Jerry Preston Barratt 1940 - 2011
Contributor: Soonersports1 Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
JERRY PRESTON BARRATT
(1940 - 2011)
Jerry was the first child born to Preston and Margaret Barratt. His arrival on August 27, 1940 in Salt Lake City brought great joy to all. He was also the first grandchild for Thomas and Ann Barratt as well as Karl and Olga Bergquist. With beautiful big blue eyes and a sweet disposition it was apparent everyone wanted to spoil him.
He was raised in Salt Lake at the family home located at 1601 S. 23rd East. He was the big brother to Diane, Jack, and Susan. Jerry attended elementary school at Emerson and Dilworth and junior high at Hillside. Favorite teacher was Mrs. Isaacson.
He went to high school at East High and remembers his parents taking him to buy the latest in clothing styles. Being small for his age and wanting him to fit in I'm sure his parents thought the clothes would do the trick. Jerry remembers it didn't quite work - even with the khaki pants, wide belt and specialty shirt.
The family moved from Salt Lake to American Fork in 1956. Preston built a beautiful home for the family in a newer area of the city. Jerry completed his high school education at American Fork High School - he really enjoyed his involvement with the Cavaliers Club. The club was formed by young men who loved cars.
A favorite school story took place at the old three story American Fork High School which has since been replaced with the Recreation Center. While in a classroom on the third floor, Jerry became bored with the day's lecture so he climbed out the window and made his way down the side of the brick building. A few feet from the bottom he felt someone poke him in the rear. Looking down he was surprised to see the principal, Jess Walker, waiting for him. He said, "Barratt you made your way down here now get back yourself back up into class."
Adventure was Jerry's middle name. For years after graduation he experienced the thrills and spills of many recreational activities. Once while racing his car, if you will, down Pulley's Hill he found himself upside down in a ditch when he wasn't able to stop in time. No injuries - at least not to himself. His mother, at the time, was home sitting in the living room of their new home and heard the screeching tires to which she said, "Oh, I hope that's not Jerry."
Jerry raced his black Ford at Bonneville raceway and won a drag race at 89 mph. He received a large trophy and his record wasn't broken for several years.
He also raced his motorcycle on an oval track at Bonneville. In one race a driver took the corner a bit sharp and his tail end went into the cycle next to him which in turn ran into Jerry's. He was thrown from his cycle. After landing on his hands and knees, another rider from behind ran right into his hind end. He was taken to the hospital with injuries. Luckily he survived. (This was after he was married)
He also rode his cycle at the Widowmaker run near the Point of the Mountain.
Other adventures include riding bulls in a rodeo. That was probably his least favorite experience.
As a teenager, he worked at Barratt Builders and Cecil Parker's Frontier Oil. He also picked onions for Mr. Pierce near the boat harbor where many farms were located.
Jerry joined the United States Marine Corps at seventeen. He was stationed mainly in San Diego and Camp Pendleton. Made Lance Corporal (twice). The stress of the Marine Corp caused physical problems for Jerry. When he completed his training, he ended up in the hospital with bleeding ulcers and other digestive problems. He continued to have problems with ulcers throughout his life.
He graduated from the University of Utah with a B.A. in Political Science. After graduation, he worked at a variety of jobs - liked the outside opportunities the most.
Jerry married Kaye in 1963 and he later adopted her three children from earlier marriages - Laurie Kaye, Jeffery Harold, and Virginia Rae. Jerry and Kaye added one son to the existing family, William Preston.
Community service: Democratic Party, Jaycees, Am. Fork Fire Department, and Am. Fork Ambulance Crew. He was the first director of the volunteer ambulance for American Fork in 1970. He served as president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) Jerry was the designer of the Senior Citizen Center dedicated in 1980. He was also one of its largest contributors.
Jerry has been a jack of all trades. Some of his work experience includes building homes with his father and brother at Barratt Development Company. He has been a long haul truck driver for Savage Brothers. He's worked in Minnesota, South Carolina, Denver, Phoenix, and Elko, Nevada. While in South Carolina he worked in the gold mines as an employer of Gene Duvall. He worked many areas doing iron work and other times was a heavy equipment operator.
Numerous injuries have occurred in his life. Some from car accidents, being bucked off a bull, motorcycle mishaps, and once a truss fell on his head while working on construction. All of which caused serious back injuries.
He always tried to keep in good physical condition even with injuries. Weight lifting and jiu jitsu were two activities he worked hard at. In his fifties, he competed in a jiu jitsu tournament in California. He finished second or third for his age group. He also broke his shoulder in the event.
Participating in the annual "pig hunts" in Moroni always provided great stories for years to come. Jerry along with his brothers-in-law and often friends would head south for a weekend of a little hunting and a lot of partying. The family remembers one trip which resulted in some interesting haircuts.
Jerry's trademark "grumpy" disposition endeared him to everyone. Also known as "Uncle Sweary" by his beloved nieces and nephews. No one could spout off like Jerry - well okay maybe his Dad. Even with his "agitated state" we all knew he really did love us.
Generosity is also his trademark. McCall and David (niece and nephew) still remember the year he won the Super Bowl and shared the winnings. Before the game had ended he told the two that if he won he'd give them $100 each. For two young junior high kids, they learned their uncle was a man of his word.
One evening he brought home a friend who had no place to live - Kaye gets a gold star for this one because she gave him her bedroom for the week he stayed there. He donated to many a worthy cause, but was always uncomfortable if anyone mentioned it.
Being a bit of a clean freak, no one showered more. He always had a classy look about him when he wasn't in work clothes.
Traditions were important to Jerry. Every summer for years he and Kaye reserved cabins for the kids and grandkids at Fish Lake. Fish Lake was special to him because he visited there with his own Grandpa Bergquist. Many great memories for the family were made there. Another tradition was Christmas Eve at their home. All the family would gather and enjoy a Christmas feast followed by gift exchanges. Having a REAL Christmas tree made him especially happy. Father's Day was always celebrated in American Fork Canyon with a family breakfast. Jerry loved his family.
Jerry had a talent for collecting friends wherever he went. They span the United States. Sharing many of his various stories with friends and family kept everyone in stitches. But no one laughed harder at his jokes and stories than he did. Actually most got the biggest laugh out of watching him.
One friend especially close to Jerry was Ray Beasley. Jerry often commented how Beasley stuck by him through thick and thin. One difficult challenge for him was when he quit drinking - those he thought were friends would have nothing to do with him when he stopped. It was a very hurtful time for him. Ray, however, stayed close by even until the end. During the rough years of pain and illness, Ray always stopped by a few times a week to pick up Jerry for their coffee trip to Tangies Cafe in downtown American Fork.
Later years brought several health issues. He had triple by-pass surgery on his heart, but was able in time to return to work. He struggled with respiratory issues from smoking, as well as ulcerated colitis. On June 29, 2008 Jerry had an aortic aneurysm burst. It was truly miraculous he survived - chances were very slim. He was life-flighted from American Fork Hospital to Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah. After his release from the hospital, he was never able to get his energy back or return to work. Within a couple of years, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer which traveled to his spine. .
During the last years of his life he mellowed even though his pain and suffering increased. He made the comment one day (to his sister Susan) that if he had it to do over again he'd probably do the same things in life except he would have been more careful not to hurt the feelings of others.
His family did all they could to make his last days more bearable which he appreciated. He passed away with Kaye by his side in the early hours of Sunday, March 13, 2011. He is greatly missed by all his family.
Compiled by Susan Barratt Smith (Jerry's sister)