) February 3, 2018
— The Road Home (@TheRoadHomeUT) February 3, 2018
Jon Huntsman’s benevolent goodness will be deeply missed by the people of Utah. We respect and honor him for his selfless devotion to cancer patients, his drive to add world-class cancer facilities to the state, and his relentless push to eradicate all cancer. https://t.co/1jj76n8xsH
— Intermountain (@Intermountain) February 3, 2018
When he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, my grandpa wasn’t supposed to live more than six months. Thanks to the @huntsmancancer Center he was with us for 2 yrs. Due to Jon Huntsman’s incredible generosity, I now possess special memories of my grandpa I may never have had. https://t.co/47PqlBJBH1
— Oakley Nelson (@OakleyDNelson) February 3, 2018
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