He died like he lived: happy, funny, kind, loving, and loved
Stuart (Stu) Ronald Havenstrite passed away on April 12, 2020 in Sandy, UT, just shy of his 88th birthday, surrounded by his loving family. His friends and family lovingly called him the “Energizer Bunny” for his boundless energy and joy; he passed away on Easter Sunday.
Stu will be remembered as a loving husband and father and is survived by his five children, Wendy (m. Ira Kitmacher), Cindy (John Caviglia), Robin (m. Paul Hansen), best friend and son Richard (Rick) (m. Marianne Dalbey), and Betsy (preceded in death by husband Jim Young).
He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister Carolee Reynolds. He is survived by Carolee’s daughter, his niece, Annalee Smith.
Everyone who knew Stu knew him as the most loving husband and father a family could hope to have. In addition to his children and their spouses, Stu (Papa Stu) is survived by loving grandchildren Haley (m. Daniel (Danny) Demsky) and Jeremy (m. Stephanie Powers) McIntosh,Robin’s children; Dr. Karen (m. Brian Menzel) Havenstrite, Danielle (Dani) Havenstrite, and Melinda (Linde) Havenstrite, Rick’s children; Chelsea Imdieke and Jessalyn (Jessy) Imdieke,Cindy’s children; David Kitmacher and Gabriella (Gabi) Kitmacher, Wendy’s children; and four great-grandchildren: Sawyer and Carson Demsky (Haley and Danny); Mason Menzel (Karen and Brian); and Blake McIntosh (Jeremy and Stephanie), all of whom he adored.
Stu was born on May 18, 1932 to Homer and Mildred (Mickie) (Mifflin) Havenstrite in Oxnard, CA. After graduating from University High School in Los Angeles in 1950, he studied geology at Stanford University, graduating in 1956.
Stu developed his love for Nevada in high school while working at Mary’s River Ranch in Deeth, NV, where he “pitched hay and ran buckboards” for a summer with several of his high school (and lifetime) friends, including Don Kraatz. While at Stanford, Stu worked summers as an apprentice carpenter in Riverside, CA and as a “roughneck” on oil wells in Bakersfield, CA, during which he experienced the 1952, 7.7 magnitude White Wolf earthquake (3 miles from the epicenter). He thought he had been thrown down 12 stairs and off an exploding oil rig, but determined it was an earthquake when he could not stand for the remainder of the 90 second quake.
During his final year at Stanford, Stu worked at Sylvania Electronic Defense Lab in
Sunnyvale, CA, doing slide rule calculations of paths for ICBM missiles. He was replaced later that year by the first Univac, a room-sized computer! After graduation, Stu worked briefly for the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, CA before landing his first “real job” in the Minerals Division of Phillips Petroleum in Albuquerque, NM in 1956.
Stu pledged the Phi Gamma fraternity and maintained close friendships with his fraternity brothers and their wives until his death; they were his skiing buddies into their 80s and loved
playing ping pong, bridge, tennis, and golf together, as well as drinking beer.
In March 2020, Stu and his daughter Cindy flew to Tucson, AZ to party and play bridge with “the boys,” Neel Hall (married to wife Georgia’s first cousin for 60 years and now to Stu’s lifelong friend Gwen Mathias Hall), John Steinberg, and Doug Glenn (of Winnemucca).
In 1945, Stu met his future wife, Georgia Perkins. Stu and Georgia began dating in 1948 and married in 1952; they were married for 68 years. As wide ranging as his accomplishments and as deep as his lifelong friendships, his family meant
more to Stu than anything else in the world. Stu’s family celebrated every Christmas together and enjoyed yearly vacations, often at Lake Powell on the Jolly Roger houseboat and/or at other fun destinations: Hawaii, Red Fish Lake and McCall, Idaho, California, Alaska, and Maine.
Stu definitely had FOMO: fear of missing out!
He was known for his awesome yodeling and for family sing-a-longs, including down ski slopes trailed by his five children, where he must have thought he was the head of a skiing Von Trapp family! He loved reciting poems, from Lewis Carroll’s fanciful Jabberwocky to the incredible Robert Service tales of the Yukon. All entertainingly recited — perfectly and from memory until days before his passing.
Stu was also a passionate bridge player (American Contract Bridge League, “Duplicate Bridge”), tennis player (competitive club doubles), runner, golfer, ping-pong player, fanatical fisherman (many Alaska, North and South America, and British Columbia fishing excursions with friends and family—it’s all about the fishing!), hiker, gardener, apprentice construction worker (finishing several levels of family homes over the years), and lover of room-temperature beer.
Stu never lost his love of prospecting and “rock hunting,” an addiction he passed on to his children.
Stu was above all else a geologist – and “a geologist never has to work because he does what he loves and has too much fun,” so he never retired.
Along the way he was responsible for the management and development of about 10 mining projects all over the western United States and over the course of his career he earned the titles of President of Silver King Mines and Alta Gold Corporation. Building off his personal and professional relationships he was primarily responsible for the restart of the Robinson (Nevada) mining district after it had been mothballed for years by Kennecott. He also spearheaded the development of the Taylor and Ward Mines as well as other mines in Nevada, Idaho and Oregon.
Other than his wife Georgia, his biggest Au discovery was in Alaska. While attempting to develop a project in Mexico in 1997 (at age 65), he was kidnapped at gunpoint but escaped, enhancing his legend. Despite a chapter in the book, RANSOM, the untold
story of international kidnapping, and an episode in a made-for-TV series on the History Channel – all he wanted to talk about was the geology of that district.
As part of his grand finale he helped his son Rick build another company, Desert Hawk Gold Corporation, which currently has an operating mine north of Ely.
A private family interment took place in the Ely City Cemetery in Ely, NV. Stu is accompanied in burial by his loving wife Georgia, who passed away 23 ½ hours after Stu.
In lieu of flowers,the family requests any remembrances or donations be made to the White Pine Boys and Girls Club – PO Box 151152, Ely, NV 89315, and Ely Renaissance Society – PO Box 150028, Ely, NV 89315, or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research
Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.
A Celebration of Life will take place in Ely, NV at a future date.