Utah businessman and philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr. dies

Jon M. Huntsman Sr. dies at age 80 Feb. 2 2018. Huntsman was a prominent philanthropist, businessman and former Area Seventy for the LDS Church. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Friends, family and colleagues are mourning the loss of Utah businessman, philanthropist and former LDS Church Area Seventy Jon M. Hunstman Sr., who died Friday, Feb. 2, 2018.

He was 80.

Huntsman battled cancer for many years and played a large role in finding a cure for the disease, as a four-time cancer survivor himself. Huntsman’s wife, Karen, created the Huntsman Cancer Institute in 1995 and the Huntsman Cancer Foundation shortly thereafter to help fund the institute and its research.

In an official statement, head of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation and Jon Sr.’s son Peter Huntsman said the foundation remains dedicated to the fight against cancer.

“The most effective way to honor our founder and chairman is to carry on his passion and vision until we accomplish our objective, the eradication of cancer,” Peter Huntsman said.

Huntsman was also an active player in the political world. He ran for Utah governor in 1988, served as Utah’s GOP national committeeman, and was the Utah chairman for the Reagan and Bush campaigns in the 1984, 1988 and 1992 elections.

In response to the news of Huntsman’s passing, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement sending its condolences to the family.

“We share today in the grief of the Huntsman family. We honor Jon as a cherished husband, father and friend, esteemed as a leader for his exceptional capacity, commitment, philanthropy and service throughout the world. We express our love to Karen, to their children and family. Jon’s legacy of faithful leadership, generosity and goodness stands as a beacon for the entire Huntsman family and many others throughout the world.”

In 2009 Hunstman visited the BYU campus and delivered a devotional address titled “God Did Not Put Us Here to Fail.”

In his address Huntsman encouraged students to have faith in themselves and work hard in pursuit of their dreams.

“Always keep in mind that nothing meaningful can come your way without integrity, and integrity is often challenged by adversity. Never let the accumulation of wealth in itself be a goal,” Huntsman said. “But, above all else, believe in yourself, and between you and the Lord your dreams can and will come true, and in your pursuit of your dream, never, never forget others.”

Huntsman is survived by his wife, Karen, sons Jon Jr., Peter and James; and 56 grandchildren. He is remembered as a kind, generous and hard-working man whose legacy is evident throughout Utah.

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