Wayne Blair Garff, smitten husband, inspirational father of 6 children (and spouses) and doting grandfather of 22, passed away on April 19, 2020 in Los Angeles, CA from complications related to COVID-19. Born in San Francisco on May 3, 1942 to Wayne Brimhall and Jeanette Parry Garff, he was the oldest of 5 children. He was raised in Salt Lake City, attending Dilworth Elementary (President), Highland High School (among the first to paint the “H”), and the University of Utah (Engineering, Sigma Chi). At age 19 he served a 2-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the “Central States”, primarily in St. Louis Missouri, where 58 years of humanitarian service began. He married his Chi Omega sweetheart and forever companion Suzanne Jacob on December 17, 1965 in the Salt Lake City temple. They moved to St. Louis where Blair earned an MBA at Washington University and pursued a career in finance. That move served the dual purpose of obtaining higher education and returning to live and serve with the people he met on his mission. He was hired by Goldman Sachs and transferred to New York City in 1974. Blair and Sue spent the next 45 years in Scarsdale and White Plains, NY (minus a 2-year stint in La Cañada, CA) working for Paine Webber, TSA Capital Management, Miller Anderson & Sherred, and Morgan Stanley. Blair never truly retired. He sat on numerous advisory boards. Of late, he joined Mathusek Inc. as a board member and salesman. He always loved to promote a good product.
As a dedicated and faithful member of his church, Blair served in numerous positions including: Bishop of the Westchester Ward in Scarsdale NY, President of the Queens, NY District, President of the Enugu, Nigeria Mission, and President of the Manhattan, NY Temple, where he particularly enjoyed his assignment as a marriage sealer. At the time of his passing he was serving on the community outreach committee in NY.
His successful finance career only facilitated his goal to uplift and serve everyone he came in contact with. With demanding professional and ecclesiastical schedules, his children would say that he was “never home, but always there”, finding time to coach his kids’ sports teams and attending a wide variety of activities. He continued that tradition, taking frequent long trips by car or plane across the country to participate in the activities of his grandchildren.
In all areas of life he was a mentor,
We will do as much as we can, as fast as we can, for as long as we can.” counselor, confidant, father figure, and loyal friend to innumerable people, young and old. He loved traveling with Sue, great food (pass the salt), playing tennis, skiing on water and snow, throwing giggling children in the air, the Chalk Creek family cabin, and engaging with people anywhere he went. His formula was Service + Sacrifice = Love. He never stopped working as evidenced by expressing frustration at his lack of productivity from his hospital bed. He never stopped serving. His late-life motto was, “We will do as much as we can, as fast as we can, for as long as we can.”
He is survived by his wife Suzanne Jacob Garff; Siblings, Bob (Laurie), Rosie (Kerry) Merback, Pam (Gary) Quinn & Walt (Paula); Children, David (Jen), Brian (Ashley), Adam (Michelle), Cristopher (Marilee), Elizabeth Garff (Morgan) Harris, Traci Garff (Merril) Longmore, and 22 grandchildren.
A private family graveside Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, May 2nd, 2020. A recording of the service will be broadcast online, Sunday, May 3rd, his 78th birthday.
The family wishes to thank all of those who have shared and will continue to share memories and sympathy at this time. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to one of his three favorite charities: Hope Projects (hopeprojects.com), BYU International Center for Law & Religion Studies, and The LDS Humanitarian Aid Fund.
Life Story Info
My wife and I were blessed to serve a day each week for about 18 months as temple ordinance workers in the Manhattan Temple with President and Matron Garff. We loved serving with the assigned Temple Missionaries and District Ordinance workers under their leadership. That temple time was a highlight of each week.
As we were completing our 23 month mission service as Institute Teachers in the New York New York South Mission he lovingly took us aside and invited, enticed with a housing offer, and encouraged us to stay on as district ordinance workers. We almost did as we loved being there, and our temple service there as part of our mission service. President Garff was everything professional, friendly, and personal. Bless his memory.
I didn’t know Blair, but I served a mission with his son, Brian, who I admire and think the world of. Although I give Brian credit for the amazing man he is, I’m sure he got much of that from his father. I can’t help but think he was an incredible person. To Brian and the family I offer my condolences for the loss of your father and wish you the best going forward.
Julie and I will miss Blair very much, but are grateful for his example, joyous life, enthusiasm and hard work. We have loved serving with him in the temple, on our missions and with the International Center for Law and Religion Studies. We have treasured our travels together and all he taught us. Our prayers and faith go to Sue and family until the next great reunion. With much love, Dave and Julie Colton
Went through Electrical Engineering at the U of U with Blair. We both somehow managed to get through it all and graduate in good standing. We lost track of each other after college but I'll always remember the gentleman and the smile. Thinking of Sue and trust all the great memories sustain you going forward.
Our family was so fortunate to have Blair as our home teacher for many years. One memorable evening he brought Michael McLean to our home to play the piano and sing for us. Blair loved our family and was a great example to us - and we loved him. We played doubles tennis during the winter for many years at the Sound Shore Racquet Club with George Stoddard and Tim Ricks. I always admired his ability to balance family, church, friends, and work. He seemed to never lose his enjoyment of life. I sat with him one evening in metro north on the commute home; he noticed my payday candy bar and told me that for many years he rewarded himself with a payday bar every Friday night upon returning home from work. We mourn Blair’s passing and are so grateful for his love and friendship.
Paul, Patricia, Hannah, Jack, and Emma Fjeldsted