Jeffrey Paul Reynolds passed away in the early hours of Friday, November 6, 2020. His cherished wife and eternal companion, Mary Kaye, was at his side, as she has been for the past 42 years. His physical body was ultimately overcome by sepsis and multiple organ failures due to complications of treatment for metastatic soft tissue sarcoma.
Jeff, the red-haired son of Richard and Iris Reynolds, was born May 25, 1956 in Salt Lake City, UT. Raised in his parents’ adorable 3-bedroom home in the Avenues with his three siblings, he grew into the hard-working, honest, supportive man we know and love.
Jeff was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served faithfully in the Philippines Cebu City Mission from 1976 to 1978. Following his mission, he met his eternal companion, Mary Kaye Jones. They both grew up in the Ensign Stake and were acquainted, but after talking with her following a Stake Young Adult Fireside he went home and told his mother, “I’ve met a girl! And she’s blonde and has blue eyes.” Within two days they had their first date. After a solid month of being together every day, going to the movies, Salt Lake Gulls baseball games, a host of fun hikes, picnics, and outings to Temple Square, they knew it was a match made in heaven. Jeff and Mary Kaye were engaged on Father’s Day, and married and sealed together for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake Temple on October 6, 1978.
The next several years of their lives were spent raising their family of four boys and attending countless ball games. Jeff always made time for his boys and ball, whether it was taking his oldest son to the church to play basketball at the break of dawn, or playing catch in the backyard every night after dinner. As his boys grew and began to throw harder, he found a left-handed catcher’s mitt (which is no easy feat) to better protect his hand as he sat on a five gallon bucket receiving fastball after fastball. He taught the boys to play hard, with dignity and respect.
Hard-work was Jeff’s default. This defining attribute was always on display during his 35-year career as a carpenter at Primary Children's Hospital. When Christmas rolled around each year, you could count on him putting in the extra hours as he coordinated the Festival of Trees for the engineering staff at Primary Children’s Hospital. His indomitable work-ethic rubbed off on his sons, helping them achieve success in all aspects of their lives.
One achievement of which Jeff was always proud was attaining the rank of Eagle Scout. He earned his Eagle Scout award as a young man, which held a place of honor in his dresser drawer, along with the green sash displaying his 21 merit badges. He placed a great deal of emphasis on Boy Scouts and the Eagle Scout ranking with his four boys. His example and encouragement may have been enough, but he left nothing to chance by incentivising the honor: no driver’s license without first earning your Eagle Scout Award. As Marc received his award, Jeff and his three oldest boys proudly sat in the Eagles’ Nest, happy that the youngest had completed the sweep.
You won’t find a more selfless, stoic man than Jeff. His devotion to the Utah Jazz and the University of Utah Utes was constant through the years, but it wasn’t until after the boys had grown up and started families of their own that he had time to spend on his interests and hobbies. He fell in love with Alaska and relished Alaskan fishing trips with his sons. They always returned with enough halibut to fill the freezer. He loved working on a good jigsaw puzzle, collecting coins, and catching new releases in the movie theater. He and Mary Kaye were season ticket holders for the Utah Stars and enjoyed getting to as many games as possible. And, of course, he loved watching his grandkids play ball. He spoiled them with candy and Dollar Tree treasures at every opportunity and was always ready with a dollar for the concession stand. He loved food, too—but only a small subsection of it. Jeff was a true connoisseur of the three major food groups: meat, potatoes, and ketchup.
He was as frugal as they come; deliberate and intentional with his savings. No piggy bank was big enough for his generosity (or his loose change). His boys remember their bears full of pennies—two-foot-tall plastic bears with coin slots in the top of their heads. Jeff would announce that it was time for pennies and the boys would grab their impossibly heavy banks, drag them up the stairs, one step at a time, and haul them into their Dad’s bedroom to add piles of change to their bears.
Jeff was a great man of few words who taught and led by example. Like all of us, he fell short of perfection in this life, but he was the sort of man who commanded the respect of his peers simply because of the dignified and straightforward way he carried himself. Never outspoken, if Jeff felt something needed to be said he would say it, and you could be sure it was important.
Jeff is survived by his caring wife of 42 years, Mary Kaye; his four strapping sons and their beautiful wives: Todd (Brooke), Weston (Missy), Cameron (Leila), and Marc (Jensen); 8 exuberant grandchildren: Ellie, Savannah, Cooper, Jackson, Boston, Grace, Jones, and Isabel; his angel mother, Iris; and his three siblings and their spouses: Chris, Mike (Lisa), and Carrie (Brad). He was preceded in death by his father, Richard, and his brother-in-law, Jim.
The Reynolds family is very grateful to Dr. Gregory Litton and the entire staff at Utah Cancer Specialists for their tender care, their devotion to Jeff, support and love to MaryKaye, and for being their second family for the past 27 months. Their\ association with you will be missed.
A viewing will be held Wednesday, November 11 from 5:00–8:00 PM at Larkin Sunset Gardens in Sandy (1950 E. Dimple Dell Road (10600 S.)). If you would like to offer your condolences in person by attending the viewing, please wear a mask and refrain from physical forms of affection, such as hugs and handshakes, as we exercise proper social distancing. Capacity will be limited by current Salt Lake County guidelines.
A private family service will be streamed Thursday, November 12 at 11:00 AM. If you would like to view the service, use the following link: https://youtu.be/sYW4EzkP-CI
To help us honor Jeff’s legacy, please consider donating to Five for the Fight to contribute to ongoing cancer research: https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/in-loving-memory-of-jeff-reynolds