Jonathan Holbrook Obituary (1945 – 2021) – Salt Lake City, UT

Jonathan Dell (J.Dell) Holbrook


J.Dell Holbrook of West Bountiful, Utah, died at the age of 76 from complications from a car accident on August 12, 2021. Before his death on September 18, 2021, he spent more than five weeks in the intensive care unit of an Intermountain Health Care Hospital in Salt Lake City.

J. Dell was born on June 27, 1945 in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Dell and Marie Holbrook. He had three brothers, Bob, Bert and Lee, who were ten years younger than J.Dell. Bert was his older brother, and he spent a lot of time with J. Dell growing up. Along with the other boys who lived on the street, J.Dell and Bert developed new games to play with or just got into trouble. Those were the times when racing cars were built from old wooden fruit boxes and old wagon tires, fins for toy pistols were made from used bicycle tire tubes and playing cards were attached to bicycle tires with clothespins for parades. The maps made their motorcycles sound like motorcycles, and driving their handcrafted cars down Center Street above Orchard Drive was a lot of fun! They played baseball games organized at the Stoker School and went hiking to the Big B on the mountainside. J. Dell’s brother Bert loved to light a fire so the neighborhood gang could piss on her. One day the fire got out of hand and a chicken coop went up in flames!

Bountiful was a great place to grow up. There were Cantaloupe Days in the fall at Bountiful Park, where everyone could eat as much cantaloupe as they wanted for ten cents, or the spectators could watch Donkey Basketball, where half the team rode donkeys and half the bloomer girls disguised. The person at the bat hit a rag ball, got on a donkey, and rode it to the first base, etc. It was great fun to watch! American Bandstand and Dick Clark were a big deal back then, and Utah had its own answer to that called Utah Bandstand with Ray Uilaberry. It aired on Channel 5 in Salt Lake City, and the Tennager were playing pantomime hits of the day.

J.Dell began his career at the age of thirteen with a roadside fruit stand on the west side of Highway 89 in Bountiful, Utah, south of Pappas’ Steak House. He often talked about how much he had learned about people and products. His boss Ernie taught him that poorer people are usually more honest than richer people and complain less about the price of products. J. Dell moved from working with landscaping skills products at Kirkland’s Nursery for Gary Burningham.

J. Dell attended Stoker Elementary School, Bountiful Junior High, and Bountiful High School. As a generous brave man, he loved his language and industrial arts courses best. Mrs. Gill was a favorite teacher for him. He loved hanging out with his friends and working at night with his father renovating a cabin boat.

After high school, J. Dell attended Weber State College until serving in the British South Mission. His mission president, Don K. Archer, became a lifelong friend, and under his tutelage, J. Dell gained a reverence for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as he developed humility, tact, and a love for the British people. Batman was popular at the time, and as assistant to President Archer, J. Dell and his companion took advantage of a superhero initiative to motivate their fellow missionaries. Their antics were remembered years later at missionary meetings.

After his mission, J. Dell resumed his studies at Weber State College, where he met his wife Jacqueline in a dance class. She thought he was a reluctant young returned missionary, but she was soon to find out otherwise. About a year later they were married on June 19, 1969 in the Salt Lake Temple, and within ten years they were blessed with five children – three girls and two boys. They recently celebrated their 52nd anniversary.

J. Dell served in the Air National Guard for 24 years. He trained at the United States Air Force Crash / Rescue School and became a fire protection specialist. During his training, he had the opportunity to teach the gospel to his classmates, even though his crew members had a lot of good-natured gossip. As a Utah security guard, he served on the base next to the Salt Lake Airport. His technical training grew in ground safety and civil engineering, and he was selected to serve on a Prime Beef unit whose goal was to build an Air Force runway anywhere in the world in 72 hours. As a Master Sergeant, his men nicknamed him “Chaplin” because J.Dell often did his best to keep his men from getting too far out of line during their service.

J. Dell loved working with his hands and trained to be a licensed general contractor specializing in the construction of heavy industrial and commercial buildings. He has also been involved in housing construction. During that time he served as a volunteer firefighter for Bountiful City. His father was a volunteer firefighter for years and a member of the Bountiful Jeep Posse, which represented a high standard for him.

In 1990, J. Dell was elected to the Davis County Commission where he held a variety of responsibilities and experiences. He particularly liked working with Sid Smith when they designed and executed plans to rebuild the Antelope Island Causeway for much less than the estimated cost. Another of his jobs was overseeing Davis County’s senior centers, and he really loved visiting seniors and solving problems within the organization.

J. Dell also served in various ecclesiastical positions and through his service he made many friendships. He loved working with the youth early in his life and then with the widows and needy as he got older. He liked to make people laugh and he was good at it. He also loved serving as a faithful salvation helper and superior in the Temple of Generosity.

Service was very important to him and he looked for opportunities to get involved in charity. He served as chairman of the grocery and grocery pantry board for several years. As a member of the South Davis Kiwanis Club, he made several lifelong friends who gave him pleasure. He was also politically active and did his best to support what he believed in.

J.Dell was known for his spirited personality and love for family and friends. Not a day went by without chatting about life in general with those he cherished, while adding laughter and cheek to their conversations. He spent time every day visiting his older brother Bert while they struggled with the ups and downs of getting older.

Published by Deseret News September 23-24, 2021.

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