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Former Parowan mayor dies days after being hit by a car

Published March 28, 2012 1:14 pm

Investigation • The accident may not have been the cause of the 86-year-old's death.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A southern Utah community is mourning the loss of a former mayor who loved to walk around town and talk with everyone.

Kendall O. Gurr, 86, a native of Parowan who served two terms as the town's mayor from 1970 to 1978, died several days after being hit by a car last week. But the accident may not have been what caused his death, police said.

Gurr died after coming out of leg surgery on Monday morning, according to Parowan city police Chief Ken Carpenter.

"He was a very kind man," Carpenter said, who knew Gurr personally, outside of city duties. "He liked to walk around town. He was very friendly."

On March 22, as Gurr walked west across Main Street near the intersection of Center Street, he was hit by a car headed north on Main, Carpenter said. Gurr had waited for a couple of cars to pass by, but was hit by a third vehicle.

"It appears the driver may have been momentarily distracted," Carpenter said. There are stop signs at the intersection, but only on Center Street.

Gurr was taken to the hospital with a fracture to his femur, but the injury didn't appear to be life-threatening, Carpenter said.

Police do not know the exact cause of Gurr's death.

"It doesn't appear it was anything from the accident itself," Carpenter said.

No citations were issued to the driver, a woman in her mid-30s, Carpenter said, because of a request by Gurr's family.

Family members said they forgive the driver of the car and wish her the best.

"The driver is very upset about it, and the family is suffering the loss of a loved one," Carpenter said, calling the accident an unfortunate event. "The community as a whole hates to lose anyone in such a tragic manner."

The investigation of the accident is ongoing and will include an autopsy.

Gordon Gurr described his father as a humble, gentle man who gave cheer to all those he met. Most of the community knew his father, who walked hundreds of miles in the community to stay healthy, and spoke with "widows and would take their mail to them," the son said.

Gurr, who was born and raised in Parowan, was the last surviving sibling out of 13. He served during World War II in the Air Force as a B-24 ball turret gunner, according to his obituary. As mayor, he played an integral part in getting a south Interstate 15 interchange for the city and keeping the county seat in Parowan. He leaves behind a wife and his children.

Funeral services for Gurr will be held at the Parowan LDS Stake Center, 90 S. Main Street on Friday at 11 a.m. A viewing will be held at the same location the previous day from 6 to 8 p.m., and on Friday from 9 to 10:30 a.m., prior to services.

cimaron@sltrib.com

Twitter: @CimCity