He died with his boots on. In spite of his graduate degrees, Deon was a farmer at heart with a farmerâ€™s work ethic. When a diagnosis of aggressive lymphoma left him bed-ridden one month ago, Deon lamented that he wouldnâ€™t die with his boots on. So his cowboy boots were put on the metal legs of his hospice bed. It made him smile.
Deon W Hubbard died at home on Sunday, February 20 at age 83. He was born April 25, 1927 in Niter, Idaho and raised on the family farm. Edith Whitworth Hubbard and Wesley W. Hubbard raised four children, Deon, Verl (deceased), Carol (McDonald) and Craig. On his 18th birthday in 1945, Deon enlisted in the Navy while still a senior at Grace High School. He reported to boot camp after graduation and during training the atomic bombs were dropped and the war ended. He still served a two year tour of duty in the Pacific.
That experience was the first of many international adventures. However, the farm was always home and kept pulling him back. After his discharge from the Navy, Deon attended Utah State Agricultural College (USU) winter quarter of 1947, did summer farm work, then served an LDS mission to the East Central States Mission. Afterwards he returned to school (working around the farm schedule) and completed a degree in accounting. As USU studentbody president in 1953, Deon led 700 students in a 100-car caravan to protest at the state capitol when their popular university president, Louis L. Madsen, was suddenly fired: they invaded the capitol until the governor agreed to investigate. The student revolt was featured in LIFE Magazine.
In May of 1954, Deon married Louise Garff in the Logan Temple, then graduated with a masterâ€™s degree in agricultural economics and business administration in June. In November, the newlyweds moved to Iran where Deon was a consultant for USUâ€™s â€œPoint 4â€ agricultural technical aid program. Deon and Louise spent two years living and working in Tehran and traveling extensively in the Middle East. When the job was over, they purchased a Volkswagen bug in Beirut and spent four months driving across Europe before taking the Queen Mary back to the states. It was the adventure of a lifetime!
Again, Deon returned to the family farm. In 1960, Deon and Louise moved to Corvallis to attend Oregon State University for a Ph.D. in agricultural economics. In 1962, Deon was hired by BYU as an assistant professor. A year later when his father lost his eyesight, Deon returned to Grace to work with his brothers on the family farm. Between 1960-67, four children were born: Holly (Peter Daines), Garff (Kamie Rawson), Marci (Dave Groesbeck) and Kelly (Nina Jorgensen).
In 1967, when the farming operation moved to northern Idaho near Bonners Ferry, Deonâ€™s family moved to Logan and he began commuting between locations with the family spending summers at the farm. Deon taught ag-econ at USU during winter quarter for several years. In 1985, after years of working with his brothers, Deon independently began farming 1,000 acres of wheat in the Kootenai River Valley. In 1999, Deon sold the property to Idaho Fish and Game for a wildlife management area and in 2000, harvested the last crop and retired. He marveled at the changes in agriculture during his 83 years: as a boy he hayed with a team of horses; as a young farmer, he bought a tractor with a cab that had radio and air conditioning! After retirement, he rode the tractor and combine with his nephews and marveled at their new computerized GPS guidance systems.
Independent to the end, Deon donated his body to medical science. There will be no viewing, but friends are invited to greet the family at Nelson Funeral Home (162 E. 400 N.) in Logan, Utah from 10:30 â€“ 11:30 am before the funeral service at noon on Friday, February 25.
Although a farmer, Deon enjoyed the arts and literature. He liked to quote lines from a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
â€œLives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.â€
Deonâ€™s footprints were in the shape of his boots. His family will miss that footprint.
In lieu of flowers contributions to the LDS Perpetual Education Fund would be appreciated.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at Nelson Funeral Home.