Wilford Higbee Day, 84, passed away peacefully on February 1, 2017 at his home in St. George, Utah. He was born July 8, 1932 in Cedar City, Utah to Wilford Scott Day and Arvilla Higbee Day. He had an older brother, Norman, and sister, Vyonne, and later, a brother, Allan. The family grew up in Cedar City until 1942 when they moved to the family farm in Parowan valley. The farm was large and lots of work. Because so many men had gone off to war, Wilford started working full time during the summer, driving the hay truck, and his Allis “B” tractor, and earned 10 cents an hour. Later on, the family spent the winters attending school in Cedar.
He has always enjoyed music and played the Cornet in the school and College bands, Orchestra, and Dance Bands. This is where he met his Angel, Raeona Mackelprang. They were best friends all through High School and were married November 1, 1951 in Cedar City, and sealed in the St. George Temple on May 1, 1965. They recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.
He held many positions in their respective Wards, and was an Ordinance Worker in the St. George Temple. After that calling, he and Raeona started traveling for fun, and have been to 57 Temples, and have visited nearly every State, Province, and Country in North and Central America, plus many small islands. They enjoyed traveling, and have driven over a million miles in cars, and another million in 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles.
He was in the Culligan business for 17 years and tried hard to keep his 500 customers happy. He was a Charter Member of the Sheriff’s Jeep Patrol where his powerful GMC wagon could break the snow trail for all the others. He was always civic minded, and belonged to the Chamber of Commerce for over 40 years. He was credited with having a major role in defeating the proposed sale of State Bank of Southern Utah to a large Salt Lake City Bank. He was the Iron County Director of Industrial Development and Manager of the Chamber in the 1960’s, at which time Cedar City got by-passed by the freeway. During this time, the Chamber expanded its membership and planned its new offices. He was a director of the Iron Mission Park Commission when they planned the new Park and purchased the Parry Collection of Carriages, the main attraction of the Park. He was a Director of the Five Country Organization and put a lot of effort into new brochures and exhibits that he took to travel shows in the West. This successfully publicized our area and kept the tourist industry invigorated.
He had an intense interest in cars, and in 1954 started to work full time in this field which lasted the rest of his life. After working for other dealers, the family opened their own dealership in 1980. With Raeona and Russell, they sold more than 2,000 cars. They found a “Candy Store” of extra nice cars in Phoenix and, even though it required a lot of traveling, making over 300 trips in their auto transport to buy them. Specializing in Classic cars, he restored many prize-winning cars, including an Imperial which belonged to Pope Paul IV. He owned an Aston Martin DB5 which he enjoyed for 35 years. He built up several race cars which set records 6 times at the Bonneville Salt Flats, including a Dodge Lancer which was clocked at 152 mph, and was the
World’s Fastest 6 cylinder Sedan. He was co-manager, with good friend Doug McArthur, of the very successful Dixie Elks Drag strip during the 1960’s. The present day Elks Lodge in St. George was paid for with the profits from that Drag Strip.
He enjoyed going to the family cabin at Navajo Lake on Cedar Mountain, and owned the first snowmobile there in 1964, and also had the first sailboat in the area. The family would make an annual trip to Lake Powell with over 50 people erecting a little village of tents and boats.
He and Raeona moved to St George in 1996, and spent his time restoring classic cars, and spent many Saturdays displaying his cars at local car shows.
Wilford is preceded in death by Grandson, Tracy Wilford Day, and sister Vyonne. Wilford is survived by his wife, Raeona, his six children, James (Marcia), Susan (Larry Romberger), Russell (Calla), Steven (Laurana), Kathryn, and Diane (Lance McDaniel); 22 Grandchildren, and 59 Great Grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution to those in need.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, February 4, 2017 at 11:00 a.m., with a viewing Friday evening, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday morning from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Viewings and Funeral services with take place at the Foremaster Ridge chapel, 912 South 1740 East, St. George. Interment in the Cedar City Cemetery on Saturday, at 2:30 p.m.