Hart Sperry Rueckert passed away on January 8, 2023 surrounded by his loving family. Sperry was born on June 13, 1930 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the son of Hart Spilker and Eveline Sperry Rueckert. He married Anna Rae Hansen on December 26, 1952 in the Salt Lake Temple.
Sperry graduated from South High School in 1948. He served a mission to the North Central States Mission in Minneapolis from 1950-1952. He worked for the J.C. Penney Company for 38 years, during which time he was transferred to stores in Utah, Idaho and Nevada. He was the store manager at the Elko, Idaho Falls and Ogden stores. He retired in 1990.
Sperry began taking piano lessons at age 7. He was an extremely gifted pianist, and he played the piano in the Louis Dixon Orchestra for 22 years. He served as ward organist in every ward he and his family lived in. He also served as the organist in the Las Vegas Temple for a short time. His family members loved listening to Sperry play the piano. Sperry was also a talented tennis player, winning the BYU Invitational Tennis Tournament and several city-sponsored tournaments and was awarded a tennis scholarship to the University of Utah. He also played Church basketball, going to the All-Church Tournament a total of 7 times and winning all-Church honors in 1948-49 and MVP honors in 1954. In addition, Sperry was a pitcher in fast-pitch softball, winning over 200 games in Utah, Idaho and Nevada.
Sperry was a member of his mission basketball team, playing in the preliminary game of the professional Minneapolis Lakers in 1951. Arnie Ferrin, one of the players on the Minneapolis Lakers team, arranged for the members of the church to help sell tickets, for which the Church received 50 percent of the proceeds. This enabled the Church to build the first chapel in Minneapolis. Also during his mission, Sperry was a member of the Mormonaires, an orchestra comprised of missionaries. They traveled around the Minnesota area and presented assemblies to schools and distributed pamphlets about the Church, resulting in about 8,000 contacts.
Sperry's church callings included Sunday School Superintendent, Teacher's Advisor, High Priest Group Leader and member of the High Council. Anna Rae and Sperry served a church service mission for 5 years locating members whose church records were misplaced.
Sperry loved to go fishing, camping, and boating with his family and friends and his family took many vacations to Yellowstone and other places in the West and Canada. He also enjoyed many cruises with his immediate and extended family and friends.
Sperry is survived by his four children: Teri Nelson, Joni (David) Robison, Brian (Mindy) Rueckert, and Marc (Angela) Rueckert. He is also survived by 29 grandchildren and step-grandchildren, 42 3/4 great-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren, and sister, Sharon Hobbs. He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Anna Rae, his parents, two sisters, Geraldine Morris and Claudia Marsing, and son-in-law, Dan Nelson.
Funeral services will be held at the Little Cottonwood 5th Ward Chapel, 6350 South Rodeo Lane, Murray, UT on Saturday, January 14, 2023 at 11:30 a.m. A viewing will precede the funeral at 10 a.m.
Interment will be at the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
Those wishing to view the service via Zoon can click the " Watch Services" button or follow the link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87933178737
Dear family I just wanted you to know that I know the sorrow that you're feeling and I just want you guys to know that we're here for you if you need anything. We love you and we miss you guys. Love, Jackie and Marc Marsing
So sorry for the loss of a friend we will always be such friends
Sincere condolences upon hearing of the death of Sperry. I have so many memories of the family as my childhood found me in the home at 929 West 8th South, Salt Lake City, UT, where I lived with my parents, - Frank and Thelma Rueckert, and my Grandma -Elizabeth Rueckert for a time before her death. We all attended the old 26th Ward, Pioneer Stake. May God bless you all and your families.
My heart is greatly saddened by the passing of your dear father and John’s and my dear friend. We had so many wonderful times and memories with your mom and him. He was always so happy and smiling and fun to be with. I loved to hear him play the piano and organ. Hopefully, the three of them are having a great reunion. Love to all of you children. Marsha