Jerrold V Spainhower passed away peacefully on November 10, 2021. He was born February 10, 1931, to Verald W and Maude LaVerne (Cowan) Spainhower, in Spring Lake, Utah. He was the third child and second son. He joined his older brother, George Duane, and an older sister, Afton; his younger brother John Wesley (Jackie) was born four years later. He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He had a very happy childhood and loved playing with his cousins and friends in Spring Lake. They were surrounded by his mother’s family and had a very close relationship. In the winter he would often go stay on his Grandfather Cowan’s farm
During his growing-up years his father was a trucker and trucked all over the western states and was gone a lot; later he started working for the railroad.
In 1945 his little brother, Jackie, fell through the ice on Spring Lake and drowned. This was devastating for the whole family. It was so hard on his mother to see the place that he drowned every day that her sister took her to Phoenix hoping it would help with the painful memories. When she returned, her hair had turned snow white.
His father had been transferred to Milford, Utah, with the railroad shortly before this and after his mother’s return he moved the whole family to Milford. Jerry graduated from Milford High School in 1949. He loved music and art.
His parents went into partnership on a farm in Adamsville, Utah. He was a Sunday School teacher in the Greenville Ward and played the piano for sacrament. He worked on the farm and as a short time for the railroad laying and repairing track. He attended Utah State University and was an undergraduate there. He moved to Salt Lake City in his mid 20’s and joined the Army. Two years later he received an honorable discharge and started working. He worked for Makoff’s (an exclusive clothing store on South Temple) first as a window display designer and then as a salesman. He also worked in their Cottonwood Mall location. When they closed their doors he went to work for the Salt Lake Court System as a clerk. He retired from the court system but then returned and worked several more years.
Wherever he worked he made many friends.
He always stayed close to his parents and siblings. His mother would often travel to Salt Lake by train to visit with him for a few days where they would shop and go out to eat. He was especially close to his sister, Afton, and her family. He was always excited to attend and later participate in baby blessings, baptisms, ordinations to the priesthood, and weddings of his nieces and nephews and later his grand and great-grand nieces and nephews. The nieces and nephews adored him and loved spending time with him. The favorite activity every year was to stop in to visit him at Christmas and see his beautiful Christmas tree with its hundreds of ornaments.
Jerry was an impeccable dresser…he always liked his hair and beard trimmed and as my grandma used to say, “Dressed to the nines.” He was a very good cook and loved having friends and family over for dinner. He was a wonderful host and always made everyone feel at home. He loved reminiscing and would entertain guests with stories from his past. His compassion, generosity, sense of humor and the ability to host a wonderful dinner or party will be missed! He loved life and rejoiced in serving and making others happy.
His yard was beautifully landscaped and the envy of the neighborhood, but his favorite part of the yard was his “Secret Garden” in the back of his house where plants were in abundance and a serene feeling of God’s love was felt. He loved to sit on his back patio and enjoy nature. He was notorious for going to the nursery to get a specific plant and arriving home with a car load of plants that he didn’t have room to plant, but he would just wedge them in between the other plants and the effect was beautiful. Another weakness he had was perusing plant catalogs that arrived in the mail and ordering volumes of plants and bulbs.
He loved to travel and retained a youthful excitement wherever he went. He spoke often of his trips to Disneyland with friends. He was never afraid to try something new. His favorite ride was the California Screamer. At a family reunion with his niece’s family at a water park a few years ago, he went down the giant slide, had a collision with one of his grand-nephews and got a concussion.
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents and all three of his siblings, George Duane Spainhower, Afton Spainhower Kesler, and John Wesley (Jackie) Spainhower; one nephew, Stephen Arnold Kesler; two grand nephews, Michael Jay Kesler and Brian Nephi Kesler, a great-grand niece, Kamie Lynne Bartlett and his life-long friend, Stewart Evans.
He is survived by his friend, Daniel Freed; three nieces, Sandra Lee Morgan, Janice Kay Markovitch, and Rebecca Lynne (Kesler) Bartlett; five nephews, Roger Alan Kesler, Jeffrey Dale Kesler, John Ray Kesler, Chris Lee Kesler, and James Ryan Kesler; 32 great-nieces and nephews; and 76 great-grand nieces and nephews.
My heart is very sad that my dear friend Jerry passed away and I didn't even know. Jerry was my boss at the courthouse for 30 years. When my husband and I got married he gave me away he was a wonderful man and I had a great heart. And he and Stewart will be reunited I'm sorry for his friend's loss and the family. God-bless him cause he was a wonderful man. That makes my heart very sad that I missed this. I love you Jerry, thank you so much for everything you did for me. I was not the perfect employee but he had a way of knowing how to handle me,
We’ve been Jerry’s neighbor for the past seven years. As the obit says, he was an impeccable dresser and had an amazing head of hair. Jetty looked and acted 30 years younger than 90.
More than his outside, it’s his inside that my family will miss. He was kind, thoughtful and always ready for a chat and helped me understand the plants in my yard. He was so kind to my children, even attending one of their violin concerts. We loved going into his home to see his tree. It was so fabulous, one year he left it up all year.
Jerry spoke fondly of his family all the time and enjoyed his trips to see them.our familiy’s deep condolences to you. My regret is we moved in too late to meet Stuart. May he be joyfully reuniting with him, his mom, dad and brothers and sisters.
We will miss you Jerry.
—The Vienneau family
Uncle Tommy was always one of my favorite people! He would host us at his home & always made us feel so at home & comfortable. He was amazing cook & gardner. His home was decorated so beautifully & at Christmas was my favorite time to go & visit. His Christmas tree was always so beautiful & elaborate. I loved to sit on his deck with all of the beautiful plants & look out over the city. He was so gentle & kind & I will always hold a special place in my heart. He will be missed. May he rest in peace & enjoy being with all of his loved ones.
Our family always called him Uncle Tommy, as I was told he looked like someone name Tom when he was a toddler. He was always my favorite uncle, always loving, kind, funny, and very talented. When he talked to you, he made you feel like you were the most beautiful, intelligent person in the room. And then he would come up with something funny to say which always reminded me of my Dad, his older brother. Since we lived so far apart, most of our conversations were on the phone. He loved to garden and was very proud of his home. What an absolute treasure he was. I didn’t realize at the time, but the long conversation we had on cousin Becky’s porch three years ago, would be our last in person talk. I will miss Uncle Tommy forever, but I am glad he is with Jesus and his loved ones in Heaven. Love and Blessings, Janice
I had the privilege of living next door to Jerry for over two years. He would wander over and tell me stories about the early years of the Avenues and then name every flower and tree in his yard and mine. At every pass, he told me how much he loved me, always with a big smile on his face. Just before he moved from his Avenues home, he came over and I played a few songs for him on the piano. Even though they were mediocre, he praised them over and over again. Miss you, Jerry!
What a special and talented man. I remember him playing the piano for my Mom from the time I was very little. Such a sweet disposition and always made me feel special when he visited. At Christmas my Mom took us to downtown Salt Lake to see his window displays. Rest in peace, old friend!