John Thomas Garlock

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September 9, 1982 – May 17, 2023

Waaazzzup!” John Thomas Garlock, 39, died very suddenly after a brief yet severe illness in his home in Springville, Utah in the early morning of May 17, 2023. John was born on September 9, 1983 in Houston, Texas, and grew up in Irvine, California where he played sports, skateboarded all over town, went to the beach to boogie board and surf, caught lizards at the creek, was a dog-lover, deeply connected to all kinds of music, loved to dance and make people laugh.

John was an Eagle scout, graduated from Northwood High School, and went on to study at the-then Utah Valley State College, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Sacramento State and graduated as an English major from the University of Utah. After discovering a deep love of working with children with autism, he earned a specialized Master’s degree in Teaching in order to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. This greatly expanded his influence in his field and the autism community at large. Connecting meaningfully with neurologically atypical children was a truly God-given gift of John’s and his life passion. John was a mentor to many in his line of work, helping countless children and families. This was not limited to his clients in California and Utah. Oftentimes he could be found afterhours on the phone speaking with faraway friends and family, friends-of-friends, and friends-of-family who sought his counsel and trusted his insight and advice.

“Love you” In 2012 John fell in love after finally meeting his penpal of one year, Lindsay Erickson. They married and were sealed for all time and eternity in the Draper, Utah Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After two years in Costa Mesa, California and the birth of their first child, they bought a home and settled in Springville, Utah and continued to create a beautiful life together, bringing 3 more souls into the world.

John took his role as husband and father seriously, putting his kids to bed every night, getting up with them all through the night, wrestling and having dance parties with them after work, posting up in the backyard every weekend, including them in his projects and yard work, taking them on adventures up nearby canyons, and reading lots of Dad books. John adored his children and was very much in love with Lindsay. They were his greatest joy.

“Let your freak flag fly” John was a lover of all things ridiculous. For years, he drove a white Toyota Tercel with a gigantic spoiler attached to the back. He also loved the Toyota Previa and dreamed of driving one filled with pitbulls someday. A lover of The Price is Right, he was picked out of the audience, told to “Come on down!” and won an Elvis-themed bedroom set.

He would burst into song in public places, most often singing “All Star” by Smash Mouth and had recently become obsessed with Taylor Swift, which was a departure from his favorite bands, usually signed under indie record labels (much cooler than mine). Completely captivated by a neighbor’s holographic foil wrapped Mazda Miata, he featured it on his social media daily, which quickly gained a devoted following. At a recent haircut he had his locks braided into 4 neat cornrows which he wore to church the next day and decided he would have his hair braided every time he got it cut from then on. Because John authentically did not conform to “normal” social constructs, this gave others the space to be weirdos right along with him, which he delighted in.

“No bad days” John, for better or worse, did nothing in moderation. If he stumbled upon an interest (various musical artists, raw denim, Tenkara fly fishing, baseball and other sports cards, CrossFit, meditation, smoked meats, to name a few) he deep dived head first, researching everything there was to know and became an expert in the subject. John openly battled with addiction, depression and anxiety during his adult life. Even in dark times, he looked for the good and recognized the beauty in this duality. John earnestly worked the Twelve Steps, living in sobriety for 11 1/2 years, grounded in recovery, God, gratitude and self awareness.

“Thanks for being my friend” It was John’s undaunting work on himself and mental health which earned him the gift of connection. He picked up hitchhikers and made an effort to know and call people in the service industry by name. He rooted for the underdog and saw people’s potential. He regularly sent texts to friends and family that were unabashedly filled with love and adoration. He was proud of his loved ones and never hesitated to tell them so. He also sought out those he supposed he had nothing in common with, just to prove himself wrong. His reach was far and wide and if you were someone he included in his circle, you counted yourself lucky.

“Hooyah Hooyah!” Towards the end of his life, John drew more peace and strength from his relationship with Jesus Christ than ever before. At its core, his long time favorite mantra, Hooyah, really meant to try to be like Jesus. His continually evolving faith was influenced by daily prayer and meditation and an unyielding devotion to do the Lord’s will. He studied Christ’s life and teachings and did his best to consciously emulate His example. John’s family is especially comforted by the thought of John home, returned to his Heavenly Mother and Father, wrapped in the loving arms of his brother, our Savior Jesus Christ.

John is survived by his family, who love him so, so much: his wife, Lindsay, children Gordon (8), Avril (6), Olson (3) and Rosie (1), his parents Tom and Caren Garlock of Irvine, California, siblings Annie (Brandon) Reynolds and Joseph (Brynn) Garlock, also in-laws Leif and Linda Erickson, James Erickson, Emma (Trenton) McCullough, Catherine (Herch) Erickson, as well as his five nieces Ruby, May, Olive, Juniper Reynolds and Romy Garlock, and three nephews, River, Cecret and Van McCullough, along with two grandmothers and many, many aunts, uncles, and cousins. He will be missed something fierce. John, you were magic.

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