Leader and friend – Former Richfield mayor passes away

Jay Andersen

There are going to be a few less friendly waves in Richfield. 

Jay Andersen was known throughout the region for his friendly demeanor, whether he was selling heavy equipment or providing community service. 

Andersen served as mayor of Richfield City from 1990 to 1994.

As mayor, Andersen advocated for Richfield City, dealing with numerous issues, and even helping the city fight off swarms of Mormon Crickets during the summer of 1991 by personally spreading bait.

Andersen also instituted the 48-hour potholes program, where city crews would fix reported potholes within two days of being reported. 

Andersen was recognized by the Utah State Chamber of Commerce as a recipient of the Total Citizen Award, presented by then Gov. Norman Bangerter. 

As mayor, Andersen encouraged people to serve the community, even in small ways. He once said if every child walking home from school would stop and pull one weed on their way, it would dramatically improve the appearance of the community. 

Andersen worked through complex and sometimes contentious issues with an evenhanded approach, according to Woody Farnsworth, who served as city manager during Andersen’s term as mayor. Andersen would often repeat the mantra, “Two equally informed people rarely disagree.”

Andersen also served on the city council, and worked as the city manager for a time.

“Jay was one of the great mayors of Richfield City,” Farnsworth said.

“Once we were driving down 400 West and we saw this couple walking along,” Farnsworth said. “We had already passed them, but he did a U-turn just to go back and shake their hands and visit with them. That’s just the type of guy he was.”

Farnsworth said Andersen was an advocate for the people, businesses and employees of Richfield City. 

One of Andersen’s efforts can be seen on city vehicles today — the phrase “Making life better.”

“He was a champion of that theme,” Farnsworth said. He said Andersen worked earnestly to make sure Richfield was improving for people and businesses.

In addition to his public service, both as mayor and as a city council member, Andersen was also known throughout the region for his career selling Caterpillar equipment through Wheeler Machinery. 

He also served on many boards through the years, including the Sevier Valley Hospital’s board. He was also an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving in many capacities including as bishop.

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