Milo Kealohalani Kirkham started life with many disadvantages but by age 93 had outlived and overcome them all. He passed away on Jan. 16, 2018 to join his beloved wife, mother, father and oldest son. Milo was born to Milo Franklin Kirkham and Virginia Eakle Kirkham on Oct. 14, 1924 in Salt Lake City. His father died when Milo was only four years old, leaving him with a grieving mother and a younger sister and brother whom he often helped travel their own rugged roads. Milo’s widowed mother eked out a living as a school teacher during the Great Depression. Unable to care for three children on her own, she often farmed them out for months and years at a time to other relatives, some kinder than others. As a teen, Milo ultimately found in his dairy farmer uncle, Alma Dorus Eakle, a mentor and man of integrity who would provide the loving guidance and discipline Milo needed to pass some crucial crossroads. Work was a way of life for Milo. As a youth and young man he worked as a milk deliverer, water delivery truck driver, mechanic, taxi driver and copy chaser at the Deseret News.
Milo was bright. He skipped a grade and graduated from Davis High School in 1941 and later attended courses at the University of Utah. With the Second World War raging, as soon as he was old enough he joined the Navy in October 1942 and served in the Pacific throughout the war until 1946. In early 1947 he was called to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Hawaiian Islands, where both his parents and a grandmother and grandfather had served. After his return he met and married his one true love, Ora Ruth Hall, on March 17, 1951 in Alameda, California, where he had been recalled to active duty naval service for the Korean War. The marriage, solemnized on June 14, 1963 in the Salt Lake Temple, lasted for nearly sixty years until Ora passed away in 2010. Following his military discharge Milo embarked on his first career, as a US Government civil servant, rising from labor to management through a gutsy determination to make something of himself. His approach to getting work was to tell prospective employers that he could do the job and worry later about whether he really knew how.
He worked for many years at Hill Air Force Base and surrounding government installations with a three year stint in the mid-1960s at the Athena Missile Base in Green River, where he helped fire missiles from the “block house” from Green River to White Sands, New Mexico. Following government service Milo followed his heart to careers in real estate and general contracting and served on the Farmington City Planning Commission. In his fifties he took up running, completing the St. George Marathon at age 63, and continued to jog in the early morning hours until his late 80’s. He was also a lay farmer who, from the 1950s till the time of his passing, loved his land and the cherries, peaches, apricots, apples and vegetables that it produced. “These are from our own garden!” was a common Milo refrain at the Kirkham dinner table. He had a nice singing voice and loved to travel domestically and abroad. Milo had real spiritual sensitivity and took on a gentler persona with age. He served in many LDS Church callings and was a popular teacher and speaker with an irrepressible sense of humor.
Milo’s commitment to family was unrivaled. He is survived by three daughters and a son, whom he cared for with both tough and tender love: Susan Jean (James Johnson), David Milo (Judy), Kathleen Ruth (Kim LeFevre) and Colleen Kay (Forrest “Chip” Tessen), 22 grandchildren, 48 great grandchildren, his sister Virginia Vandever, who lives on the Snake River in Idaho and his brother Douglas James Kirkham of Farmington. His son, Michael Charles Kirkham, preceded him in death in 1966. Much loved, he will be much missed.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 at the Compton Bench Chapel, 850 Compton Rd., Farmington . There will be a viewing for family and friends on Friday, Jan. 19 from 6-8 p.m. at Russon Mortuary, 1941 N. Main St., Farmington, and on Saturday from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the church prior to services. Interment- Farmington City Cemetery. Online guest book at www.russonmortuary.com