Former House Speaker Bob Garff (R-Utah) died following complications from the coronavirus.
Garff’s daughter and state Rep. Melissa Garff Ballard (R-Utah) took to Facebook on Sunday to announce his passing. In her post, she included a photo with her father.
My loving dad passed away peacefully today from COVID-19. He has lived a long and happy life, full of vigor and love for…Posted by Representative Melissa Garff Ballard on Sunday, 29 March 2020
“My loving dad passed away peacefully today from COVID-19,” Melissa Garff Ballard wrote in the Facebook post. “He has lived a long and happy life, full of vigor and love for our state and our families.”
Bob Garff — whose family owns and operates an auto business — was Utah’s House Speaker from 1985 to 1987.
In the wake of Bob Garff’s death, the University of Utah also mourned the loss of the former House speaker.
The Utah Athletics family mourns with the Garff family over the passing of Bob Garff.— Utah Athletics (@utahathletics) March 29, 2020
We send our heartfelt condolences. pic.twitter.com/qXCWmtiw45
Utah Coach, Kyle Whittingham, shared his reaction, noting Bob Garff’s “profound impact” on the university.
“We are extremely saddened to hear of Bob Garff’s passing,” he wrote. “He had a profound impact on the University of Utah and cared deeply for our student-athletes. He will be greatly missed. Sending all my love to Kathi and the entire Garff family at this time.”
We are extremely saddened to hear of Bob Garff’s passing. He had a profound impact on the University of Utah and cared deeply for our student-athletes. He will be greatly missed. Sending all my love to Kathi and the entire Garff family at this time.— Kyle Whittingham (@UtahCoachWhitt) March 30, 2020
Utah lawmakers Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Rep. Ben McAdams (R-Utah) also took to social media to share their reactions.
“With profound sadness, I have learned that my friend Bob Garff has passed away from COVID-19. It breaks my heart,” Romney tweeted.
Bob’s contributions to our state, to our economy, and to our church will be heralded by many. But for me, it was his sound and principled leadership as the Chairman of the Olympic Winter Games of 2002 that is most compelling.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) March 29, 2020
The Games were arguably the best ever, in large measure thanks to the character and care of Bob Garff. Ann and I will miss our friend very, very much. We send our sympathy and love to dear Kathi.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) March 29, 2020
McAdams offered a lengthy statement commemorating Bob Garff and his wife’s legacy.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Bob Garff. […] I was inspired then with his commitment to our community and to public service, a legacy he continued all his life. […] Julie and I send our deepest sympathies to the Garff family at this sad time.”
Both Bob and his wife Kathy were generous supporters of many community endeavors, along with operating a successful business. Julie and I send our deepest sympathies to the Garff family at this sad time. 2/1 #utpol— Rep. Ben McAdams (@RepBenMcAdams) March 29, 2020