An artist for the Deseret News, Ferrin found the boxes while exploring a workshop area of the home. He said he noticed an access panel on the roof of the room and found the heavy boxes in the attic space.
"I opened it up, freaked out. Closed it, locked it in my truck and called my wife," Ferrin said of the rainy Tuesday surprise.
He took the eight boxes back to his parents' home, where he, his wife Tara and two children, Oliver and Lincoln, counted the money.
Arnold Bangerter, a father of six, purchased the home in the mid-1960s. Ferrin said Bangerter, who died in November, had worked for the state's fisheries and had bought the house because of the giant tree in the backyard.
"I knew he was a father and I am a father, too. And I can understand thinking about the future and your children," Ferrin said. "Having something for them. I knew [the money] belongs to them."
Ferrin admits that it wasn't easy having that much money on hand. But when it came time to give it away, he decided to have some fun with it. He called Bangerter's youngest son, Dennis, and his brother Kay, saying he had found something worth his while.
Ferrin and his children handed over the ammo boxes full of some of the money and plopped garbage bags stuffed with the rest of the money in front of the two brothers. Ferrin said he is not sure on the total amount of the treasure because they stopped counting the bills at $40,000 and didn't add up the stocks, bonds and about 50 pounds of coins.
"I wanted to get rid of it because it was haunting me," Ferrin said. "We wanted to give it back as soon as possible."
The Bangerters said they will split the money between the six siblings, Ferrin said.
"Hopefully they won't hide it in their ceiling," Ferrin joked. "Even though I didn't keep any of it, I still had the rare opportunity to find a treasure."