Garry was born November 1, 1935 to Harold and LaRue Connell Prisbrey. He was born in a little adobe home in Washington Utah, just a block from where he raised his family. He passed away February 7, 2021 at his home.
He grew up mostly in Washington Utah but lived in Imperial, California & Lyman, Wyoming for a short period of time when he was a toddler. He talked a lot about growing up in Washington. As a young boy he would work on the farm with his dad during the summer. He would ride horse back down to the farm and spend all day. Lunch would consist of a slice of bread with jam or jelly. The days were long, hot, and exhausting. He took his bathes in a #3 wash tub. As a teenager, Garry and his buddies would hitch a ride to St. George. Back in those days, the road went from Washington through Middleton and up through the tunnel. They would start out walking and then jump on the back of a truck as it went by.
In 1950, Garry moved to Las Vegas to work at the Desert Inn where he helped construction the golf course. After the golf course was built, he stayed on as a gardener and grounds keeper. In 1955, he met Gwen Kern at a 1950’s Drive In, just like we saw in the show “Happy Days.” The waitresses were taking orders and serving food wearing roller skates. There’s a little variation in how they met. She told the story one way and Garry told it another. But one thing for sure, he was driving a classic 1952 Chevy Coupe with “loud pipes.” He loved his cars, and he loved them “loud.” He always had a nice car and later in life, he always had an antique car or 2 in the garage.
About 1955 or 1956 he joined the Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Local Union 525. He was the first apprentice to join the 525. He made lifelong friends with the men he apprenticed under and the men who apprenticed under him. They were always playing jokes and pranks on each other. Someone was hassling him about getting the toilets set in a hotel they were working on. There were no complete walls or floors, just scaffolding & minor floors, and Garry hug a toilet on one of the upper floors. We have a picture and all you can see are pipes, a toilet, blue sky, and Garry standing there grinning. Several years later, while working on the Laughlin powerhouse, he fell 40 feet and broke his back. George Nicewonder said, “Hey Pard, does this mean I get your lunch?” They worked hard, played hard, and respected each other like nothing you have ever seen. As an elected Officer, he helped write and establish the pension plan for the 525. He was very proud to be a part of this great organization.
Garry was very skilled, talented, and kindhearted. He could weld, plumb, lay brick, pour cement, run electrical wire, fix automobiles, garden, raise sheep & cows, bake bread, cook, hunt, cut and polish rocks, and the list goes on and on. He loved to restore old cars and create beautiful, hand crafted silver jewelry. I personally believe he could fix just about anything, a skill he passed down to his sons, grandsons, and “anyone” who wanted to learn how, and he taught “us” by example. Rolling up his sleeves and doing whatever it was, with us. He freely gave of himself to help others. He would give you the shirt off his back and food out of his cupboard if you needed it.
Out of all the gifts and talents he possessed, I believe he would say his greatest treasure was his family. All of his family, from grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, to his wife, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. In 1970, he moved his family back to Washington Utah from Las Vegas. He built their home next door to his grandmother, Susan Prisbrey. He looked after and cared for his Mother and Grandmother until their passing.
Garry broke his back about 40 years ago. He lived in constant pain for years, but he never complained. He worked clear up until he could retire. We would ask him how he was doing, and he would say, “Good as New.”
Two years ago, Gwen’s Alzheimer’s came on very strong. Garry was determined to take care of her himself. It wasn’t easy, but he did it. He took over the cooking, cleaning, the laundry, and the paying the bills.
He is survived by his children: Kevin Whitney, Brian & Sarah Prisbrey, Bruce & Nanette Prisbrey, Brenda & Chris Veit. Grandchildren: Kristy & Andy Leany, Brandin & Taiylor Prisbrey, Ben & Shakota Prisbrey, Cason & Sierra Prisbrey, Sydney & Jacob Gonterman, Makena Prisbrey, and Cole Veit. Great grandchildren: Katelyn & Colten Leany, Mailey & Lennie Prisbrey, and Kennadi Prisbrey. Sisters: Shirley & Bob McCauley, & Beverly & Mike Dalton. Brother-in-law: James Hopkins.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years, Gwen Prisbrey, Baby daughter Peggy, daughter Becky Whitney, Sister Dorene Hopkins, Father & Mother Harold & LaRue Connell Prisbrey, Grand Parents, Hyrum & Susan Prince Prisbrey, Robert & Annie Iverson Connell, and Mother & Father-in-law, William & Mabel Herrington Kern.
Graveside services will be held on Saturday, February 13, 2021, 2:00 pm at the Washington City cemetery for Family and close Friends. Please social distance and wear a mask.
Arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff St., St. George, Utah. Friends and family are invited to sign his online guestbook at www.spilsburymortuary.com.