G.H. “Moose” Barkdull passed away March 20th, 2024 after a short but courageous battle with cancer. His final moments were spent surrounded by his family as together they laughed, cried, shared sweet memories and listened to Moose singing along to “Drinking Champagne” by George Strait.

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A cowboy at heart, Moose was born Gail Howard Barkdull on March 4th 1949 in Salt Lake City, UT and spent his early childhood in Kaysville until he moved to Rose Park at the age of 6 when his mom remarried. He grew up a block away from the baseball field featured in “The Sandlot” and has memories of playing baseball and other games on “the sandlot field” as a young boy. Moose joined the Air Force in 1967 during the Vietnam war and worked as a fighter jet mechanic on the 7th Maintenance Squadron, 4879th Air Group at Hill Air Force Base. In May of 1970 he was involved in a violent car accident that resulted in severe bodily injury and broken bones requiring 13 hours of surgery, 8 days in a coma, 3 months in the hospital and 9 months of therapy to relearn how to walk and fully recover. Moose was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1971 at the rank of sergeant due to injuries sustained in this accident. One of the effects of his injuries was memory loss. Moose always told us that for him, life started in 1970 and not 1949 since many of his childhood memories were blotted out due to the memory loss he sustained in the accident.

During his single years, Moose spent much of his time ranching Judd Ranch in Spring Canyon with friends Bill Judd, Dave Wilde, and Ross Pace. Moose spent weeks riding his beloved horse Harley gathering the sheep herd on the mountain, putting up and taking down lay-down fences, and working all the other hard and dusty chores associated with ranching work. He spoke fondly of his ranching days and said some of the best times in his life were spent up Spring Canyon, ranching with the boys. Moose rode for the brand and left his unmistakable mark on the trail and in the lives of all the friends he worked alongside.

Moose was also a member of the HOG (Harley group) and in 1992, while out biking with a Harley gang, he finally found the right woman and was married on March 28th of that year. With this marriage to Suzette Johnson, Moose not only became a loving husband, but also step-father to 5 children. Owing to the bad experiences he endured from his own step father as a child, Moose was determined to be a good step-father to the children Suzette brought into his life. These children, now grown, will all agree that “step-father” is not the correct term. Moose became a father figure to them all, and legally adopted Dirk and Paulette as his own children. He may have appeared rough on the outside, but Moose was a loving protector and provider to his family. He cared deeply for their success and development and showed this through his actions, working hard and sacrificing much for their well being and comfort throughout his life.

Moose also enjoyed fly fishing and golf, and made many of his children and grandchildren fly rods by hand, inviting them to the sport and finding many great memories (and lots of fish) with them on the river using his hand-tied flies.

Moose’s other true calling in life was in public service, beginning with Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office in 1973, the South Salt Lake Police Department in 1975 and then joined South Salt Lake Fire Department in 1977 which began a long and illustrious career working as a firefighter. Moose worked his way up the ranks from Lieutenant to Captain and on to Deputy Fire Chief at 35 years old. He served in this position until 1985 and during his employment began a new department for the newly created West Valley City. Moose has countless stories of his many experiences during his time as a firefighter. He made many friends, saved lives, saved buildings, destroyed other buildings, fought fires, delivered babies, and each day was a new adventure and a completely different and unexpected call. Those he served alongside, including Steve Foote, John Evans, Jim Hill, Kevin Bowman and many others became trusted lifelong friends. He spoke many times of how he never disliked his job, and never had a morning where he didn’t want to go into work. He retired in August of 2007 as Battalion Chief with 30 years of experience, 24 of which were spent serving as Deputy and Battalion Chief. Despite the many awards and public recognition received during his tenure, he frequently stated that the proudest accomplishment of his entire career was that none of the firefighters working under his charge were ever seriously injured or killed. Moose was a true protector and worked hard to ensure his team went home safe to their families every night.

Moose was truly one-of-a-kind. Moose touched and influenced so many lives it is impossible to convey in a single obituary. He gained many friends throughout his life and was well respected in many circles, and by all who knew him. One of his characteristics that many will remember him by was his ability to tell stories of the crazy experiences he lived through during his life and career. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.

Moose is survived by his wife Suzette, daughters Paulette (Justin), Corinda, Tonja and sons Dirk and Jason and grandchildren Addie, Taisley, Bentley, Gracie, Kinsley, Kallie, Brindlee, Taidge, Journey, Taiya (Corey) and Kambry (Brandon). He was preceded in death by his Mother Doris.

A celebration of Moose's life will be held Friday, March 29th from 12:00-2:30 P.M. with a light luncheon at the Layton Northridge Stake Center building located at 2375 East 3225 North, Layton, UT. Graveside service to follow at 3:00 PM at the Layton Lindquist Mortuary 1867 North Fairfield Road, Layton, UT.

Life Story Info

Author

Justin Barton

Post Date

Mar 23, 2024

Personal Info

Born

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Died

Ogden, Utah, United States

Cause of Death

Cancer

Age

75

Gender

Male

Occupation

Fire Department

Military Affiliation

  • Air Force
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Guestbook

What I will always remember is my uncle moose loved my aunt Suzette so much. She loved him just as much. We all will miss u Moose!!

Ryan Johnson , Renton, WA, US Apr 03, 2024

What I will always remember is my uncle moose loved my aunt Suzette so much. She loved him just as much. We all will miss u Moose!!

Ryan Johnson , Renton, WA, US Apr 03, 2024

I attended West High School with Moose and he was a kind and wonderful person. We both were in the band at West and had many good times and laughs.

Rest in peace, my friend.

Jack and Karla Matheson , West Valley, UT, US Apr 01, 2024

I worked with Moose in 1973 at the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office. He was a great guy to work with.

Kevin Gray , Salt Lake City, UT, US Mar 25, 2024

I had the pleasure of riding motorcycles with Moose in the late 80’s on. As is so often life changes and we move on in different directions. I haven’t seen Moose in a few years but the memories will live on forever. I definitely enjoyed the time and countless hours we spent on the road. Ride safe brother.

Mark Tondro , West Jordan , UT, US Mar 24, 2024

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