Qwest executive killed by gunshot during hunt
By Jeff Smith, Rocky Mountain News
Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Jeff Garrett, a Qwest Communications assistant vice president in Colorado, died of a gunshot wound while turkey hunting near Glenwood Springs on Saturday.  He was 37.

Garfield County sheriff's investigators and the coroner said they don't believe that the wound was self-inflicted and were investigating Garrett's death Monday as "suspicious."  Garrett suffered the wound to his upper right chest area.

"Jeff was an extremely dedicated and valuable leader at Qwest and a familiar face at the Colorado state capitol," the company said in a statement.  "More importantly, Jeff was a dear friend to many former and current Qwest employees."

Garrett had worked for most of the past 14 years at Qwest and its predecessor U S West, starting out in public relations.  His recent work involved legislative and regulatory activities.

He was a Tulsa, Okla., native who earned his broadcast journalism degree from the University of Missouri, where he met his wife, Charlotte.

She described her husband as a very good father who had many friends.  Garrett is survived by two children, Olivia, 3, and Adam, 1.

"Pheasant and turkey hunting were his passions," Charlotte said.  "He was doing something he loved."

Sheriff's deputies said Garrett and two hunting friends met about 6:30 a.m. Saturday, and all three decided to split up and meet back later in the morning.

The two friends returned, but Garrett did not appear, deputies said.  About 3 p.m. his friends called deputies, and the sheriff's search and rescue team later found Garrett's body about 7 p.m. in the mountains near New Castle.

Anyone who may have seen Garrett in the area of East Elk Creek on Saturday morning is asked to contact investigators at 970-945-0453.

John Scully, a former U S West executive, said Garrett did a tremendous job with the media in the 1990s when the telco was experiencing service issues and increasing competition.

"He had a good sense of people, and he had fun when he was engaged," Scully said.

Tom Renquist, pastor of Lord of the Hills Lutheran Church in Centennial, said, "He was very, very personable and had many, many friends."

Visiting hours are Wednesday from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at Lord of the Hills.  A funeral, also at Lord of the Hills, will be Thursday at 11 a.m. with a burial service in Tulsa on Saturday.

In lieu of flowers, the family will be setting up an education fund for Garrett's children.