June 20, 2004 ~ April 17, 2022
Jacob “Sam” Dallan Jessen was released from their mortal struggle with mental health, returning home to their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday, April 17, 2022.
Jacob was born to Karen and Don Jessen on June 20, 2004. It was no accident that he would be born on the bright and summery Father’s Day that held the most light in the year; from his earliest moments, he was a person that exuded kindness and love to all who knew him.
As the fourth of seven children, Jacob was the heart of the family, and always wore a smile. Growing up, he was an easy child to raise and seemed happy to be a part of whatever was going on. Full of love, he was always willing to jump up and pitch in without complaint. After meals, Jacob was the one to quietly clean up the table and put away the food without being asked. On camping trips (or anything), he was the one to help haul the heavy coolers, clear the ground sites, and set up the tents.
Growing up, Jacob had deep connections with all of his siblings. He and Nathan shared a room as kids, and spent many nights staying up late talking, with Jacob chattering all night long. When he grew older, he continued to talk in his sleep. In one instant, he would be playing dolls and Littlest Pet Shops with Melanie and Lydia, building elaborate cities and storylines. In the next moment, he’d be out with Blake and Nathan, riding bikes, or peppering the sheet rock in their bedroom, making holes from blow dart guns. Every Sunday, all the kids would come up with a new adventure to do together, making up imaginary games, playing ninja school, and building blanket forts that filled entire rooms.
The Jessen boys started a lawn-mowing business, purchasing equipment, and building clientele. At one point, they were caring for nine different lawns in Pleasant View and North Ogden, UT. Jacob’s ability to work hard at a young age enabled him to keep up the business, even when his brothers moved on. For Jacob, it was more than just a business; he genuinely cared and considered it an important service – especially for Ida Barker, and the other elderly friends and neighbors he served.
Jacob loved games and was the kid who read the entire rule book. No one was as masterful at Mario Kart, as creative in LEGO building, as dedicated at chess, or had as much fun playing cards and doing puzzles. As a gracious winner, he would occasionally almost throw the game, so that he would still win - but only barely, so you wouldn’t feel bad. When playing Settlers of Catan, Jacob and Autumn would battle to see who could have the most wins, and then set up the third player to win so that they could maintain their ongoing tie.
Our family went on lots of adventures in the outdoors, and Jacob always seemed to be good at everything he tried. He could waterski, snow ski, canyoneer, and loved to kayak with his Dad. Jacob was strong and had no fear. When we went paddle-boarding, Jacob would always be jumping off the highest cliffs, doing backflips and making everyone laugh (and giving his mom heart attacks). Camping trips, river rafting, backpacking King’s Peak, yearly trips to Flaming Gorge, boating at Lake Powell – Jacob loved them all.
When it came to swimming, Jacob was a natural. Without any training or practice, Jacob hopped into the water at Scout camp and, on a whim, swam the mile perfectly in glacier water, earning a merit badge. Later, Nathan was a little jealous that Jacob participated in the Utah State swim meet even as a sophomore – that huge smile he had on his face when he looked up at the clock and beat Nate’s time in the backstroke will be forever stamped in our memory bank. Jacob participated on the Weber High Swim Team for four years, but was more than just a good swimmer – he was a good teammate and friend, always kind and encouraging everyone to do their best. Thank you, Coach Cruff and the entire swim team, for your patience and understanding in Jacob’s journey. His time on the swim team was truly a highlight in his life.
Jacob was exceptionally smart – but didn’t like completing homework. He had a sharp mind and a knack for learning but felt like homework was a waste of time. He attended Weber High through his junior year when severe depression began to impact his ability to attend and complete school. It was at this point that Jacob let us know his preferred name, which was Sam. Sam graduated from Two Rivers High School in 2022 and was working towards a CNA certificate, which embodied their caring nature. We are especially grateful for Mr. Burke, an English Teacher, and Joel Robins, a counselor who formed special connections with Sam, enabling them to complete the required courses for graduation.
Sam also loved to eat sushi. For months, Watami Sushi in North Ogden had advertised an open position. On occasion, our family would eat there, and Sam would say, “Maybe I should work here.” One day, Sam brought home an application, filled it out, and turned it in. They were hired that day and started work that night. This job was a great blessing to them, and as a perk, they enjoyed specially made sushi every night.
Sam was genuine, chill, and relaxed. At any moment, Sam could be found sitting in their favorite chair or lying in front of the fireplace, listening to music and laughing at memes. They loved sushi and spicy foods. They poured ranch and barbecue sauce on their rice, drenched their burritos with mustard, and put jalapeno peppers on everything – the hotter the better.
Sam struggled gracefully for many years with depression. Always the loving soul, Sam never wanted to be a burden to anyone. While in treatment, Sam was blessed to have exceptional and caring staff at Primary Children’s Hospital, Huntsman Mental Health Institute, Lifeline Residential and McKay-Dee Behavioral Health Center. Sam connected deeply with everyone around them. Their own words and love served to lift all who were present, particularly the kids their own age who were dealing with their own unique struggles. The team of psychiatrists, doctors, counselors and staff in every location poured love into their efforts to work with Sam, and their genuine care for them made a huge difference. A heartfelt thank you to all.
Sam worked hard to process many of their challenges, coming to terms with many struggles, and built the skills they needed to be able to open up and be authentic, letting their voice be heard. Ultimately, however, the disease of depression was too heavy to bear.
They were accepting of everyone, no matter what. When anyone struggled, Sam was ready with a big hug and a heart full of understanding. Sam was sensitive to people’s feelings, and genuinely wanted to help. We pray that their legacy will live on in the way that we care for and love each other, because “kindness truly began with Sam.”
Sam was preceded in death by one brother, Luke, whose spirit surely accompanied them on the journey through the veil. Sam is survived by loving parents, Don and Karen, as well as five wonderful siblings: Blake, Autumn, Nathan, Lydia and Melanie. Sam’s kind nature and bright smile will be missed by friends, neighbors, family members, and all who were blessed to know them.
Memorial Services to celebrate Sam’s life will be held on Saturday, April 30, 2022 at 11 a.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2975 North 1000 West, Pleasant View Utah, 84414. Friends may visit with family on Friday, April 29, 2022 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Lindquist’s North Ogden Mortuary, 2140 N. Washington Boulevard, North Ogden, UT, 84414, and Saturday, April 30th from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the church. Interment, Ben Lomond Cemetery, 526 East 2850 North, North Ogden Utah.
Words cannot express our gratitude for the phone calls, texts, flowers, visits, warm meals, and loving hugs that have been sent with grace and kindness from our friends and family members. You have come with angels’ wings, and truly been a source of light in our home. Your support has strengthened us through this difficult time. THANK YOU!
Services will be live-streamed and available by scrolling below Sam's obituary.