July 1, 1945-Nov. 30, 2023

James Harris Guard, steadfast patriarch and friend, died Nov. 30, 2023, in St. George due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was 78.

Jim was born July 1, 1945, at West Point, New York, to Harris Theodore Guard and Ada May Vandewark Guard. In 1946, his father was discharged from the army and the family returned to Fort Collins, Colorado, where Jim spent his childhood. Jim’s father died shortly before Jim’s 10th birthday, and Jim began a lifetime of taking care of others by helping his mother and younger sister. He always put the needs of others ahead of his own, taking care of his employees at work, his students at school and most importantly his family.

Jim married the love of his life Holly Hansen Seibert on May 25, 1979, in Salt Lake City. Jim was delighted to adopt Holly’s twin sons Ken and Troy, who eventually moved to St. George, Utah, for college. In 1997, Jim and Holly followed, and St. George became their home. Jim was a wonderful father to Ken and Troy and was active in the lives of his grandchildren. He coached sports teams, helped with schoolwork and shared adventures. The Guard household was a happy one, with grandchildren, extended family, neighbors and friends coming and going.

Jim valued education. He learned quickly and thought deeply. He went to Oberlin College in Ohio, graduating in 1967 with a degree in history. His interest in history and current events started in high school and continued through his career and retirement. In high school, he briefly toyed with the idea of becoming a politician and expended some effort learning to respond to questions without actually answering them. He never ran for office, but in retirement, he enjoyed getting together with southern Utah Democrats and volunteering to help on political campaigns. Jim relished opportunities to expand his knowledge. In his sixties, he joined his brother-in-law’s research team for field experiments in The Meteor Crater in Arizona. Jim contributed to the scientific work and to the camaraderie of the team.

Jim valued hard work. By age 11, he was delivering newspapers on his bike, with heavy canvas bags slung over his shoulders. When Jim was 14, he was hired by Woodward Governor Company to work on the yard crew. At 16, he started work in the factory. During college, Jim continued to work for Woodward Governor in the summer, wrapping up with a summer at the company’s factory in the Netherlands.

Jim joined the Air Force in 1968, going to officer’s training in Texas and on to pilot training. His training was interrupted by a health problem. Jim was then assigned to a few months of clerical duty, during which he amused himself by using words in memos that sent his commanding officer to the dictionary. Jim retired from the Air Force as a first lieutenant in 1971. When asked where he served, his response was, “in hospitals.”

Jim then continued his education at Colorado State University, where he earned a degree in accounting and became a certified public accountant. Jim worked for Arthur Anderson, Getty Oil and Texaco, jobs that took him to Denver, Salt Lake City and Thousand Oaks and Bakersfield in California. At Texaco, he was responsible for accounting for half the globe, from China to the Mississippi. He retired in 1997.

In retirement, Jim taught math at Dixie State College (now Utah Technical University), served as president of Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Utah for three years and worked as an election judge and election judge trainer.

Jim enjoyed sports. He played baseball in high school and college. He then became an avid and skilled golfer, enjoying time on the greens with valued friends.

In his early 70s, Jim was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. His movements slowed, and his memory became less reliable, but he remained the same kind person he had always been. He died peacefully, surrounded by family members who are grateful for his steady and reassuring presence in their lives and saddened by the loss of a remarkable husband, father, grandfather and brother. Family and friends will miss his wisdom, his quiet manner, and his quick wit.

Jim is survived by his wife of 44 years Holly Guard, his son Troy, his son and daughter-in-law Ken and Jana Guard, five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, his sister and brother-in-law Johanna and Dave Whiteman and a large extended family.

A celebration of life will be held from 1:30-3:30 p.m. on Dec, 15, at the St. James LDS Chapel, 1095 St. James Lane, St. George.  

Family and friends are invited to share tributes online. Arrangements and memorial tree planting by Serenity Funeral Home of Southern Utah, 435-986-9100.