September 12, 1934 ~ September 26, 2014
Gerald “Jerry” Ortega, 80, passed away September 26, 2014 in Salt Lake City. He was born in Van Nuys, California on September 12, 1934 to Trinidad Alphonso Ortega and Dolores Del Real. He resided in Ogden, Utah most of his life. He graduated from Weber State College with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He married Barbara Bunker on June 16, 1956 at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church, Bremerton, Washington.
Jerry spent his younger years in California, growing up in East Los Angeles. He always remembered these as the years that formed his inner strength. During his teen years, his family moved to North Ogden, Utah. Spending time working on the family’s land and in the surrounding mountains helped to build his love of this area. His family then moved back to California.
In 1954, Jerry began what would become a professional life dedicated to service by joining the US Navy, serving for four years. One could say that the Navy truly changed his life for the better because while stationed in Bremerton, Washington, he met and married Barbara Bunker with whom he would share the rest of his life.
After leaving the Navy, Jerry and family moved back to Ogden. It was during this time that he attended Weber State College, earning an Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree. Anyone who talked with Jerry about education would quickly realize how important it was to him.
After spending a few more years in California, Jerry, Barbara, and their four children, made their final move back to Ogden. Jerry would go on to become the Director of Migrant Education for the Utah State
Board of Education. This important work touched the lives of many families.
If you asked Jerry what his greatest strength was, he always quickly replied, “I know how to relate to people.” This is what Jerry loved, talking and working with people. He was always quick with a smile, a joke, and a laugh. He loved to discuss the two taboo topics of polite society: politics and religion, but he always respected your opinion even if he did not agree with it. Jerry loved people and people love Jerry.
Jerry is survived by his wife Barbara, children Teresa (Lynette), Dianah, Tony (Maite), and Katherine (Bryan); his grandchildren Craig, Mandy (Brandon), Barbara (Leon), Frankie, Ashley, and Hillary, Little Ashley, and Emily; his great-children Donovan, Mercedez, Ashton, and Aniya; his nieces and nephews Jackie, JoAnne, Cheryl, Cindy, Mike, Lisa, Tim, Joy, Chris, Earl, Debbie, Linda, David; and his sisters Betty and Patsy.
Jerry is preceded in death by his mother Dolores, his brother Armando, and his sister Lily.
Memorial Services will be held at St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church, 1385 E. Spring Lane, Salt Lake City, Utah on October 1, 2014 at 11am. In lieu of flowers, please make memorial/tribute donations to the Alzheimer’s Association at http://alz.org/join_the_cause_donate.asp.
Arrangements under the direction of Leavitt’s Mortuary, 836-36th St., Ogden, UT,
Please send the family condolence at www.leavittsmortuary.com