Obituary for Wayne "J" Gold | Russon Brothers Funeral Directors

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Wayne "J" Gold

July 6, 1949 ~ October 4, 2018 (age 69)

"If my ship sails from sight, it doesn't mean my journey ends, it simply means the river bends." (Enoch Powell)

Wayne "J" Gold (July 6, 1949 - October 4, 2018) was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Wayne Benfell and Helen Hathaway Gold. His earliest memories were of the Gold family homestead on the Jordan River where his grandfather established a successful sod farm & nursery, and also built many of the first homes in the area. This is probably where Wayne's love of the river began. In 1956, the family moved to Bountiful, Utah. He attended Tolman Elementary, Bountiful Jr. High, and the new Viewmont High School, where Wayne's class of '67 was the first to attend all three years. He ran track and excelled at standing broad jump. (Even into his 40's, he could jump a picnic table with benches!) He spent his youth hunting, fishing, camping, and relentlessly teasing his six younger brothers and sisters. His dad was his scout leader, volleyball coach, and best friend growing up. They made countless fishing trips to the Salmon River in Idaho where they would sleep under the stars on a narrow platform over the river to reserve the best fishing spot. Volleyball was a favorite activity through adulthood. 

As a teenager, Wayne gained a testimony of the gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. His parents and family were the most important things in his life, and he testified that the ordinances of the temple provided the way for them to be together forever. After high school, he shared the gospel with the Zuni and Navajo Tribes in the Southwest Indian Mission in Arizona. A missionary companion told him about working as a river guide for Western River Expeditions, so when he returned home he applied and was hired on the spot. He'd found his (first) true calling and spent eleven summers as a "blue-eyed boatman," guiding trips down the exhilarating and magnificent canyons of the Colorado. It was "almost heaven." Two years into his river career, he met a recent BYU grad, Linda Menzel. They married and made their home in Moab, UT, where three daughters were born. Life was "Grand" there. 

When a river guide's wages could no longer support his family, they moved north to Davis County and he sold insurance with his dad for a few years before going to work in the roofing business. He made lifelong friendships with the Kendalls at Urethane Co. of Utah. They shared Wayne's love of the BYU Cougars, and many football and basketball games were attended together. Lynette Timothy and her children joined the family through Wayne's second marriage from 1999 - 2001. Wayne worked for Aposhian Gardens during these years.

In January of 2004, Wayne married his sweetheart Kristine Darrington, and they were sealed in the Bountiful Temple in August of 2011. Their union blessed countless lives as they embraced one another's children and grandchildren as their own. Wayne's greatest gifts were his sense of humor, his story-telling, and his ability to accept and love people unconditionally. He honed these skills as a river guide, and they made him an effective leader. He made a lasting impact as a scout leader, Sunday School teacher, and Pioneer Trek trail boss. He found his (second) true calling with Kris as they served as missionaries in the Church's addiction recovery program, sharing their testimonies of repentance and the Savior's atonement. Wayne's ability to talk to anyone (including wild beasts, as he had an impressive repertoire of animal noises) served him well as his tired body nudged him out of construction and he enjoyed stints as a Costco sample vendor, airport shuttle driver, and his favorite: Santa Clause. If he spent time with you, played with you, or teased you, he loved you. 

A joyous reunion with Wayne's mom and dad, whose deaths preceded his, is imagined by those who remain in mortality: his wife, Kris; daughters, Meredith (Chance) Cook, Aly Gold, Natalie (Traek) Malan; bonus children, Brandon Mills, Monika (Jason) Reese, Brooke (Brian) Shurtliff, Bradley Mills, Erik Mills, Will Merrett; siblings, Candi (Dave) Stevenson, Spencer (Maurine) Gold, Kevin (Debbie) Gold, Bret Gold, Scott (Kim) Gold, Ruth (John) Thompson; 32 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. 

Wayne was a true outdoorsman and adventurer. He played hard and demanded more of his physical body than it could endure. Dementia and stroke made the last stretch of his "River of Life" an upstream battle but his family is comforted knowing he is at peace, with the sun on his face and the wind at his back. We thank those who cared for him at Meadow Brook Rehab & Nursing, Elevation Home Health & Hospice, The Caregiving Corner, and Welcome Home Assisted Living.

Family and friends may pay respects at a viewing Monday, October 8, at Russon Mortuary in Bountiful (295 N Main) from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., and a funeral service Tuesday, October 9, at the LDS chapel in West Valley (6710 W. 4145 S.) at 10:30 a.m.; Graveside will follow in Declo, Idaho, at 4:00 p.m.

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