James Brent Gerritsen Profile Photo
1951 James 2024

James Brent Gerritsen

February 6, 1951 — May 14, 2024

It is with great sadness that the family of James Brent Gerritsen announces his sudden passing on the evening of May 14, 2024.

James (called Brent throughout his childhood and teenage years) was born on February 6, 1951, to Henry Nicholas Gerritsen and Beth Lenore Yocum in Salt Lake City, Utah. His older sisters Sandra (Brent) Briggs and Karen (Terry) McKinnon, as well as younger sister Cheryl (Randy) Young, adored having a brother and truth be told he loved being the only boy.

He attended West High School where he demonstrated his athletic prowess, especially in football and track. In 1969, James volunteered to serve in the United States Navy, during the Viet Nam conflict. After basic training he was stationed at the Naval Submarine Base New London, in Groton, CT. He realized very quickly that submarines were not for him. The only way to be reassigned was to volunteer for a tour of duty to Viet Nam, which he readily accepted.

Prior to leaving for Viet Nam, he married his high school sweetheart, Ruth Whitney, on August 30, 1969.  On arrival in Viet Nam, he was assigned to an ammunition depot.  While serving in Viet Nam, he gained and developed his testimony of the Book of Mormon and read it by moonlight.  Upon his return to the United States, he was given top priority for his next assignment. He chose San Diego, California on the 32nd street Naval Base where he served at the "fire station."  He would joke that he was one of the only sailors who just spent a few nights on a ship.

While in San Diego, he and Ruth became the parents of Angela Elizabeth (Brad) and fifteen months later to James Micah (CoriLyn), a few years later their youngest child, David Brent (Vivian) was born in Murray, Utah. While James and Ruth's marriage would dissolve, they maintained a cordial relationship.

James was incredibly intelligent, receiving a full-ride scholarship to BYU because of his testing scores in 1972.  He was very interested in law enforcement and became an officer in 1976 for the then Salt Lake County Sheriff's department, and in 1993 became a police officer on the big island in Hawaii.  There he would welcome into his life two sons, JJ and CJ (who became Gerritsen's). When James came back to Utah, CJ then a young child came with him.

Through mutual friends, James met his sweetheart, Jenny Pingel in November 2007, and later married her on June 13, 2009 in the Draper, Utah temple.  Joyfully adding three more sons, Derek, Josh, and Sam (fiance Quinsi) Pingel, as well as another daughter, Emma (Rick) Wahlmeier.  James and Jenny have enjoyed many adventures together for 16 years, and the love they share will live on throughout eternity. 

Some of James' greatest joys were raising and racing homing pigeons, training and raising African grey parrots; always making space for them wherever he lived. He also enjoyed fishing, camping, exploring mountain trails, especially in the High Uintahs, stupid dad jokes and a laugh that was contagious.

James had a love for animals, particularly birds and dogs. He truly was an animal whisperer. He had the gentleness and knowledge needed to care for them, and they could feel that from him.  In recent years, he maintained a mini-farm with many animals. James had a strong love and commitment to his family helping them with emergency preparedness, gardening, and other things.  He had a love of learning, growing, and improving himself, and was a good example for those around him to do the same for themselves.

James was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He loved the Savior and tried his best to follow His example.  James had the opportunity to serve in the Oquirrh Mountain temple for about 3 years in the laundry department and loved feeling the spirit there.  He also faithfully served for at least a decade as a facilitator in the 12 Step Addiction Recovery Program (ARP); where he shared his testimony with and strengthened others, and worked the steps of the program in his personal life.  James had a strong love for his family and friends and would do anything to help them. He was a very caring person, and had goodwill toward others.

James is survived by his wife, Jenny, and his children, 12 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, his beautiful sisters, and their families, as well as family and friends.  He is predeceased by his son, JJ, and his parents.

Special gratitude to Jenny, the rescue workers, and the hospital staff for their efforts to keep James here.

Services will be conducted on: Wednesday, May 29, 2024 at 11:00 for the viewing               
1:00 for the funeral at               
2812 W. 11800 S. in South Jordan

Burial: Thursday, May 30, 2024 at 11:00 at the VA Cemetery              
17111 S. 1700 W. in Bluffdale

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Brent Gerritsen, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, May 29, 2024

11:00am - 12:45 pm (Mountain time)

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Funeral Service

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Mountain time)

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Thursday, May 30, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Mountain time)

Utah Veterans Memorial Park

17111 1700 W, Bluffdale, UT 84065

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