The first 12 years of my life were spent counting down the days until we were hanging with cousins on Grandpa B’s farm in Wellsville, Utah. He was the farmer that lived on site at the American West Heritage Center. It was a place where our imaginations went wild and our cousins became our best friends.
When I was 12, my parents moved grandma and grandpa to Washington so Bryden could be closer to sea level, live without 24/7 oxygen and extend his life. The next 6 years I got to know my grandparents even more. We were the only grandkids that lived nearby. Same ward, Sunday dinners, they cheered us on at every sporting event, choir concert, even wore our team colors to our church volleyball games. ⠀⠀⠀
At 18 I moved to their home, Cache Valley, Utah and married the man they introduced me to. A man that they called son. Lucky for me photography and family events take us home to WA where my parents and both sets of grandparents live quite often. And they make at least one trip a year to Cache Valley
Two weeks ago they started their journey to WA for their last trip home with Grandpa before he’d likely be wheelchair bound. He fell and broke his neck in two places and accelerated his Alzheimer’s significantly. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I was just in his living room 5 days before his fall. Awake, aware, laughing, smiling, feeling his love. After the fall, I was able to be by his bedside holding that furry hand for hours as he jolted in and out of sleep, memory failing, smile rarely making an appearance. But when it did, it lit up the room and warmed my heart. We have seen so many blessing and miracles through this trial.
Its hard losing someone you love so deeply, but I am so grateful for such a deep love and relationship I’ve had with this man. It’s been an honor to be by his side as he’s lived out the rest of his life. l am so lucky all three of my kids got to meet and love this great grandpa.
RIP Grandpa B 💕 We are so grateful you are home – pain free & whole again.
Obituary for Gerald “Jerry” Mac Belnap
Gerald Mac Belnap (Jerry), age 76, passed away on June 25, 2018, surrounded by family at the University of Utah Medical Center. He was born on November 16, 1941, in Ontario, Oregon to Mac and Ethel Belnap. He grew up in Weiser and Meridian Idaho, and graduated from Meridian High School in 1959. He served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Canada, Western Canadian Mission.
Upon returning from his mission, Jerry enrolled at BYU to study animal husbandry. While at BYU, he met the love of his life, Mary Kathryn Taylor. They were married for time and all eternity on September 2, 1964 in the Los Angeles Temple.
Jerry was a farmer extraordinaire. He spent a good portion of his career as a dairy farmer. He farmed in McFarland, CA, Vale, OR, Spring Lake, UT, Lewiston, UT and Boistfort, WA. At the end of his career, he was the foreman (on-site farmer) at the Jensen Historical Farm (now known as the American West Heritage Center) in Wellsville, UT. That is where Jerry grew out that white beard and stood in for Santa on many occasions. For the last thirteen years, Jerry, Mary Kay and Bryden have lived in Olympia Washington, raising dogs, rabbits, chickens and grandkids. What else would a farmer do when he retires?
Jerry’s proudest accomplishment was his family. He loved being surrounded by family and was always there for any event, big or small. Jerry was a hard, honest worker and was always available to serve his neighbor. On many occasions, he and Mary Kay opened their home to young people who needed a place to stay and a family to love them. This, in essence, allowed them to multiply their family by “adopting” a few more children.
Jerry is survived by his wife; Mary Kay, and 8 children; Jeri Kay (Stephen), Scott, Darin (Kellee), Sandy (Daren), Kyle (Tracy), Barbi (Justin), Manu (Sterling) and Bryden. Jerry and Mary Kay have 29 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren, with 2 more on the way! He is also survived by his stepmother; Fern Belnap, siblings; Bonnie Jess, Sharon Syme, Carl Belnap, Beverly Hayes & Edith Belnap.
Those hands. 🤚 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
He’s worked soo hard with those hands. Served so many people. Held so many little fingers. Taught so many important lessons. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I am so grateful for the time I’ve had to hold these hands in the past few weeks. My husband dropping everything so I can be by his side. I’ve spent more hours in the past two weeks holding his hand than I have in my whole life. At first, he held on so tight I would have marks to prove it. Now he holds so lightly I’m not sure he knows I’m there but I know I’m there…and I’m so blessed that I get to be.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
I am so grateful all three of my kids, and my husband have held those furry hands.
photographer | educator + speaker | community builder
Kylee started Kylee Ann Photography 8 years ago, and has since grown from a one woman amateur show to a full associate team. We shoot 50-75 weddings a year, and thrive on kindness and service. After a year of teaching Intro to Photography at the local technical college, she discovered that helping other entrepreneurs create thriving businesses is what fires her up! She hosts semi-annual Kylee Ann Sleepovers all over the US, speak at conferences and teach online courses about running a small business and marketing.