He was the real deal. One of the best that ever was. Jerry Lynn Poorte left this earthly life on the morning of Monday, August 14th, 2023, after many years of respiratory illnesses. He passed at his home in Ogden, Utah attended by his loving wife, Jolene and son, Jeremy.
Born January 14th, 1951, to Helen E. (Wright) and Elmer C. Poorte, Jerry was brought home from the Dee Hospital to a brand new home built by his father in the Lorin Farr Park neighborhood of Ogden, where it was said at the time to have been easier to count those who were not related to the Poorte and Wright families. Jerry loved living with his four siblings in that childhood home near the Ogden Stadium and River. He attended Gramercy Elementary, Mound Fort Junior and Ben Lomond High School. Growing up as the “middle child” in a loving, kind family and living in such close proximity to so many aunts, uncles and cousins, it all formed a strong sense of faith, community and the importance of helping others in most everything that he ever did.
Like his father, Elmer who for many years had worked side jobs adjacent to his own career with the Southern Pacific Railroad, Jerry was also incredibly industrious and dedicated and when old enough, he began working alongside his father in a local small engine repair business. One of the joys that he experienced in his younger years was the time Jerry spent with his father and brothers, skiing on Snowbasin.
As with many future couples in Ogden in the late 1960’s, Jerry cruised Washington Boulevard with his high school friends. One night, he caught the eye of a beautiful woman named Jolene Moss, who asked her friends “what’s that guy’s name?” only learning his nickname, but importantly, his home address. When she rang that doorbell of Jerry’s childhood home, greeted by his mother Helen who at first did not understand who this “Bones” character was, who Jolene was asking for. Not long after, they fell in love and began a marriage, still going strong at the time of Jerry’s passing. Of many things they shared during those 52 years, it was their love of travel that they enjoyed most together. In their youth, on the back of one of Jerry’s motorcycles. In later years, in their automobiles. Often, Jerry and Jolene would fill a cooler with ice, drinks, and food, grab the road atlas and head out on the door, with only the mandate of “let’s just go somewhere!”
4 years into their marriage, Jerry became a father to his son, Jeremy. He enjoyed teaching him all that he knew about fishing, hunting, camping, motorcycling, automobiles and building or improving just about anything and everything. The guidance, mentorship, and those many life experiences and developed skills that Jerry passed down, were greatly treasured by his son and helped make him the person that he is today. Jeremy was so grateful to not only have Jerry as his amazing father, mentor and best friend, but also for the opportunity to care for his Dad, every day during the last year and spend precious moments together, not afforded to all in the end.
Jerry had an impressive collection of various coins and loved to share them with his grandchild Morgan, especially sharing each of the latest U.S. state and territory backed quarters, just as soon as each came available, as well as golden and silver dollars. Jerry passed down this love of coin collecting, as well as his love for new hats, going fishing, and many clever and artful looking knives to Morgan. He was a very loving and fun Grandpa, who made certain to never miss any performance or other activities where he could support and enjoy all of Morgan’s many talents and accomplishments.
Jerry lived and worked in Ogden his entire life. He was an employee at Wangsgards Market, in the Hardware side of the store for over 2 decades, where he not only made life-long friendships with his supervisors and co-workers, Jerry also enjoyed seeing so many neighbors, high school buddies, relatives and many other community members. During all of those years working there, he must have invested an entire paycheck worth of earnings, purchasing one five-cent all day sucker at a time, for the multitudes of children who accompanied their parents, in shopping at Wangsgards. In addition to his management responsibilities, Jerry was known as “Mr. Fix-it” with his colleagues and customers. He was an integral part of that business for all the years he served it. Jerry was very grateful to have worked alongside his youngest brother, Jim, at the store for several years until his brother’s passing. Jerry’s sense of humor was a life-long gift. He would often “prank” his fellow co-workers, whenever the opportunity came. After he helped install one of the first photocopy machines available to the public at that store, Jerry photographed one of his co-workers with a Polaroid instant camera who was pulling a funny face at him in protest, then promptly photocopied the print and hung copies all throughout the store. It was another skill that Jerry had mastered. The art of the perfect prank. Always making the recipient laugh just as much as the audience.
Using his knowledge, talent, and skills with building, repairing and just making all things work or work better, Jerry worked for the Cassity family’s chain of convenience stores and car washes in Ogden as their Maintenance person for over 2 decades. He helped the owners keep their 6 locations up and running, ready to serve their customers.
Jerry also worked for his cousin Valerie and Carlos Taylor’s outdoor maintenance business at night, as another means to provide for his own family by keeping many parking lots in Weber County, clean from trash and clear of snow. He would often see many of those friends and neighbors as he took care of those businesses and enjoyed catching up with them, while he worked.
Often the “favorite” of uncles, Jerry loved having fun with his many nieces and nephews, playing games, taking them fishing or boating, helping them fix their wagons, skateboards and bicycles. Later on, he could be relied upon to help them with their motorcycles and vehicles, as well. Any chance at keeping those family connections lasting and strong, were important opportunities for him and they were ones that he would never squander.
One of Jerry’s longest friendships going back to elementary school, was the one he had with his buddy Duane Jorgensen. This also provided him with a very special connection with Duane’s parents, then later, wife Paula and their 2 children, both who loved and respected Jerry as if he were family. Some of the best memories of Jerry, Jolene and Jeremy were times spent with the Jorgensen family and certainly some of the most wild and entertaining stories of Jerry and Duane’s adventures, either on the road or around town.
Another treasured friendship over the decades was the one with his buddy Dennis Wilson and his parents, siblings, and their families. Whether it was boating on Pineview or Willard Bay, or fishing from the banks of Tony Grove or one of the many rivers in Northern Utah, hiking around North Ogden Park or at Causey…even just relaxing in the hot tub, Dennis and Jerry enjoyed so many good times, often with Jerry’s family in tow. Dennis was like a brother to Jerry, and that was important as Jerry’s had lost both his youngest and eldest brothers early in their adult lives, due to illness.
Jerry was an exceptional son, husband, father, and grandfather. He was selfless and steadfast in providing for them, always taking care of them whenever they were ill, or sad, or otherwise in need, no matter what was ever required. He gave them so much of his love and devotion, and almost as valuable, he gave them so much of his time.
It was incredible, all that he could do and all that he did. He seemingly never stopped moving, working, or doing. Even in his final days on earth, when the progressions of illness had taken much of his ability to speak easily, or walk more than very short distances, Jerry acknowledged that his own body simply did not understand how to quit.
His entire life’s works and accomplishments spoke to that as well. Where others had floundered, faltered, or had simply given up, Jerry persisted, figured it out, solved the problem, fixed the broken machine, invented the thing that was necessary to do the job. The concepts of reusing, repurposing and renewal were practiced all of the time in his work and hobbies. Jerry could create something useful, if not essential, at times seemingly out of almost nothing. Jerry was the one who you could always count on and without fail. He contributed endlessly and faithfully served so many others with his hands, his knowledge, his imagination, his humanity and with his generous heart.
Jerry and his family were absolutely blessed to have been assisted with such great care, kindness and love from his in-home health care providers, Gayle Mortensen, NP-C of Castell Health and in his final days, Kelli Davis, LPN, McKayla Butler and Audrey Turner, Registered Nurse from Utah Home Health and Hospice. They were angels on Jerry’s shoulders, allowing him to live out all his final years, in his home and with dignity and grace.
Preceded in death by his parents, Helen and Elmer Poorte, brothers David N. Poorte and James D. Poorte, Jerry is survived by his loving wife, Jolene Poorte, son Jeremy L. Poorte, daughter-in-law Michelle R. Poorte, and grandchild Morgan L. Poorte, brother Steven E. (Karen) Poorte and family, sister Karen (Clifford) Anderson and family, and David Poorte's life partner Patrick Yettner and family, as well as many extended family members, former co-workers, good friends, and grateful neighbors. All who will miss this gifted, kind, industrious and intelligent man, dearly.
Per his wishes, there will be a gathering of friends and family to celebrate the life of Jerry Lynn Poorte, which will be announced in the coming weeks.