SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – As the leader of the Ken Garff Automotive Group, Robert Garff grew his family’s legacy giving back to our community.  He loved so many things in Utah: his family, his church, cars… Perhaps at the top of the list: the University of Utah.

Robert Garff, his wife Kathi and other University of Utah leaders ceremonially broke ground on the Ken Garff Performance Zone on November of 2019. The $17.5 million donation from the Garff family would help to fund an extension to the Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah.

In April of the same year, Garff himself talked about this massive undertaking.

Garff said, “The goal here is to develop this facility into a show stopper and I mean a show stopper venue for recruiting and game day performance.”

Ruth Watkins, President of the University of Utah, spoke about her friend Robert Garff said, “The passion, commitment and dedication to Utah sports and athletics was very clear from Bob and such an important commitment to enable a very much needed project at the University of Utah.”

While the most public contributions from Robert Garff to the University of Utah were the buildings and massive financial donations, the most important may have been the example he set.

Watkins continued, “That is a tribute that will inspire many others and enable the success of many others for decades to come.”

Bob and Kathi Garff’s impact on the community was bigger than the work at the U, they worked to better education in all of Utah.  They founded the Keys to Success program and the Success in Education Foundation.  The goal to inspire Utah’s K-12 students.

Watkins added, “That kind of commitment and impact voicing the power of education and how it can change lives will have an impact in Utah for generations to come.”

Many credit Bob’s leadership while Chairman of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympics, for saving the games.

Garff brought Utah Senator Mitt Romney on to lead the 2002 games. Romney remembered, “I appreciate that he had confidence in me and helped me lead the games.  I appreciate the fact that we put on what most people recognize as one of the greatest, if not the greatest and most successful Olympics in the winter ever.”

Garff steered the games to success after scandal surrounded bringing them to Salt Lake City.

Romney continued, “For Bob, the Olympics were a great contribution and continued a lifetime of contribution that he has made to his community, to his state, to his church, to his family and of course to the world wide Olympic movement.”

And then, there is Ken Garff Automotive.  Bob carried on his Dad’s legacy by building the second largest privately-held auto group in the nation.

Bob Garff lived big and made everything around him better.