Funeral Recording- "https://audio.funeralrecording.com/embed/df91c37a-2fef-11ee-8e45-16cf116f09e5"
Jack Sly Emery, 87, passed away peacefully at his home on July 22nd, 2023. Jack was born in Salt Lake City on September 27, 1935, a day some will contend was the best day in history—and they would be right. As a child, he gained his resilience and sense of fun by playing pirates in the fields off of State Street, using willow sticks as swords; jumping off hay bales; and racing paper boats down irrigation pipes. The boat that came out of the pipe first was declared the winner until one day, Jack fell in and he came out first. On another day, he missed the hay bale he was jumping on and landed on a pitchfork. But the Lord had more in store for Jack, so he survived his boyhood years.
From the start, Jack was an innate businessman. At 16, the only jobs in Salt Lake City paid just 30 cents an hour. Jack learned, however, that he could make $5 an hour up in Alaska, so in the summer of 1951, he took the leap and joined the Alaskan frontier, working seven days a week, panning for gold.
When Jack was 18 years old, an old friend convinced him and 40 others to join the Air National Guard. Every morning at 6 am, Jack and his teammates learned drill after drill, and competed across the nation, where they took first in every state they visited. After a year of experience with the National Guard, he was ready to serve the Lord.
In 1955, Jack served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the Central States Mission, comprising Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri. He spent one year in Arkansas and another year in Oklahoma. Jack figured even the Lord didn’t like Arkansas because he was one of only two missionaries in the entire state. But that didn’t stop his determination to share the good news of the gospel. Jack and his companions blessed 24 lives with the covenant of baptism, one for each month of his mission. He learned that hard work pays off and the rewards grow by the year. Jack stayed in contact with many of those he baptized, attending weddings and receiving Christmas cards from his beloved central states friends.
Jack notes that his parents moved three times during his mission, but despite their best efforts, he still found them in the end. In his parent’s new ward, there was a beautiful young woman named Judy Fotheringham. Their blissful courtship lasted two years, since she was still in high school when they met, and her parents said she had to be nineteen before she could get married. Well, Judy’s birthday was March 22nd, so Jack married her on March 23rd. They were sealed for time and eternity in the Salt Lake Temple in 1959. Words cannot describe how much Jack loved his Judy.
Jack attended BYU for a year, and then finished his higher education journey at the University of Utah. As he put it, he studied, "Enduring to the End". During his time at the U, Jack joined the debate team. He and his teammates made it to the national championship against Stanford University. Their opponent’s lavish dress didn’t intimidate Jack, as he proceeded to wipe the floor with them, their fancy ties included, crushing Stanford and taking home the national debate team trophy.
Some would say the term Jack of all trades got its origin from Jack Emery. His many hats included being a salesman, carpenter, grave-digger, airplane pilot, fly fisherman, golfer, family historian, storyteller, family gatherer, avid BYU sports fan, and much more.
For much of his life Jack was a salesman, a man who could make a stranger his best friend. One afternoon, while waiting for Judy to get off work to go on a fishing trip, Jack saw a fancy building with a fancy logo and wanted to see what they were all about. He was met by company personnel asking if he was there to take their sales aptitude test. He had nothing else better to do, so he took the test. After returning from their week long fishing trip, Grandpa Sly informed Jack that IBM had been trying to get ahold of him the entire week, wanting to offer him a job. That random whim turned into several profitable years at both IBM and Telex, a time that served as a springboard to launching his own company with his brother Alvin.
Their company motto was, “You can't take second if you stay on first.” The brothers took the risk, believed in themselves, and their company thrived for over two decades. Then, in 1998 they sealed their success by selling their business for a significant profit.
During all those years, Jack and Judy were blessed with four wonderful children, two boys and two girls: Alicyn, Derek, Melinda, and Jake. Jack taught his children to work and play hard, believe in themselves, always ask for what you want because the answer is “no” if you don’t, handle life with a bit of wit, serve others, and never give up.
Jack learned to fly a plane when he saw an ad one day for a free flying lesson and decided why not. That lesson began his pilot’s journey of logging over 2,000 flight hours, including flying his children and grandchildren all around the continent in his tiny Cessna Centurian, tail number 2248 Lima.
When he wasn’t flying, he was fly-fishing, a sport that he’d loved since the age of fourteen, and one that he tried his best to pass along to his children and grandchildren. He always made new friends as he taught others to fly fish, including President Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Jack said when he and President Oaks first met, they instantly clicked, and he knew he had a life-long friend. They went fly fishing every year, as long as age would permit.
Jack spent his later years gathering his family in this life and in the next. He researched and found close to 25,000 relative names to be sent to the temple, offering these spirits the opportunity to receive their temple ordinances. He compiled his own history by writing down hundreds of his stories for future generations, leaving behind jokes, footprints of wisdom, harrowing tales, and spiritual experiences. He has posted many of these on FamilySearch for all to read.
Jack was a natural teacher of life, always opening his heart to helping his family and friends succeed. He was, and still is, the epitome of love shown through Christ-like action. He will be greatly missed by his 4 children, 13 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren. He was a patriarch who led his family in love, laughter, a little bit of teasing, and memorable experiences. Jack was an unforgettable man whom we all had the privilege of knowing.
Jack is survived by his wife Judith Fotheringham Emery; his daughters, Alicyn Wright (Camron) and Melinda Jennings (Jody), sons, Derek (Patti) and Jacob (Sarah) Emery; 13 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren; brothers, Alvin, Richard, Dennis, Mark, and sister, Carol.
Services will be held on Monday, July 31st, at 11am, at the Wasatch Stake Center: 8170 Short Hills Drive, Cottonwood Heights, Utah 84121. Watch via zoom at https://zoom.us/j/96001602177. A viewing will be held the evening prior, Sunday, July 30th, from 6-8 pm at the same location. Interment with Military Funeral Honors will be at Memorial Mountain View Cemetery, 3115 Bengal Blvd, Cottonwood Heights, Utah 84121.
In honor of Jack and his love for golf and fishing, we ask that you wear something green or blue to the funeral. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation be made to the LDS General Missionary Fund.
To see photos of Jack’s life visit https://youtu.be/ODPYTA5r-W0