Gary Alan McKell

July 15, 1948 – Jan. 15, 2021

Gary Alan McKell, 72, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend passed away peacefully Jan. 15, 2021 at his home surrounded by his family. Gary was born July 15, 1948 in Provo, Utah to Charles and Madge McKell. He attended schools in Provo where he met his high school sweetheart, Ardath Eileen Haynes. It soon became apparent they each brought valuable skills to their partnership that resulted in the perfect team. They were married April 3, 1969 for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake Temple, which served as the beginning of a life filled with adventure that included the birth of their three daughters: Sunny, McKinzie and Brooke. Fatherhood was one of his truest blessings and being a kid at heart; he was often found playing with and taking his daughters on adventures. Gary was the consummate family man and worked very hard at making life memorable for his family.

From a young age Gary wanted to be a conservation officer and attended Utah State University to fulfill this dream. He earned a degree in wildlife biology and began his 30-year career with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Gary had the innate ability to separate his occupation from his friendships. He could give a citation to a person one minute but maintain a friendship outside of the incident. Gary loved the outdoors and would always jump at the chance to take you for a hike or a drive, often filled with stories and memories. Each mile or bend in the road could generate a specific tale that kept the listener fascinated.

Retiring in 2003 gave Gary the opportunity to develop and explore his interest in woodwork. You could often catch Gary in his shop working on a carving and later turning wood on his lathe. Each bowl, vase or ball was lovingly crafted, cataloged, signed and then gifted to just the right person. Later on, his business card included the motto, “I turn wood into things, what’s your superpower?”

Gary was a wonderful grandfather.  He had a unique and meaningful relationship with each of his eight grandchildren.  He was always at their sporting events or taking them hunting, fishing, or to the Pine Valley cabin.  He loved when his grandchildren went hiking with him or came down to the shop to visit.  He always had a Salted Nut Roll in his glove box to share with the lucky child who was doing errands with him on that specific day.

Gary was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served in many callings including bishop in a YSA Ward as well as the La Verkin 1st Ward, counselor in various Bishoprics, stake high councilor, elder’s quorum president, an ordinance worker for five years in the St. George Temple. In addition, Gary loved working with the youth especially in scouting. He served as a scoutmaster, taught numerous wood badge courses and was recognized with the Silver Beaver Award for his many decades of service.  From 2010-2012, Gary and Eileen served as full-time senior missionaries in the Hawaii Honolulu Mission working in the office of honor at Brigham Young University-Hawaii.

Gary is survived by his wife, Eileen; daughters: Sunny (Dustin) Ence, McKinzie (Steve) Johnson and Brooke (John) Larsen; grandchildren, Jordan (Camille) Ence, Elder Kole Larsen (Taiwan Taichung), Elder Jansen Ence (Norway Oslo), Trey Larsen, Jarren Ence, Drew Larsen, Joslin Ence and Harper Johnson; siblings: Ruth Rose, Jim (Marie) McKell, Glen (Marge) McKell, Mac (Michelle) McKell. He is preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Madge McKell; and two stillborn grandchildren, Jayden Ence and Jaylin Ence.

A viewing will be held for family and friends on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 from 6-8 p.m. at Metcalf Hurricane Valley Mortuary, 140 North, Main Street, Hurricane, Utah.

A family funeral will be held Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021 in the La Verkin 1st Ward Chapel, 70 South 300 West. For those who are unable to attend, the funeral will be streamed at this link:

Arrangements entrusted to the care of Metcalf Hurricane Valley Mortuary, (435) 635-9922. Visit Metcalf Mortuary’s website at for condolences, complete obituary and funeral listings.

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