Marion Thornton Millett
Herriman, Utah – Marion Thornton Millett, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, and friend, passed away on January 21, 2022 in Herriman, Utah.
Dad was born April 13, 1926 in Cedar City, Utah, to Cambalena Hepworth and Loyal Unthank Millett. He was raised in Lake Arrowhead, California, along with his three siblings: Thelma (Karl Fenn-both dec.), Cecil (Sharon-dec.), Katherine (Dennis Cronin-dec.). Dad married the lovely Marybeth Geary in 1951. After 62 years of marriage, Mom preceded him in death in 2011. Their lives have been blessed by 12 children, 29 grandchildren, and 27 great-grandchildren.
Dad embodied a life of adventure. He was an explorer, a true outdoorsman, a consummate educator, and story teller. He did nothing small. Everything that he did and accomplished was done with precision and a full heart. Dad served in the Army Air Corps. during WWII, as a flight engineer, then served with the US occupation forces in Munich, Germany. Following his military service, he served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Netherlands, where he witnessed firsthand the peace and service missionaries brought to this war-torn area.
Dad pursued his education by completing his undergraduate work at USC, studying earth science. He then attended the University of Colorado, in Boulder, CO, earning a post graduate degree. Later, he was honored as a Carnegie Scholar at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where he earned his doctorate in Glaciology.
Having gained a great love of academia, Dad followed his heart into teaching at Brigham Young University, where he taught earth science and geology, becoming the Geography Department Chair. During this time, he also participated in glacial research in Alaska for the American Geographical Society and the US Forest Service. Dad spent many summers exploring and documenting glacial changes. His work is considered the standard of glacial origins today. As children, some of us had the opportunity to spend summers with him. These memories are treasures to us and have helped us to embrace the majesty and power of Mother Nature. Dad and Mom shared a great love for Mother Earth!
After several years at BYU, Dad left teaching to work in the gas, oil, and power industry. He is widely recognized for his work in these fields of exploration.
Upon retirement, Mom and Dad were able to serve a mission together in Laie, Hawaii, where Dad returned to his teaching roots at BYU Hawaii. Dad has served with joy in many church assignments throughout his life, but particularly cherished his service in the Jordan River and Oquirrh Mountain Temples.
Mom and Dad had a desire to build their ‘retirement’ home in the country, which took them to Herriman, Utah. Dad became the “Principal Incorporator of the City of Herriman”. He personally gathered the signatures required for incorporation, beating the annexation by Riverton by mere hours. Refusing the Governor’s request to become the first mayor of the city, Dad instead recommended another gentleman, and gladly served on the City Council for several years.
Dad and Mom left a legacy of unselfish service. They were generous and kind to everyone they met, and it could be said the they knew no stranger. Through the years there have been many who have benefitted from their love and their giving spirits. They held nothing back when they saw a need.
Dad is survived by his children: Ellen (Richard Manookin), Patricia and Sioeli Su’a, Susan, Margaret, Phillip (Gretta), David (Kathryn), Marshall (Karen), Rozanne, Elizabeth (David Lloyd), Martha, Emma (Richard Scherer), his grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, brother Cecil, sister Kate, sister-in-law Rozanne. Preceded in death by his beloved wife Marybeth, his parents, sister Thelma, and son-in-law Todd Greenfield.
The family wishes to recognize the love, friendship, and support of many neighbors, ward members, and extended family through the years. The family will gather to celebrate his life at a later date.
Published by Deseret News from Apr. 11 to Apr. 13, 2022.