Darrell LuRoy Deem, a veteran pilot, earned his “wings” February 26, 2022 as he passed from this life surrounded by loved ones in his home. He faced multiple health challenges throughout his life resulting from his 40-year battle with rheumatoid arthritis but he endured faithfully to the end. He was born on June 3, 1932 in a small community called Harper Ward north of Brigham City, son of Ida and Lu Roy P. Deem. His father was a vegetable farmer and he and his five sisters were taught the blessing of hard work in the fields alongside their parents from a young age.
Darrell attended Utah State University and was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha and participated in plays and other organizations including editor of the yearbook. During the summers he worked as a traveling salesman of women’s apparel in North Dakota and Minnesota earning enough money to support himself through college. He graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Business Administration and a commission in the US Air Force. He earned his wings as a pilot and after his active duty he joined the Air Reserve out of Hill Field and later the Utah Air Nat’l Guard. He retired with the rank of Lt. Col. His Air Force experience afforded him the opportunity to travel the world and participate in some rather harrowing experiences including landing on one engine after dumping all the cargo into the sea to lighten the load of his C119.
Darrell was an entrepreneur at heart and purchased his first business, the Day/Nite Laundercenter in Ogden, Utah in 1958. Two years later he sold the business and purchased an intimate apparel store in Salt Lake. He changed the name to Juliette’s and expanded from one to five locations between Ogden and Orem which he managed for thirty-one years. He sold his retail stores in 1993 and then began making bridge loans and working in real estate. He loved investing. It was all a great adventure, sometimes working out better than others. Most recently he liked to talk about his 30,000 “girl employees,” the bees in his hive.
His biggest adventure was his marriage to Jean Messinger that began on a blind date. His proposal was all business, asking Jean if she thought “they could make it work?” She laughed for years about the unromantic nature of the whole thing. She thought he might have said the same thing if they were going into business buying a hot dog stand. Their marriage began in the Salt Lake Temple officiated by Gordon B. Hinckley. They made it work. They are the parents of three daughters and two sons. All of the kids were taught the value of hard work via the family vegetable garden and raspberry patch and working various jobs at Juliette’s which included delivering merchandise and gift wrapping at Christmas. He was a master storyteller, delighting his kids and sometimes their friends with his fanciful tales of Jesse James and his gang, and the real stories of his adventures as a kid with his dog, “Old Red,” and the Baker mine and the rattlesnakes. He was a BYU football fanatic unless they were playing the Aggies.
The driving force in Darrell’s life was his devotion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. He loved the Lord and devoted many hours to callings in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, ranging from branch pres., to bishop, to counselor in the stake pres., and many others. He and Jean served two temple missions; Madrid, Spain and Veracruz, Mexico. He was an ordinance worker in the Salt Lake Temple for twenty years, a calling he dearly loved and took great pride in.
He is survived by his wife Jean and their five children, Julie Poll of West Jordan, Jeffrey (Jacqui) Deem of Grand Forks, ND, Karen Klomp of Park City, David (Jennifer) Deem of Canton MI and Kristen Deem of Salt Lake City and three sisters, Donna Beesley, Sharon Jensen and JoAnn Porter. The “tribe” increased to eleven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, jewels all. The family wishes to thank Craig and Ellen Garrett who wrote the book on ministering, always there for us and wonderful neighbors, Ellen Lambert and Craig Lelis. And most especially our granddaughter, Brooke Bastian, R.N. who stayed with Darrell around the clock for days, knowing just what needed to be done and keeping him comfortable.
Funeral service will be held Thurs., March 3 at the Ensign 1st Ward located at 135 A St., SLC, UT, 84103, with a visitation at 9:30am and the funeral at 11:00 am.
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What a great man! My uncle, a mentor to me and someone I have looked up to all my life. Darrell was and will always remain a great example to me. Thank you for all you’ve done to touch my life, to inspire me and to be such a wonderful example!