Cover photo for Gary Eugene Huckaby's Obituary
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1938 Gary 2023

Gary Eugene Huckaby

March 16, 1938 — March 28, 2023

Gary Eugene Huckaby, well-known local musician and beloved family man, passed away at his home in Smithfield, Utah on Tuesday, March 28th, 2023, at 85 years of age.
Gary was born to Albert Huckaby and Arles (Downes) Huckaby in DeQueen, Arkansas on March 16th, 1938. While he was still a toddler, he moved with his parents to Northern California. His younger sister, Darlene, was born after they settled in the small logging town of Sutter Creek. There, he completed all of his schooling and graduated from Amador high school in 1956. He was very active in sports and athletics while in school and “lettered” in multiple sports, his favorites being football and basketball. However, his first passion was music, which became a life-long pursuit for Gary. He is a self-taught musician and quickly mastered the guitar, fiddle, and mandolin. At the young age of 13, he started to play with his father in a country and western swing band called The Sierra Drifters. He was able to play music “by ear”. He could hear any song and immediately play it without any written music. As a teenager, he won a song writing contest and received a recording contract for his song, “Eager Lips”. He recorded two 45 rpm records, but they never achieved commercial success because the record company went out of business. However, to this day, “Eager Lips” is listed on various Internet sites as one of the top rockabilly songs of all-time.
Music may have been Gary’s first passion, but his true love was always his beautiful bride, Karen Diane Grover. They met in Palmer, Alaska and dated for two weeks before Karen left for college at Brigham Young University. He undoubtedly left a profound impression on her, because they continued to stay in contact and corresponded during the entire six months that she was away to school. Also during that time, Gary studied the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the full-time LDS missionaries and Karen’s family. After learning about the restored gospel, he was baptized by his future father-in-law, Clifton Grover, on April 1st, in 1961, while Karen was still at college. After Karen returned to Alaska, they resumed dating until they married on December 22nd, 1962 in Palmer, Alaska. Afterwards, they travelled to Utah to be sealed for time and all eternity in the Logan Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The devoted couple had eight children and were inseparable for 60 years. They were always by each other’s side, except for a tour of duty in which Gary served in Viet Nam with the Army, shortly after they were married. Gary survived many harrowing experiences during the war, including a near-death bout of Typhoid Fever towards the end of his tour. He eventually recovered in a hospital in the Philippines before shipping back stateside.
After completing his commitment to the Army, he dedicated his life to his faith and caring for his growing family. His children will forever remember him as a loving father and incredible provider. Taking care of his large brood, involved many different careers and many household moves. Gary’s primary career focus was in the transportation industry, holding various positions such as a dispatcher, terminal manager, and shipping manager for various companies in Southern California and Northern Utah. After retiring, he made another career change and worked as a successful real estate agent until he was 78 years old.
Throughout the various moves and career changes, music was always a very important part of his life. His music enabled him to supplement the family income, all while entertaining countless fans. Over the years, Gary has played in several different bands, such as Willow Creek, Ranch Exit, and The Best Friends Band, amongst others. His longest running gig was playing at the Box Elder County Fair for 25 consecutive years with The Amador Brothers Band. In his later years, Gary played the circuit of multiple retirement homes, bringing joy and happiness to the residents, sometimes playing several shows in a week.
Although music was a major part of his life, there was never any doubt that his heart belonged to his family. He also blessed his family with his music. He never went anywhere without his musical instruments and he would play for any and every family gathering, entertaining uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and anyone else within earshot. He was a dedicated husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and just an all-around great family man. He is survived by his wife Karen, sister Darlene, son Gary and wife Becky, son Todd and wife Susan, daughter Pamela, daughter Yolanda and husband Ross, son Troy and wife Jolinda, son Rodney and wife Rachel, son Travis and wife Kellianne, and son Chad, in addition to 22 grandchildren and one great grandchild.
Gary will forever be missed by all who knew him.
A viewing will be held at the Nelson Funeral Home (162 E 400 N, Logan, Utah) Friday evening, March 31st, 2023 from 6 to 8 pm
Funeral Services honoring Gary will be held at the Smithfield 20th Ward Chapel (600 E 120 S, Smithfield, Utah) Saturday at 10 am. A short viewing will also be held that morning prior to the funeral from 9 to 9:45 am at the same location. CLICK HERE to watch the funeral livestream
Internment immediately following at the East Garland Cemetery (4805 W 14400 N, Garland, Utah)
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gary Eugene Huckaby, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Viewing

Friday, March 31, 2023

Starts at 6:00 pm (Mountain time)

Nelson Funeral Home - Logan

162 East 400 North, Logan, UT 84321

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Funeral Service

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Mountain time)

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