Cover photo for Willard Morgan Hirschi's Obituary
Willard Morgan Hirschi Profile Photo

Willard Morgan Hirschi

July 27, 1934 — August 5, 2023



Willard Morgan Hirschi was born July 27, 1934, at home in his family's two-room house in Rockville, Utah, to Myrtle Dalton Hirschi and Daniel Alma Hirschi. He passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on August 5, 2023, at the age of 89.

Willard’s childhood home was just outside of Zion National Park. He loved growing up as a farmer, rancher, and cowboy among the red rocks of Southern Utah. He never lost his love for this corner of the world. The majority of his adult family vacations were spent in Rockville visiting his parents and his sister Warda’s family who lived across the street from their parents. His idea of fun was going out to the ranch to fix fences, work cattle, ride horses, and take Grandpa Hirschi (and anyone else he could trap) for long scenic drives. He also conducted historical research on the Southern Utah and Arizona Strip areas, which included collecting oral histories from elderly residents of those areas in order to write biographies on all of the World War II and Korean War veterans from Rockville, Utah.

In high school, Willard was a state hurdles champion as well as an honored football, baseball, and bas­ketball player. He became a conference hurdles champion in college and was on the track and basketball teams while attending BYU. In early 1956, Willard and Barbara had two dance classes together. They became acquainted in class, but Willard graduated in the spring of that year and so they began their long-distance courtship. The majority of their courtship was done via telephone.  Willard had a friend in the phone business who could get Willard free minutes in the evening! On July 25, 1958, they were married in Downey, CA in Barbara’s parents’ home. They were sealed in the Los Angeles Temple in February of 1962.  Barbara passed away in August of 2022, shortly after celebrating their 64th year of marriage.

Willard joined the BYU faculty in 1964 as a health science teacher. He also assisted Clarence Robison to build the BYU track and field program and trained numerous successful athletes. In 1988 he was appointed men’s head track coach. Under his direction, BYU’s track teams dominated the Western Athletic and Mountain West Conferences. In his 12 years as head coach, the Cougars won 11 straight indoor conference championships (1990-00) and 9 outdoor conference championships (1989-93, 1995, 1998-00). Due to his teams’ success, Willard was named the indoor or outdoor WAC/MWC Coach of the Year 14 times in his 12 years as head coach. In 2015, he was inducted into the BYU Athletic Hall of Fame.

Willard has a strong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and dedicated the majority of his adult life to it. In 1999, he was the recipient of BYU’s Circle of Honor award which is given for “Exceptional example of honor, integrity and commitment to Christ-centered principles.” He has served in numerous church callings, including bishop and stake presidency counselor. He also served an LDS service mission at the Welfare Services Department and was an ordinance worker at the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple.

His children knew him as a father. To be a child of Willard meant high expectations, visits in the den when expectations weren’t met, eating lumpy Cream of Wheat cereal he made, getting up early during summer break to mow lawns, anticipating and interpreting which tools were needed when, moving the cows, working in the garden, snapping green beans, shelling peas, bottling all manner of produce, and making apricot leather that dried in the sun with little bugs settling in to enhance the flavor - everyone LOVED his apricot leather.  

His grandchildren knew him as a grandpa. To be a grandchild of Willard meant accidentally eating his black walnut cookies, expecting him to cheat while playing games on Sunday, submitting to requests for dance and musical performances that he never wanted to end, watching ball games together, discussing the world’s problems to which he had all the answers, seeing his constant quiet smile of love and approval, and an abundance of hugs.

Willard’s children Beth (Ben) Borup, Carolyn (Karlin) Wilkes, Brent (Rachel) Hirschi, Melissa (Jon) Thatcher and families are grateful to all the many people who showed love and support to dad throughout his life, particularly over the last 18 months. There are too many names to mention but you know who you are!

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am on Tuesday, August 15, 2023, at Lakeview 8th Ward LDS Chapel on 155 West 1600 South, Orem, UT 84058. There will be a viewing prior to the services at the church from 9:30-10:30 am. Interment will be at the Orem City Cemetery.

 Condolences may be expressed to the family on this page.


For those unable to attend in person, you may view the Services HERE



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Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, August 15, 2023

9:30 - 10:30 am (Mountain time)

Add to Calendar

LDS Chapel - 155 W. 1600 S.

155 W 1600 S
Orem, UT 84058

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Mountain time)

Add to Calendar

LDS Chapel - 155 W. 1600 S.

155 W 1600 S
Orem, UT 84058

*Standard text messaging rates apply.


Hirschi, Willard Service(After conversion).mp3


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