The Fourth of July celebration in Tooele City is always a big deal, drawing huge crowds along Main Street for the parade and at Aquatic Center Park for concerts and other activities.
At the center of the activities this year was Tooele City Grand Marshal Karyl Maynard, a long-time Tooele resident with strong ties in the community. For Maynard, the selection was an honor, once she warmed up to the idea.
“I was not in favor of it at first, but it was fun and everybody had a good time,” she said. “I had two sore arms.”
In addition to the fatigue of waving at the throngs along the route, Maynard did identify another downside to being seated atop a convertible car in the heart of the parade.
“The only thing about being in something like that is you miss it all,” she said. “And I’ve always gone to the parades.”
Maynard attempted to return home following the parade, but had to return to the park to be acknowledged as the parade’s grand marshal. She said after she was introduced, she enjoyed prime seats to the Charley Jenkins concert.
While she was born in New Hampton, Iowa, Maynard and her family moved when her father was transferred to Tooele Army Depot. With the move coming while she was 14, Maynard attended Tooele High School for three years, before taking a job to work at the depot prior to graduation.
She married Phil Maynard, who was a member of the U.S. Army Air Corp transferred to the depot from Hill Air Force Base. She worked at the depot for 30 years, beginning as a laborer, then worked an office job, as a forklift operator and finally as a chauffeur.
With three decades at TEAD, Maynard said she enjoyed her time working there.
“Good people to work with and I made a lot of good friends and I’ve still got them,” she said.
Following their move to Tooele, Maynard and her family quickly incorporated themselves into the community, according to long-time friend Bruce Cummings. For her part, Maynard served as a member of the Tooele Bit N’ Spur, with the three fraternal orders in the city, as an Eastern Star (an affiliate of the Tooele Masonic Lodge), and other community organizations. She also received various awards for bowling, golf league, trapshooting and was on the organizing committee in the early years of the Tooele Arts Festival.
Perhaps most significant has been Maynard’s work at the Tooele Senior Center and on the Tooele County Council on Aging Board.
Her involvement with the city’s senior population began in relation to her own parents, who attended senior gatherings in the old Smelterman Lodge building on Vine Street. She said her parents were active playing pool and cards, and she would come down to the lodge building to spend free time with them.
“I would go when I wasn’t working and be there with them for lunch and things,” she said. “And pretty soon, I was involved.”
Maynard was heavily involved in the process of transitioning the Smeltermen Lodge into the current-day Tooele Senior Center. After Tooele County Commissioner George Buzianis obtained a grant to expand the facility, she toured senior centers throughout the state for inspiration for the project, which was completed in June 1980.
Most recently, Maynard donated the electronic sign in front of the Tooele Senior Center, in memory of her husband, Phil. A plaque engraved, “Donated by Mr. & Mrs. Phil Maynard” is placed beside the sign.
Maynard was also heavily involved in the development and construction of Canyon Cove Housing, which was designed for seniors and individuals with disabilities. She said both projects required a lot of work and planning toward completion.
When asked about serving on the Tooele County Council on Aging Board, Maynard joked that she can’t get off the board. She said a lot of projects she was involved with came from being willing to help.
“I say yes too easily,” Maynard said. “But now I’ve learned to say no.”
Maynard’s involvement with the senior community and other organizations is noteworthy, but it’s not the only way she helped the community around her.
Cummings said he first met Phil and Karyl Maynard in the 1970s when he moved to Tooele, and said they played a role in his settling into the area. He said the closeness with the Maynards led his children to call them Aunt Karyl and Uncle Phil.
“The reality is they were really surrogate grandparents to the kids,” Cummings said. “… Both of them have always been really involved with our family and always involved in supporting all kinds of kids around the community of friends and acquaintances that they had.”
While they never had children of their own, Cummings said the Maynards embraced all the kids in the neighborhoods they lived in.
“Being involved with kids and being involved with community is not anything new,” Cummings said. “It was a lifestyle of their’s right from the time they got married.”
“I’m in the condos now, but when I had my house, the backdoor was always open and I had toys and stuff down in our basement and they all knew where to go,” Maynard said.
The open door policy did mean there were frequently welcome, but unexpected guests in the Maynard’s home.
“I’d come home from work and I’d never know who would be in my house,” Maynard said.
Having cast such a wide net of outreach in the community over seven decades, Maynard has become very well known in the city, according to Cummings.
“It’s easy to trail around behind Karyl at different public events because different people who are adults with kids who are teenagers now — they’re into the several generations,” he said. “And they all have their stories about, ‘Oh, when I was a little boy or I was a little girl, I remember you and I remember your husband Phil.’”
Being such a locally relevant figure isn’t all perks in some very specific circumstances, as Maynard attests.
“My sister doesn’t even want to go shopping with me because I stop and talk with everybody,” she said.
While she may hail from Iowa originally, Maynard said Tooele is home and it has everything she could ever need.
“I think Tooele — you can’t beat it,” she said.