Late in the evening of March 3, surrounded by his beloved spouse and daughters at home, Jeff Thorne, our husband, father, grandpa, mentor and friend, passed away due to complications from glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Jeff was born December 23, 1944 in Brigham City, Utah, to Lois Reeve and Leland Eugene Thorne. He was the youngest of four siblings, one sister, Faye, and three brothers, Richard, Doyle, and Brent. As a boy growing up in Perry, Jeff loved to play baseball and football and to work on the family fruit farm with his brothers and parents. He fondly remembered family trips to Yellowstone National Park, and throughout his life he took every opportunity he could to share outdoor experiences in Yellowstone, Alaska, and Hawaii with his family and friends.
At Box Elder High School, Jeff was involved with sports and student activities, lettering in baseball and football, and participating in the B’Iver Club. During his senior year, he started dating his forever sweetheart, Sherry Jenson, who he married for time and all eternity in the Logan Temple February 9, 1968.
Following his graduation from high school, Jeff was awarded an athletic scholarship playing center on the University of Utah football team. While he continued his love for Ute football throughout his life, he was also a fan of the alma mater of his BYU spouse, and regularly took his family to home games in Provo and bowl games in Las Vegas, San Diego, and Hawaii.
Jeff served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Auckland, New Zealand. He loved his missionary service, the conversion experiences, and the people of New Zealand, often telling stories to his children and grandchildren. Following his missionary service, Jeff received his bachelor’s degree from Utah State University and went to the University of Utah Law School graduating with honors in 1972. During this time, he enlisted in the Army ROTC and after graduation became a member of the Utah State Bar.
After his ROTC and Army experience, Jeff and Sherry returned to their hometown area in Brigham City, where he was active in community and business affairs. He started working with Walt Mann and Reed Hadfield, at the law firm of Mann and Hadfield, which eventually became Mann, Hadfield & Thorne. Jeff had a successful 48-year legal career, helping a variety of people resolve difficult challenges. He served as Deputy Box Elder County Attorney, Brigham City Attorney, President of the Box Elder County Bar Association, and on the Utah State Bar Commission.
Jeff had an unshakable faith in, testimony of and devotion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He provided a lifetime of service in furtherance of the Lord’s work, including serving as a bishop in the Brigham City 6th Ward, stake president of the Brigham City South Stake, and a member of the Church Public Affairs Committee during the construction and dedication of the Brigham City Temple. Jeff and Sherry also served as senior missionaries in the Singapore Mission, where they were assigned to labor in an area in Butterworth, Malaysia, helping establish a small branch. Elder and Sister Thorne loved missionary work and the Saints of Malaysia, who have become an extension of their family. Jeff was never bashful about sharing his testimony or his love for Jesus Christ.
While he may have been an attorney by trade, Jeff was a fruit farmer in his heart and soul. He helped his mother run the family farm by annually harvesting pie cherries, apricots, and peaches. Upon his mother’s passing, Jeff bought the farm that had been in the Thorne family for 5 generations (and hopefully many more). Jeff was planting peach trees up until the end, even after the cancer diagnosis. He often described the Thorne family farm as an extension of heaven on earth.
Jeff is preceded in death by his son, Kirk; his mother, Lois; and his father, Leland; and siblings Faye, Doyle and Richard. He is survived by his wife and eternal companion, Sherry Ann Jenson; daughters Stephanie Thorne Wagstaff (Andrew), Lehi UT; Stacie Thorne Kotter (Daniel), Ashburn VA; and Heidi Thorne Baird (Adam), Spokane Valley WA. He had 11 grandchildren whom he loved and adored. He often said he began to understand the beauty of the eternities and The Plan of Salvation more fully through his grandchildren. He has two returned missionary granddaughters, one granddaughter currently serving, and his first grandson received his mission call hours prior to his passing.
Funeral services will be provided by Myers Mortuary in Brigham City, with a viewing at Myers on Thursday, March 12 from 6-8 pm. The Funeral service will be Friday, March 13 at 1 pm, with a viewing from 11:30-12:30 at the Brigham City South Stake Center located at 865 S. 300 W., in Brigham City. In lieu of flowers, you may contribute to the American Brain Tumor Association or The LDS Church’s Missionary Fund.