May 21, 1954 - August 19, 2021
Funeral Home Russon Mortuary Syracuse
Jennifer Patrice (Wood) Wilkinson Porter
May 21, 1954 – August 19, 2021
Surrounded by her loved ones, beloved wife, mother, and grandmother Jenni returned to the loving arms of her Savior and departed family early Thursday, August 19, 2021, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Jenni was born May 21, 1954, in Hickory, North Carolina, to Lester Everett Wood, Jr. and Patricia Renee (Havnaer) Wood. When she was a young child, Jenni’s family moved from North Carolina to Oklahoma and then to Tucson, Arizona, where her father taught school. The family returned to North Carolina in the early 1960s. In 1965, when Jenni was 11, her family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Jenni made many lifelong friendships at church and school, despite the many moves she made during her life. She always found close friends wherever she lived and enjoyed opportunities to socialize and play sports.
After high school, Jenni attended Brigham Young University. In her sophomore year, she met and married Ronald Boyd Wilkinson of American Fork, Utah. They were sealed in the Manti Temple on December 15, 1973 and soon after added their first two children to the family. Ron had already served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam prior to college, and he returned to active duty after he graduated from BYU. After graduation, the growing military family moved several times: Quantico, Virginia (son born); Cherry Point, North Carolina (daughter born); Beaufort, South Carolina (son and daughter born); Okinawa, Japan; and Jacksonville, North Carolina, where Ron retired from the military. After retirement, the family settled in Morganton, North Carolina to be close to Jenni’s parents. (Jenni, her parents, and her children all later migrated to Utah.)
Over the years Jenni served in many callings at church and especially loved family history research and performing ordinance work. She would spend hours engrossed in research, learning about the lives of her ancestors. She loved to sing and had a gorgeous alto voice and always joined the choir at church. She knew so many hymns by heart she often didn’t need to use the hymn book. Growing up her parents filled their house with good music, and she in turn filled hers. Jenni sang with her children and taught them songs from her own childhood as they took nature walks, rode in the car, and cleaned the house. Especially sweet was to hear her singing the same songs to her grandbabies as the songs she sang to her own babies. Jenni loved her six children and was always their greatest supporter.
To help provide for the family, in her mid-thirties Jenni embarked on a 30-year career as a nurse. She gained a diverse amount of experience, working in hospitals and health care facilities in North Carolina, Florida, and Utah. She cared for patients in labor and delivery, hospice, disease management, and most often adult and adolescent mental health nursing and did her best to treat her patients with a gentle human touch. She also used her health care skills to bless her family on many occasions, and particularly when Ron was injured in an accident in 1996.
Jenni truly had many difficult trials during her life, both before and after becoming a widow when she was 44. Though she must have been thoroughly stressed for many years at a stretch, she never complained or presented a poor example to her children of self-pity. Instead she continued to approach her life with the same intelligence, hard work, grace, humor, and good will, always looking for friends and continuing to chase happiness. She was a woman of strong faith and trusted and found comfort in her Heavenly Father’s love for her.
Jenni was blessed to meet and marry Kevin Dale Porter in Farmington, Utah, on June 14, 2019. Together with Kevin, Jenni was able to at last enjoy some years of retirement, spending time with their many children and grandchildren. Recently in early June, Jenni and Kevin accompanied two of her children on a trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It was the first time in many years Jenni had been back to North Carolina, and she was so delighted to be back to the state of her birth and youth. It tickled her daughter to watch her film with her phone a half hour of footage of the beautiful green trees that lined the roads leading to their destination, and Kevin soon learned that “everything is better in North Carolina.”
It was such a blessing to have been able to spend those weeks on vacation with her making lasting memories. We wish we could have had many more years with her, and we mourn what might have been. But we know she is enjoying a rest after a life well lived, reuniting with those who have gone before, and we know we will see her again in a new, better life through our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Jenni is preceded in death by her first husband Ron, her parents, and an infant grandson.
In addition to Kevin, Jenni is survived by her brother, Michael David Wood (Donna Hoffmann) of Spanish Fork, UT; her six children: Christopher Ryan Wilkinson (Sally Jacobs) of Herriman, UT; Rebekka Nicole Wilkinson of Layton, UT; Nathaniel Boyd Wilkinson (Demetria DelaCruz) of Taylorsville, UT; Elisabeth Dawn Taylor (Mark Taylor) of Farmington, UT; Clinton Wood Wilkinson of Battle Ground, WA; and Katharine Brooke Christensen (Ryan Christensen) of Syracuse, UT; twelve grandchildren; and Kevin’s bonus children and grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held Sunday, August 22nd from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Russon Mortuary (1585 W. 300 S. Syracuse, UT 84075). A visitation for friends and family will be held at the same location from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm. According to Jenni’s wishes, a viewing will be held for her family only prior to the visitation and funeral. A graveside service will be held Monday, August 23rd starting at 3:00 pm at Orem City Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Jennifer Wilkinson Porter’s name to FamilySearch (https://philanthropies.churchofjesuschrist.org/familysearch).
An online guestbook is available at www.russonmortuary.com.
Please refer to this obituary to view the Face book Live stream for the Funeral Services at 7 pm, 8/22/2021.