Dear Family and Friends,
Due to the Coronavirus situation, we are doing an online celebration for our beloved Jeff. We invite you to share your memories of Jeff here to be enjoyed by all. A private burial will be held at a later date.
Jeff was the baby brother of Diane (deceased), Sandy and Neil, cherished dad to Kali, treasured step-dad to Jennifer and Kevin, friend to son-in-laws Jeff and Scott, and the best "Papa" ever to Bayla, Olivia and Jack. But for me, Jeff was the embodiment of the dearest, sweetest husband a woman could have.
From the first trip to Lake Powell in 1993 to our retirement trip in July of 2019, we always had the good fortune to share wonderful times together. Whether it be trips to Lake Powell early in our marriage with Kali, Jennifer, and Kevin, going to Disney World, or just camping in the desert near Moab we always had a wonderful time as a family. You were there to teach our kids the wonders of all they got to experience with you and for that I am truly grateful. I know all of our friends and family that got to taste your Dutch oven cooking are salivating even now, and like me, will miss not only eating your terrific meals, especially the cowboy potatoes, but watching you as you would prepare them.
Your love for our dogs warms my heart as I remember mountain biking with Freckles running alongside, to the last few walks we took with Molly before she passed in November. Mindy is a comfort to me now even as I see how she misses you.
When your days of hard core athleticism had to come to an end, you took it in stride and found another outlet for your competitive spirit. The years of racing with the Porsche club are some of my fondest. Watching you race "Ruby" and "Edgar" always gave me a smile, and I am so thankful you enjoyed it so much. We made some very good friends during that time. They are a real comfort for me now.
Throughout our marriage one of the things that was always consistent was the love we had for each other, and the commitment to do things together. No matter how difficult the issue, whether it be medical, family or mechanical, we handled things as a team.
Darlin', your love of the outdoors gave our family so many good times. Your calmness, quick wit, and kindness will be missed not only be me, but also by those close to us.
Jeff had a love for gymnastics. He competed as a young man and loved to watch the University of Utah "Red Rocks" perform. Also, anyone who knew Jeff knew how much he loved dogs. In his memory, you are invited to make a donation to the Dumke renovation project https://auxiliary.apps.utah.edu/ugive/designation/1960 or the Humane Society of Utah https://www.utahhumane.org/. Any type of donation would be graciously appreciated by our family.
Finally, I would like to thank Dr. Steve Gange and Dr. Niten Chandramouli for their passion to care for Jeff over the years. Also, thank you to the many doctors and staff at Intermountain Medical Center and the Hospice team of IMC. You all provided gracious and loving care to Jeff.
My darlin', love you forever and always,
My dad and I had a special relationship and a special bond. Not only do we look alike (and very much like the Reese side of the family) but we share the love of many of the same things and have very similar views of the world. There are so many good things I could say about my dad and so many stories and memories I could share. But one of the most important things we shared was our appreciation for the simple things in life.
I know that many of his favorite memories of us together are identical to my own. Our special memories were not usually dramatic stories or the biggest adventures, but the small moments we shared together. From an outside perspective these moments may not seem overly significant, but they meant the world to us. A prime example is when the two of us traveled to Russia together. If you were to ask us about that trip, neither of us would talk about the amazing city, the grandness of the Bolshoi, or reminisce about the beauty of the historical sights. Instead, we would both laugh thinking about running as fast as we could through Charles de Gaulle airport trying to make our connection to Moscow, or that we were both so utterly tired from jet lag that we could have fallen asleep at any moment during the entire trip.
When I was a kid, I loved to hear Dad tell me stories about his own life before I came along. I would ask him to tell me the same stories over and over again: how he once had long hair(!), when he received a kiss from a butterfly for saving its life, how he lost his fingers, and many more.
When looking back at my childhood, we would certainly recall practicing my gymnastic tricks while jumping on the bed. I would call out my trick request, my favorite was a "full twist", and Dad would help me complete it by tossing me in the air for a 360 degree turn before landing back on the bed.
We also shared a love of books and reading. Each year my grandmother would gift the next book in the Little House on the Prairie series (a family tradition). I can vividly recall Dad reading this series to me each night before bed, until I was old enough to read them to him. My dad even published my first book! "Stinky the Dog" was written by the two of us on craft paper, with crayon illustrations, and bound with staples. Dad just made life fun.
Some of our less scholarly pursuits included the many, many weekends spent playing Super Nintendo for hours on end. We played so much that by Sunday night our thumbs would be sore. Super Mario Brothers was our game of choice, and if you asked either of us about our Nintendo playing days, we would both recall the time when we struggled with a seemingly impossible level. We spent hours trying to get past one particular spot and nearly drove ourselves crazy. Finally, when it was Dad's turn to try again, for what seemed like the 100th time, a thought came to me. I shouted to Dad: "pick it up!" He knew exactly what I meant, successfully completed the level, and we laughed for days about how long it took us to figure out this simple trick. Over the years, we could often be heard teasing each other with the phrase "pick it up!" as our way of saying that the answer was simple and right in front of you.
Many of our fondest memories came from time spent in the outdoors or camping. Dad had a deep love and appreciation for nature that rubbed off on me from an early age. I always loved to hear the story of my very first camping trip. I was less than a year old, and it got so cold Dad had to tuck me into his sleeping bag just to keep me warm. We spent many vacations over the years camping in the desert, and we both loved to remember hunting for easter eggs at Lost Springs. Of course, camping memories would not be complete without mentioning Dad's famous Cowboy Potatoes!
Dad was intent on teaching me to ski at a young age and felt he was up for the job since he had been a ski instructor. But I was not going to make the task easy for him. I decided I was not happy with Dad's preferred method. He had the audacity to try to teach me to turn by naming my right leg peanut butter and my left leg jelly. But Dad knew I hated jelly! How could he use this horrible condiment for my lessons?! Dad had to come up with something else or there would be no cooperation from me. Always quick thinking, he instead asked if he could name my legs "ham and cheese" and I agreed. Crisis averted. We also cannot talk about the early days of us skiing together without bringing up the story of my gloves. I did not enjoy the cold very much at this time in my life, and I would do everything I possibly could to avoid going skiing on a cold day. One particular day, in a last ditch effort, I told Dad that I could not possibly go skiing with him because I only had mittens to wear. Dad was baffled by what could possibly be wrong with my mittens. I had worn them before without issue. I calmly explained that I could not ski with my mittens because I could not point while wearing them and demonstrated this seemingly obvious flaw. Dad just laughed as he always did. I am not sure if we actually made it to the mountain that day but the story lives on. We eventually spent many successful days on the mountain together.
Dad and I also loved music. Neither of us had any musical ability but we listened to a lot of it. Dad taught me to love all types of music, and we always had a pretty eclectic mix (although I don't think I was ever able to convince him that country wasn't so bad). We listened to music constantly whether we were in the car, in the house, or at a friend's. We had a game that we would play when listening to the radio where one of use would shout "quick, who sings this?" and the other would have to name the artist. I learned the names of many bands this way since he always had the right answer. Some our favorite memories surround music. I used to ask Dad to either sing or play the Talking Heads "baby song" (actually called Stay Up Late) because I thought it was so funny that a rock song was about playing with a baby, or Credence Clearwater Revival's "Heard it Through the Grapevine" because I loved the California Raisins. Dad would also probably tell the story about how the first time I heard Fleetwood Mac sing Tell Me Lies I laughed hysterically because I just could not understand why anyone would want someone to lie to them. Patience seems to be one of his many virtues!
In adulthood, conversations between my Dad and I would almost always circle back to our love of food and cooking, particularly our mutual love of cheese. I never knew it wasn't "normal" to receive blocks cheese delivered from Wisconsin as a Christmas present! Dad was my first and favorite teacher when it came to learning to cook. When I moved to Arizona for college, I had to learn to cook for myself and I went to Dad for help. If you asked him to tell you a memory from this time in my life, he would tell you two stories; one about how miserable it was to move all my belongings from one apartment to another in the extreme Arizona heat. The other would be about me calling to ask for help finding an ingredient for one of his salad recipes. I called my dad from the store in a panic to find out what in the world "salad" oil was. I could find olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, etc. but I could not find the salad oil! Turns out "salad" oil is not actually a type of oil, and I could use whatever I had on hand. Thanks Dad!
We both love to try new recipes and experience new types of food. I will always think of Dad in an apron, with a cookbook open, a beer in hand, several pots on the the stove, and a mess in the kitchen. Nearly every time we spoke, we would always ask whether the other had cooked anything new lately. I have such good memories of us making all sorts of recipes together. One time, before we went camping, Dad announced that he would be trying a new recipe in the dutch oven called "yogurt chicken" I immediately recoiled at my vision of this meal: some sort of flavored yogurt (the only yogurt I was familiar with) poured over the top of a chicken breast. I was horrified at the thought that I would have to eat this horrible dish as we would be in the middle of nowhere with no other options. Dad would joke about my protests and remind me of how amazing the dish tasted once I gave it a try. He definitely made me more adventurous!
I know that these small memories are not necessarily what other people will remember about my dad, but these are my most treasured. Most people already know that my dad was kind, caring, easy going, calm, loving, and so funny. He was quick with the one liners and could always make me laugh. This world will not be whole without him in it. He leaves behind a huge ache in my heart and I cannot express how much I will miss him every single day.