Lorin Jay Thompson, 89, died June 1, 2020, at the Veterans Hospital in Salt Lake City, from a battle no one ever dreamed our dear Veterans would be fighting. He had been a beloved resident of the William E. Christoffersen Veterans Nursing Home since 2013.
“Jay” was born May 22, 1931, to Lorin and Celestia LeFevre Thompson in Beaver. He grew up with a love of the outdoors, in a family of sheepherders, miners and craftsmen. These experiences greatly influenced his life. After graduating from Tintic High School, he went to work for his uncle, Buck Young, in his sporting goods store in Richfield. It was during this time he met and married his forever sweetheart, Sunnie Rae Stillman, Feb. 1, 1952, in the Manti temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Having learned the art of being a gunsmith from his father, he joined the U.S. Army and spent two years assigned to the Ordinance Division, serving at Fort Douglas and in Anchorage, Alaska, in the Korean War. Following his service, he and his wife, Sunnie, returned to Richfield and built themselves a home, where they would have 11 children to fill it to the rafters. Jay purchased Bucks Sporting Goods, located just south of the Huish Theatre on Main Street. Hunters and fishermen from Utah to the West Coast loved to stop at Bucks for the sporting wares, but mostly for the good B.S. Jay provided. Later he would purchase Christensen Hardware, which would become Bucks Country. He learned the art of taxidermy and loved to use his artistic talents putting the finishing touches on the beautiful animals. He was known locally and statewide as an expert gunsmith and had a gunsmith repair shop in his sporting goods store. He engraved trophies on an old hand engraver for high school sports and other events. He also loved to farm and acquired land where he raised sheep, cattle and kept a few good horses.
Jay was a community asset. He served three years on the city council, and held positions in civic clubs. He was named the recipient of the Jaycees’ Distinguished Service Award. He was an Eagle Scout and a scoutmaster for nine years. He was an active sportsman and served on the board of directors of the Sevier County Wildlife Federation. He helped organize the Richfield Archery Club and was instrumental in building the first public archery range in Richfield. He was a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and held many positions in service to others. Titles and positions were unimportant to Jay, but service and giving was his trademark. To be called a friend, was his greatest honor.
Jay became famous for his sourdough biscuits made in the boiler room at the gypsum plant where he worked later in life. He was a mountain man, hunter and fisherman, and loved heading to the west mountains with his family and friends for the annual deer hunt. Most of all he loved his family. He was so proud of his children and of his wife, Sunnie. During the last years of his life, living in Salt Lake, his connection was daily phone calls and evening prayer “long distance,” with Sunnie. This tradition forged a love that has an eternal bond with his family. The welfare of others was always first with Jay. Friends and caregivers all knew he would take pride in memorizing their name so he could connect with them.
He was dearly loved at the Salt Lake Veterans Home. He was nominated president of the Resident Council and on the Salt Lake Veterans Home Advisory Board and was always an advocate for those around him. He was active in the branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Sundays with his daughter, Tresha, were a cherished tradition. He was able to “live” again after suffering an accident that left him in a wheelchair for many years. He rode horses, attended ball games, fairs, went fishing, found a new community of friends and was loved and respected for his kindness, warmth and selfless love of others. The family would like to thank Noralyn Snow, his branch presidencies, beloved caregivers, dear friends and too many others to name for their years of love and service to him.
Jay’s large family of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are his legacy. He leaves behind his wife of 68 years, Sunnie Rae; 10 children, 45 grandchildren and 63 great-grandchildren.
His parents; a sister; his brother, Phil Thompson; and daughter, Tina Mae, preceded him in death.
Private family funeral services will be held Saturday, June 6, at 11 a.m., in the Magleby Mortuary chapel. Friends may call at the mortuary Friday evening from 6 to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Due to COVID-19 restrictions attendees are to follow current state guidelines.
Burial will be in the Richfield City Cemetery with military honors.
Online guestbook and live streaming can be found at maglebymortuary.com under Jay’s obituary.
Funeral directors, Magleby Mortuary, Richfield, Salina and Manti.