A Gift-giver’s Life of Reinvention


Photo Attribution: Huntsman Cancer Institute 

In the offices and homes of physicians, nurses, and patients at Huntsman Cancer Institute, you will find beautiful photographs framed and carefully hung as a reminder of the beauty seen and captured by Byron Harward. They are contrasts of light and shadow and inspiring imagery. The former Utah Valley University student was a gift-giver — and his life, like his photographic works, was full of light and shadow. The more than 2,000 photo prints he gave to his fellow cancer patients were symbolic of his generosity and a desire to share the beauty of life.

Harward graduated with an associate degree in photography and was working toward his BFA. Cancer had taken him close to death’s door several times but, miraculously, he bounced back with a renewed interest in following his passions. That’s how he discovered his love for photography. His wife, Terry Ann, who then worked in UVU Alumni Relations, convinced him to take a community education photography class.

Byron Harward told his classmates, “You’re never too old to do what you want. When I grow up, I want to be a photographer — and I haven’t grown up yet!”

Some of his fellow students may not have realized their peer not only attended UVU, but he was also a catalyst that changed its course. Byron Harward was an entrepreneur who helped create and grow Code-Co Law Publishers into a company. His personal success allowed him to give the gift of service to Utah in the state legislature, beginning in 1994. They say his proudest moment during his 11-year term was pushing for Utah Valley Community College to become Utah Valley State College, offering 4-year degrees for the first time.

One community education photography class at UVU was the impetus for creating a photo studio in his home, and a mobile darkroom in the back of his truck.  Terry Ann said the more he immersed himself in his education at UVU, the more it became a vital part of his ever-changing approach to life. “He did documentary photography at the law firm in his 20s, but it was always business. When he did photography at UVU, it became a way he could express himself, create beauty, and he was super passionate about it — we call it the ‘Harward super focus.’ He became involved in color. He started loving museums, where before he would bring a book to read while I looked through museums alone. He started loving form, composition, different ways of lighting, how to present images, and art history opened his eyes to different art. He just started seeing things different. He loved being able to share his photos.”

Terry Ann said Byron’s passion for life was boundless, and it showed in his continuous efforts to reinvent himself through the years. He went to law school in his 20s. He became a horse enthusiast and moved his family to a small town in Utah County so they could live on a farm. He became a motorcycle aficionado and traveled around Utah seeing the state’s natural beauty with his wife as co-pilot.

She said when Byron was young, his mother once yelled at him, “Are you ever going to grow up?” His heartfelt response was, “Never! Never!” He always lived in a way that reflected his passion for color, beauty, and learning. He lost his final battle with cancer this year. While pondering his life beyond his mortal existence, Terry Ann mused, “I wonder what Byron has discovered around the corner now!” Their children affectionately replied, “Oh, probably talking to Einstein!” There is universal inspiration in Byron Harward’s self-observation, “I never spent much time doing what I didn’t want to do!”

That’s how he lived, and his legacy continues through his art.