Jon M. and Karen Huntsman were honored Saturday evening for their leadership and far-reaching volunteer service, including support of many area hospitals, educational institutions and human service agencies.

The Salt Lake couple was presented the Alexis de Tocqueville Society Award by the United Way of the Great Salt Lake Area during an "Evening of Elegance" hosted in behalf of United Way by American Express.Nearly 200 people attended the black-tie affair, which included dinner catered by La Caille at Quail Run, an awards program and dancing at American Express' Travelers Cheque Operations Center.

During the gala dinner gathering, hosted for the fourth year by the American Express center, members of the United Way's Golden Spike Club, individuals who have made personal donations of $1,000 or more, were honored.

Decorative clock awards were presented to five people who have initiated endowment funds to the United Way. The planned gifts will eventually produce a total of $220,000 for the community service agency.

Salt Lake auto dealer Mark Miller, who is society chairman, and Warren E. Pugh, a Golden Spike Club member and a board member of the Shelter the Homeless Committee, presented the awards to the Huntsmans.

The couple was praised for their community and philanthropic work.

Miller said the Huntsmans "epitomize the goals of the society. As a couple Karen and Jon Huntsman have accomplished the impossible both in the corporate world and the world of community service."

Earlier this year the Huntsmans, who were presented a crystal sculpture of a family, contributed $350,000 to the soon-to-open Salt Lake homeless shelter. That was the largest amount received from an individual contributor.

Miller said their philanthropy covers a broad range of organizations including the U., Brigham Young University, Primary Children's Medical Center, St. Vincent De Paul Center, Boy Scouts of America, Ballet West, Utah Opera and Utah Arts Endowment.

Leon G. Harmon, United Way's planned giving chairman, presented clock awards to the individuals for their endowment funds. Award recipients are Wayne Allred, Edward England and Barry Swartz of Northwest Pipeline Corp., another Salt Lake area businessman who has asked to remain anonymous, and Richard Goode of Coopers & Lyb-rand.

James F. Welch, senior vice president of operations and systems for the American Express facility, outlined the support American Express has given the United Way and many other community organizations. Since its arrival in the Salt Lake area in late 1982, American Express has tried to make a difference in many people's lives, he said.

During the six-year period "we have supported many cultural, educational and social services organizations. In 1988, we will spend almost $600,000 from American Express Foundation grants, employee contributions or operating funds, on such projects," he said.

"Management believes that we have a corporate responsibility to support the communities in which we live and work. We also believe very strongly that this type of support is good business."

He received a surprise award, an international clock, for "his vision, leadership and friendship to the United Way."