Our brother, husband, father and grandfather, uncle and cousin, Brent Elliot Heninger, 89, was born January 20, 1933, in Ogden, Utah, but sadly, on Saturday, October 1, 2022, cancer claimed his mortal life. If you take away his mortal missteps, Brent can be described as a true splendor of a man. With always a happy disposition, love filled his heart, and he was a man of God. Amazingly, he was taught by the Spirit to love his wife, Kaye Starr—unconditionally—and has always been her protectorate and supporter, assisting her efforts while he, himself, was happy to stay in the background. A "CHAIRMAN" in every sense of the word, he spent decades setting up chairs and tables to accommodate friends, neighbors and loved ones at family reunions, parties, picnics, parades and choir practices. He cared for everyone and was a good man…even a great man.
Brent was the oldest son and one of five children born to Van Elliot and Oce LoReen Hull Heninger. When he was in the fourth grade, his family moved from Ogden to California for four years, then moved back to Utah to settle in Sunset where his folks owned and operated “Sunset Motel,” among many other projects and work. Through the years, friends would come over in droves to enjoy the games Van Heninger would devise, and the food LoReen would provide. At first, Brent took all that for granted because he thought everyone had a home like that. It wasn’t until years later his friends shared with him that his home was unique, rare and more fun when compared to other homes.
In his high school years—at "Dear ol' Davis High School"—Brent was chosen as one of their cheerleaders, and he has been his family's cheerleader ever since. Exhibiting popularity and prowess, enthusiasm and strength, he has always been a "NATURAL-BORN CHEERLEADER" in his school, church, community and family. At age 21, he served for 2 ½ years in the West German Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his three younger brothers followed his lead as missionaries in Germany and Holland. He also set the example within his family to become a proud Marine.
Just before Brent's 19th birthday, he earned the Eagle Scout Award, then at age 20 in 1953, he went on to establish BYU's first gymnastics program. Strong and handsome, an "ATHLETE EXTRAORDINAIRE," he competed and won honors in gymnastics, tap dancing, acrobatic and Adagio performance. After his marriage in 1962 to Francine Louise Felt—mother of his first five children—Brent excelled as president of his company, "BRENT E. HENINGER REALTORS" of SLC with 27 salesmen, the State of Utah's third largest real estate company in the early ‘70s. Brent was a hard worker, full of enthusiasm and tenacity to achieve and excel.
In 1959 Brent graduated from BYU with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, after which he attended the University of Utah for three years doing upper-graduate work toward a law degree. In 1985 he earned his Resource Endorsement from Weber State University. In politics he served as staff member in 1961 in Washington D. C. for Congressman David S. King and Senator Frank Moss. In 1977 he served as "LEGISLATIVE ASSISTANT AND CONSTITUENT WORKER" for Senator Orrin Hatch.
Brent taught in public schools for almost 30 years and earned himself the distinction as the "EDUCATOR" who could handle difficult teens. At one of his schools, the principal requested that Brent follow him on his reassignment to another school. This transfer would give the principal a needed resource and "safety place" (Brent's classroom) for difficult students in his new school. Another example of Brent's leadership with teenage boys occurred in 1964 when he served as "SCOUTMASTER" over 42 boys in Troop 35 in Riverdale, Utah. Because of Brent's drive, each scout was motivated to advance in rank, and many had earned their Eagles at an impressive Court of Honor which was featured in the July 1964 Improvement Era.
Brent's hobby of many decades—at least since the ‘70s—has been "PHOTOGRAPHER." With thousands of photos and reels of film to his name, Brent captured his entire extended family in historic events of yesteryear. Since then, he personally spent over a decade digitally preserving and organizing them with titles and dates—gifts for his progeny!
Brent was a "FAMILY MAN" —personified—because his efforts were centered around his children—half's, steps, wholes—and that includes in-laws and outlaws! He loved to host huge, fun activities, which notably took place when he built a gigantic playground in his large front yard. To him, that was his dream come true! Who knows…maybe somewhere in the eternities Brent will become steward and "MASTER OF THE PLAYGROUND" for God's little children.
In 1983 Brent married Kaye Starr Thompson Richey after each had been divorced. Challenges of a blended family were theirs to resolve, but working together, they converted their large home into the "Heninger Child Care Center." They gained a license for 85 children and kept busy with 20-30 children usually attending. Brent’s aptitude as a "NURTURING CAREGIVER" was clearly obvious when Brent worked 12-hour days in the care center, managing parents, children, employees and city rules. One mom wrote, "Brent is an outstanding caregiver. He is always positive and makes me and my son feel loved and special. He is pleasant and very respectful of the children." Another mother said, "My son can't wait to see him every morning, and he calls him Papa." Because of Brent's work ethic and success, the business raised the value of the property, and in 2003, UDOT (Utah Department of Transportation) bought the land to expand Hwy 89, and it sold far above what the Heningers had originally paid.
From 2007 to 2010, Brent served as "FRIENDSHIP MANOR BRANCH PRESIDENT” in Salt Lake City for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He savored his calling where he personally managed countless senior saints in their sacred and temporal needs. He, indeed, cared for the sick and afflicted and understood the Plan of Salvation, which brought himself and others comfort to know that when we die, we can live again! A humble "DISCIPLE OF JESUS CHRIST," Brent loved the scriptures and the sacred Covenants he made in the holy temple. They were his core. He honored his priesthood, and his daily prayers kept him close to his God and Savior. He desired so strongly that his children be with him forever, which was his dream, his goal, and his journey.
Together, Brent and Kaye Starr have 12 children, 48 grandchildren, 40 great- grandchildren, and four great-great-grandchildren. During the last few years, Brent has had a chance to look back on his life—the joys, the sorrows and the mistakes—and could honestly say in his heart that, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he has had a “Grand Experience.”
Brent was preceded in death by his parents and one sister and brother, LaVan Heninger Gates and Gary Golden Heninger. He is survived by his eternal companion, sweetheart and best friend, Kaye Starr Thompson Heninger, his brothers Keith Gordon Heninger (Katherine), Don Burt Heninger (Janice), six children, Sherilyn Heninger Greene (John), Brent David Heninger (Tammy), John Elliot Heninger (Anka), Richard Van Heninger (Ann), Joseph Brian Heninger (Jen), and Duke Thompson Heninger (Lauren). He is also survived by six stepchildren: Laura Richey Barker (LaMonte), Grant Thompson Richey (Diana), Charlotte Richey Jensen (Clark), Joyce Richey Anderson (Darin), Clark Thompson Richey (Erin), and Holly Richey Evans (John).
Funeral Services will be held at 11:00am on Friday, October 14, 2022 at the Farmington Rock Chapel, 272 N. Main St. Farmington, UT. Friends may visit with the family on Thursday evening from 6-8:00pm at Lindquist’s Bountiful Mortuary, 727 N. 400 E. Bountiful and from 9:30-10:30am prior to the service at the church. A graveside service will be held at 2:00pm at Ogden City Cemetery.
Condolences may be shared at www.lindquistmortuary.com.