Jon Huntsman Sr., philanthropist and world businessman, dies at 80

Feb 2, 2018, 5:43 PM | Updated: 6:22 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — He went from a poor Idaho boy to the head of a multi-billion-dollar business empire. Jon Hunstman, Senior, died today at the age of 80.

The business mogul served in the Nixon Administration, he founded a giant packing company and created a foundation that has poured money into cancer research and other public programs. (More on his accomplishments here)

It didn’t come easy. Huntsman struggled as young man to get business experience and financing while simultaneously supporting a young family and serving in his church.

“Throughout these early years the thought came to me repeatedly, the difficulties in life are designed to make us better not bitter,” Huntsman said in a 2009 devotional at BYU, “God did not put us on this earth to fail.”

Reaction continues to pour in as news of the man’s death spreads. Among the tears are words of respect and admiration for the man.

Governor Gary Herbert released a statement calling Huntsman a “visonary” man who was a champion for the state, “We have lost a giant in our state history. His influence is felt far beyond the borders of Utah. He is one of the greatest Utahns ever to live.”

Several other Utah politicians also tweeted their appreciation for the man and his life work.

Fred Esplin, Vice President of Advancement at the University of Utah, said he first met Hunstman while serving as an intern in D.C.

“I could not have imagined at that time in the 70’s what he would go on to accomplish in life,” Esplin said, listing the Huntsman Cancer Institute as his greatest legacy. “It’s really due to his vision and persistence that has created this world class treatment center and facility.”

Huntsman’s son, Peter, released a statement as well today, saying the best way to honor his father is to continue the fight against cancer until it is completely erradicated.

“His vision for philanthropy went well beyond his own life. That’s clear.” Esplin said.


More reaction on his death:

Today’s Top Stories


utah employment...
Alejandro Lucero

Annual Golden Key Awards presented to local businesses

Golden Key Awards recognize the people and businesses who believe in Utahns with disabilities, said a press release. Nine businesses were recognized today.
1 day ago
A group breaks ground on the Best Friends housing project in Kanab....
Britt Johnson

Best Friends Animal Society building housing for employees in Kanab

Best Friends Animal Society houses its headquarters and sanctuary in Kanab, Utah -- along with about half of its employees.
1 day ago
cline alpine board...
Lindsay Aerts

At Alpine school board meeting, Natalie Cline claims district allows porn in classrooms

Whether Cline, from the Utah Board of Education, can speak at the Alpine district meeting (where she doesn't reside) was questioned.
1 day ago
American Leadership Academy pictured....
Elizabeth Weiler

American Leadership Academy responds to homecoming incident

American Leadership Academy responded to allegations of body shaming and dress code at a high school homecoming dance.
1 day ago
run marathon running salt lake...
Elizabeth Weiler

Marathon runner to set record in the name of dyslexia: 26 miles in costume

Hannah Holt, an avid marathon runner and award-winning children's book author hopes to bring attention to dyslexia by running while dressed as a book.
1 day ago
Orem police at scene of swat standoff...
Samantha Herrera

Man in custody after hours of negotiation in Orem home

A possible Orem City SWAT situation has police officers on scene in a neighborhood around 700 E, 400 S. Police have not provided any information yet.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Jon Huntsman Sr., philanthropist and world businessman, dies at 80