Obituary: HILTON, MERLIN

Published: Monday, July 28 2014 11:06 p.m. MDT

Merlin Henry Hilton "Happy Hank"

Our loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather returned peacefully home to his Heavenly Father on December 31, 2010. Henry was born on August 1st, 1925 to Horace Gilmore Hilton and Irene Smith. He married his childhood sweetheart Luana Winn on July 10, 1945 in the Salt Lake LDS Temple. After working for and building several other radio stations, Dad took a chance to chase his dream by launching KSOP AM on February 1, 1955. For the next 55 years he steered the station to be one of the leading radio stations in Utah, following a very simple theory: if you can hum it, whistle it, or sing it -play it. On December 10th, 1964 he made history when KSOP FM, the world's first full time FM Stereo country radio station, went on the air. In addition to Country radio he also promoted country concerts including Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, The Oak Ridge Boys, Merle Haggard, Kenny Rogers, Chris LeDoux, and his apprentice, Garth Brooks. In 2003 he was inducted into the Utah Broadcaster's Hall of Fame. He spent in his life serving others and was always there to lend a hand. Dad will be remembered for his quick wit, mentoring, sense of humor and teasing nature. His generosity had no boundaries as he freely gave of himself to all. In his later years, Dad enjoyed playing games at the Nickelcade and the claw machines where he shopped, often taking his grand-children with him on his great safaris. He shared his many treasures with those he would meet; his goal was to make everyone smile. He was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, holding various callings during his life including that of Bishop, he served a LDS Public Affairs Mission with his wife Luana in the Southwest Area. He is survived by three loving children Michael, Kathy and John LaValley, Don and Karen; ten grandchildren: Christopher, Tommy, Amy, Ravi, Rajiv, Sarah, Layla, Robert, Kimberly and Rebecca; six great-grandchildren. Preceded in death by his loving companion of 53 years Luana, his sons Eric, Greg, and Sajj, his parents, and all five of his siblings. Funeral services will be held Saturday, January 8, 2011 at the Cameo Park Ward house at 2:00 p.m. located at 8909 South 17th East, with visitation from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Interment in Murray City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to the Missionary Fund of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.jenkins-soffe.com