Jerry Cecil Brown

June 23, 1928January 1, 2020

Jerry Cecil Brown was born June 23, 1928, to Bruce Fox Brown and Cordelia Bird Brown in a one room log cabin in Mt. Emmons, Utah, where his family had homesteaded in 1910. His dad walked out to a group of neighbors waiting on the birth and said, “I got me another sheepherder.” At only 15 months old, Jerry lost his young father. His mother, with five young children to raise and a sixth already buried, soon married George Loren Boswell, a widower who brought his own two children to the union. Together, Cordelia and Loren added five more children to the family.

Jerry was raised by Cordelia and Loren in Utah’s Uintah Basin; Walla Walla, WA; and the Salt Lake Valley. As a preschooler he could manage a horse and a gun with a grit and toughness that was honed in the cold landscapes of the Depression-era Uintah Basin. He attended both Altamont and Granite High Schools. As soon as he turned 17 in 1945, he joined the US Navy to aid in the war effort. Shortly thereafter, the war came to an end. Jerry cherished his time as a seaman in the Navy. As a young man from rural Utah, he loved learning about so many countries, cultures, and people aboard the aircraft carrier USS Leyte. He sailed the globe on a goodwill victory tour and received the World War II Victory Medal.

In 1948 he began his schooling at Utah State University, but then transferred to the University of Arizona where he graduated the ROTC program and was enrolled in the US Army as an officer (“a shavetail–the lowest you could get” he would quip) with the understanding that he would be allowed to serve a mission for his church prior to fulfilling his military obligations. Unexpectedly, however, he was told to report to Fort Bragg instead of being allowed to serve in the Central Atlantic States LDS Mission. He reported for duty and then served diligently in Fort Campbell, KY during the Korean War. Later, due to the efforts of Senator Wallace F. Bennett and Gordon B. Hinckley, and after having the issue debated on the US Senate floor, he was allowed to leave the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant and complete his mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as agreed upon. Jerry always joked that he was the only person he knew that was called on his church mission by an Act of Congress.

After his mission Jerry continued his education at BYU. He joined the wrestling team and graduated with a degree in education, but not before he met the love of his life, Joyce Lenore Burr. They met on a blind date in October of 1953 and married in the Salt Lake Temple on January 22, 1954. His love for Joyce was apparent throughout his life. He adored her and was always certain he didn’t deserve such an angel. They were married 60 years before she was taken by Alzheimer’s in 2014. Together, they had 7 children, 28 grandchildren, and 37 great-grandchildren.

Jerry became a high school football, basketball, and wrestling coach in Moapa Valley, Nevada. He coached the Moapa Valley basketball team to the winning state championships in 1956 and later coached football and wrestling at West High with Glen Tuckett. Jerry remained close to his student athletes throughout his life. Jerry was a lifetime fan of BYU football and loved college sports. He was built like an ox and remained a powerful athlete well into his 80’s, even winning gold at the Huntsman Senior Games. He was incredibly competitive and loved cheering on his own kids and grandkids in football, wrestling, baseball, soccer, and drill team. He also loved golf and card games. A weekend filled with BYU football, laughter, family, friends, cards, and snacks was probably his favorite way to spend time.

To better support his family, Jerry left coaching to go into sales. He worked for many companies and he and Joyce lived in many cities and made many friends across the Western United States. He loved the pace and adrenaline of sales and was always passionate about the products he felt would better the lives of others.

Jerry had a strong testimony of his savior, Jesus Christ, and the restored gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He loved his time as Bishop of the Miller Ward and serving there in the stake presidency. He and Joyce served full-time church service missions in Thailand, the Salt Lake Humanitarian Center, Armenia, and in the Addiction Recovery Program. They loved their time together in the service of others. He had friends all over the country and all over the world.

Jerry was charismatic and had a flair for the dramatic. He could tell a joke with a build up like no one else, as anyone who has ever heard the punchline “Do you have something to stop my coffin?” can attest. His gift of poetry recitation is one that has entertained and consoled many family and friends. He enjoyed live theater, movies, and especially watching his favorite Broadway musicals and Westerns at home with Joyce, holding hands and eating popcorn. Those two also loved a good night of dancing and could wow any room with their smooth moves and quick timing.

This past summer he wrote and directed an incredible musical tribute show at the Southern Utah Veterans Home where he had lived since December of 2016. He had a way of bossing people around with such humor and sincerity that he got away with it. People wanted to be with Jerry. He made them smile. Just a few weeks ago on December 13th he directed a beautiful Christmas show at the veterans home and recited his last humorous poem. Jerry brought joy and comradery to both the residents and staff of the center. In his dying days even those who were not on duty came in to say their goodbyes and to sing to Jerry. That kind of loyalty and genuine friendship is rare, and that is the kind of zest Jerry brought to life and inspired in others. He was the proverbial cockeyed optimist. Our family could not be more grateful for the loving care he received at the vets home and thank his staff and fellow residents for their support and friendship.

Jerry Brown, our dad, grandpa, and friend, quite frankly just didn’t seem the type to die. He believed he would live until at least 100 and is such a good salesman and a stubborn old coot that we all had come to believe him. It seems impossible to imagine a world without his life force. He loved his family more than anything, and it is with humble and sad hearts that we acknowledge his mortality. Yet, we are filled with hope and peace that he is running and dancing again with his beautiful bride. He showed us all how to look on the bright side of life.

Jerry is survived and loved by his children, Vicki Armantrout (Mark), Karen Bludorn (Rich), Randy (Laurie), Cliff, Renae Haddadin (Muhannad), and Diane Moore (Christopher); 25 grandchildren; 37 great-grandchildren; and 3 younger siblings. Jerry loved his association with others and is now rekindling precious relationships with his darling wife, Joyce, who he has missed dearly for the past six years; his son, David; three grandsons; his parents; ten siblings; and many other friends and family.

Come and celebrate his life with us on Tuesday, January 7, 2020, 11am at 6710 South 1300 East, Midvale, Utah with a viewing prior to services at 10 am. An additional viewing Monday the 6th of January 2020, 6:30-8:00 pm at the same location. Interment at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park.

In addition, a memorial service will be held at the Southern Utah Veterans Home located at 160 North 200 East, Ivins, Utah, on Friday, January 3, 2020, at 2:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers please donate to the Southern Utah Veterans Home.


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Jerry Cecil Brown

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