Joseph Kent Giles, age 95, a 10-year resident of St. George, Utah, passed away February 2, 2016 in the arms of his sweetheart, Joyce, while surrounded by loving family members.
Kent was born October 26, 1920 in Heber City, Utah, the ninth of twelve children born to Thomas Monroe and Martha Rachel Buys Giles.
Kent grew up on his parents’ homestead on both sides of the upper Duchesne River at Stockmore which later became Hanna, Utah. His family farmed and raised cattle and sheep in that beautiful valley.
A great grandson of early Mormon pioneers, he treasured his heritage and was an active member of the Sons of Utah Pioneers. He loved all things outdoors and was an accomplished horseman and an excellent hunter and fisherman.
Kent attended his first eight years of school with the same teacher in the Hanna one-room log school house, ninth through eleventh grades in Tabiona, and twelfth grade at Pleasant Grove High School while living with his brother-in-law and sister, Lloyd and Marvel Pace.
He served a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Central States Mission from May 1940 to May 1942. After his release in 1942, Kent returned to live in Pleasant Grove, Utah, and worked on the construction of the Geneva Steel Plant. While in Pleasant Grove he met Joyce Fugal. Their relationship flourished, and they were married in the Salt Lake Temple on September 15, 1944. This union has produced a posterity numbering 211. Soon afterwards they moved to Logan, Utah where Kent studied forestry and range management at the Utah State Agricultural College, now Utah State University.
He finished his studies in 1948 and embarked on a very successful career with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for 38 years, 1948 – 1986. He started out as assistant range manager and then worked in several other capacities over a four-year period, including field examiner, range conservationist, range manager, and assistant district manager. In 1952 Kent was promoted to District Manager, and during the next 20 years he served as District Manager of three large districts: Murray, Utah 1952-1961, Burns, Oregon 1961-1966, and Elko, Nevada 1966-1972.
From 1972-1975 Kent worked as a natural resource specialist on the BLM staff in Washington, DC. He finished his career as Associate District Manager in Cedar City, Utah 1975-1986.
His work philosophy was to do a good job in whatever the job was, have a good attitude, enjoy the work and things will work out well. He excelled in every job he did, and he thoroughly enjoyed his career with the BLM.
Faith in Jesus Christ and service to others have always been of utmost importance to Kent. In the church, he has served in numerous callings, including Home Teacher, Bishop, Branch President, Stake Executive Secretary, Aaronic Priesthood/Scouting Leader, and Stake Young Men President. Together, he and Joyce served an 18-month full-time mission as directors of the Cody, Wyoming Visitor’s Center in the Montana Billings Mission 1986-1988, another 18 months at the Multi-Regional Employment Center in Cedar City, Utah 1989-1990, and 7 years as Temple Ordinance Workers in the St. George Temple 1996-2003.
He has also served voluntarily in many professional and community positions including President of the Kiwanis Club in Burns, Oregon, and President of the Nevada Section of the Society for Range Management.
Kent has always treated everyone he meets with kindness, respect, and unconditional love, and he has made many very close life-long friends. Family has always been his highest priority, and his pure love has endeared him to all of his posterity. He made sure that his family enjoyed a two-week camping vacation every summer, and his enthusiasm for the outdoors was contagious.
He knew the scientific and common names of nearly every plant in Utah, and he delighted in teaching his children and grandchildren about plants, animals, and all of the natural wonders that God has created. Wherever they lived Kent maintained a beautiful yard for Joyce and their family to enjoy and was especially known for his exquisite flower gardens.
Kent was preceded in death by his parents, his 11 siblings, and one great granddaughter. He left behind Joyce, his loving wife of 71 years; their eight children: Michael (Terry), Thomas (Lynda), Janet, Diane (Richard) Blodgett, Colleen (Gary) Shepherd, Joseph (Shauna), Neil (Sharon), and Janene (Kevin) Slaugh; along with 42 grandchildren (28 grand spouses); 120 great grandchildren (2 great grand spouses); three great-great grandchildren; three sisters-in-law; numerous nieces and nephews; and many friends.
- Funeral services will be held Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, at 11 a.m. at the Morningside LDS 7th Ward Chapel, 879 South River Road, St. George, Utah.
- Visitations will be held Friday evening from 6-8 p.m. at Metcalf Mortuary, 288 West St. George Blvd. and on Saturday, prior to services, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the Chapel.
- Interment will be in Tonaquint Cemetery.
Arrangements entrusted to the care of Metcalf Mortuary, 435-673-4221.