Robert Garff was the chairman of the Ken Garff Automotive Group. He was a former speaker of the Utah House of Representatives from 1985 to 1987 and was chairman of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympics. He represented the organizing committee on the first leg of the international Olympic torch relay after the flame lit in Olympia, Greece, and journeyed with it as it passed through Greece.
Garff also served as chairman of the board for the Deseret Book Company and sat on boards for other organizations such as Intermountain Healthcare, the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Utah Commission on Volunteers and First Security Bank. He also served as a former chairman of the Salt Lake Chamber. He supported the University of Utah (his alma mater) in such ways as helping fund a new building for the David Eccles School of Business and the Ken Garff Performance Zone at Rice-Eccles Stadium. He founded the Keys to Success program to encourage Utah students to focus on education.
The Garff conglomerate started by Bob’s father, Ken, has 51 automobile dealerships in five states.
Bob was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and presided over the England Coventry Mission. He was an Area Seventy, a regional representative, and member of the Sunday School General Board. He was also president of the Bountiful Utah Temple.
Garff was born on September 15, 1942. He held an MBA and bachelor’s degree from the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. He died on March 29, 2020, from complications due to the coronavirus pandemic. His wife, Katharine, also tested positive for COVID-19 after becoming ill during their recent visit to Palm Springs, California. They both self-quarantined and she recovered at home. They are the parents of five children.