POTOMAC, Md. — Stephen Garff Marriott, grandson of Marriott Corporation founder J. Willard Marriott and son of Marriott International Board Chairman J.W. "Bill" Marriott, died Sunday.
Marriott, who served as executive vice president for culture for Marriott International, had battled a lifelong degenerative mitochondrial disease, which deprived him of both sight and hearing and led to other health complications, according to family spokesman Brad Colton. Marriott is survived by his wife, Juliana Baughman Marriott, three children and five grandchildren. He was 54.
"He’s fought through a lot of these pretty severe health issues for a number of years and finally it took its toll and he passed away this morning," Colton said Sunday.
In his position with the Marriott company, Stephen Marriott frequently worked in conjunction with the training of sales staff and the organizing and management of community business councils in major cities where Marriott had a presence.
Colton described Marriott as a committed father and devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "He had a great memory, he was very compassionate and had a love for his family," Colton said.
In a prepared statement, Bill Marriott described his son as inspiring in his commitment to the Marriott family and company throughout his lifetime.
"Stephen was an inspiration to us every day as he struggled with a challenging disease that cost him his eyesight and hearing, and he never complained," Bill Marriott said. "He came to work right until the end to champion the values that his grandparents established when they opened their first root beer stand. Stephen was convinced that our Marriott culture was our greatest competitive advantage. His wife and children will remember his ability to find joy and happiness, despite his daily hardships."
Stephen Marriott graduated from BYU with a bachelor of arts degree in English in 1983. He went on to receive a master's degree in business administration from Arizona State University.
He began his 38-year career with the Marriott company in 1975 as a cook before going on to work as a sales manager and later general manager of the Bethesda Marriott Hotel in 1991. He was appointed to his current position as executive vice president for culture in 2006.
Funeral services will be held June 27 in Kensington, Md. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that contributions be made to the Washington chapter of the Boy Scouts of America.