IVINS, Utah — Author, businessman, motivational speaker and philanthropist Hyrum W. Smith died Nov. 18 after being diagnosed with terminal cancer in July. He leaves behind his wife, Gail, his children and grandchildren, and an incredible legacy that has impacted millions of lives.
“He’s a bigger-than-life kind of guy,” said Kevin Smith, Tuacahn CEO and nephew of Hyrum. “He had a big heart. He’s very enthusiastic, very optimistic.” He was also very philanthropic, donating to a wide range of causes over the course of his life.
Among Hyrum’s many contributions, his generosity and involvement with Tuacahn Center for the Arts is unsurpassed, donating $23 million, without which the theater likely would not exist today.
“It’s probably the single largest contribution to an independent arts organization in the state of Utah,” Kevin Smith said.
Hyrum’s business ventures included founding the Franklin Quest Company in 1981. The company later merged with Steven R. Covey’s organization to form Franklin Covey.
Hyrum earned a name for himself as an expert on leadership principles, time management skills and an emphasis on things that matter most — including the need to share your abundance with others. He called this lifestyle “the abundance mentality.”
“The minute we are able to look into the mirror and honestly say ‘I have sufficient for my needs’ at that point, you are wealthy,” Hyrum said in an interview in 2017. “Why? Because we have enough.”
Hyrum went on to explain that if a person is smart enough or lucky enough to create more than they need, that surplus is “a stewardship that God has given me to do something with that matters.”
It was this mentality that prompted Hyrum and Gail Smith to donate both money and time to keep Tuacahn progressing toward its goals.
In addition to substantial monetary backing, Hyrum served on the Tuacahn board of directors for 25 years, in the position of vice chair during much of that time. “Tuacahn is just one of a number of projects that we believe matters. We think it has changed lives,” Hyrum said. “It’s been a fabulous experience to do that.” One Sept. 27, Utah Governor Gary Herbert declared that date to be known as Tuacahn Day in the state of Utah, as a way to honor Hyrum’s lifelong contributions. “He will be missed. It’s hard to imagine Tuacahn without Hyrum,” Kevin said. Fortunately, his influence will still be felt in a number of ways. Hyrum’s daughter, Stacie Shurtliff, will take Hyrum’s place on the Tuacahn board of directors. In addition, thanks to a generous contribution from Brent Beesley, Jerry Atkin and others, the Hyrum and Gail Smith Tuacahn Legacy Endowment has been established to ensure Tuacahn is able to continue impacting people’s lives for good. “It was Hyrum’s wish that at his passing, in lieu of flowers, people would donate to the endowment,” Kevin said. “He really cared about Tuacahn and wanted it to continue and flourish after he was gone. He cared about it in every way.” The funeral will take place at noon Tuesday, Dec. 3, in the Ivins Stake Center for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There will be a visitation 6-8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2, at Tuacahn Center for the Arts, in the Dance Studio.
If you would like to make a tax deductible contribution to the Hyrum & Gail Smith Tuacahn Legacy Endowment, please log onto tickets.tuacahn.org/legacy-endowment/ or contact Lindsay Garfias at 435-652-3205 or [email protected] to donate.