John “Jack” Douglas Jelte (He/Him), artist, foodie, and accomplished photographer and traveler, died on Tuesday, January 31, 2023.
John was born in Utah on September 4, 1950. He graduated from Viewmont High School and attended the University of Utah.
If you knew John, you knew him as a man whose life was full of incredible adventures and outrageous stories. From finding a cougar in his garage to feeding crocodiles marshmallows to working as a photojournalist who’s done work for AP, UPI, Reuters, and Philippe Petit. John always had an exciting story to share.
Along with his stories, John carried a wealth of knowledge about everything - from geology to astronomy. He always had some crazy list of facts about any location or activity. Sharing and teaching were how he showed love.
An avid travel lover, he lived in Europe, Japan, Texas, Arizona, California, and Utah. Yellowstone and Teton National Parks were two of his favorite places, as well as Monterey, California, where he learned Russian at the Defense Language Institute while becoming a linguist for the United States Army.
You would never see John without his camera. Outside of photojournalism, he loved taking photos of wildlife, particularly threatened or endangered species. And one could almost always find him wandering the grounds of Utah’s Hogle Zoo on the weekends, where he took some of the most incredible photos.
John also loved sharing the work of other artists. He volunteered briefly as an exhibit chair for the Utah County Arts Board. John beamed whenever he talked about different artists.
He always took an interest in other people, even if they were strangers he met at a bus stop. You can guarantee they'd be lifelong friends by the end of their first meeting.
Since his remarkable life cannot fit into a few paragraphs: the overarching theme is his ability to find beauty, whether in people, nature, food, or a spindly three-legged table from a thrift store. John could always find something to love.
He’s survived by his twin daughters, Margaret (Neal) and Katherine (Jack), and his sons Nathan (Stacie), Jeremiah (Laurie), and Jory (Mynde), his siblings Eric (Denise), Karin (Kevin), and Julie (Alan). He is further survived by nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John Albert “Jack” Jelte and Velda Jeanne Schofield Jelte.
Funeral services will be held Monday, the 6th of February, at Lindquist's Bountiful Mortuary in Bountiful, Utah. There will be viewings Sunday night from 6 pm to 8 pm, and Monday morning from 9:30 am to 10:30 am, followed by a funeral at 11 am. Afterward, he will be laid to rest in the Bountiful City Cemetery to be near family.
Flowers can be sent to Lindquist's Bountiful Mortuary, addressed to the Jelte Family. Thereafter or in lieu of flowers, funeral cost donations may be made to Lindquist's Bountiful Mortuary.