Obituary for JD Gailey
March 23, 1948 – January 5, 2021
We were finally able to celebrate the life of our beloved friend and relative, Joseph David “JD” Gailey Jr. He was born on March 23, 1948 in Bountiful, Utah and passed away at his home in Park City, Utah, on January 5, 2021, in the company of his life companion, Marit Glenne. A private Celebration of Life service was held recently with family and close friends.
JD was a timeless explorer, adventurer and a fiercely independent soul. The once Bountiful High School socialite later found solace in solitude. After attending the University of Utah, where he was an infamous member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, JD hitchhiked to Alaska where he spent the better part of 16 years. Much of this time he spent living alone in a remote cabin where the closest sign of civilization was train tracks a few miles away. He hunted and trapped for survival but also ventured into society on occasion where he worked on commercial fishing boats and as a scuba diver for abalone and salvage work. He surely was most at home in a tent in an isolated setting. He practiced social distancing long before it became popular!
After years of exploring Alaska and Mexico, JD found something that motivated him to finally set down roots–Marit, who became a worthy companion in his adventures. Together they enjoyed traveling the remote trails and wonders of the world. Gina and Olin enjoyed JD’s companionship while growing up and learned many crafts and trades from him. JD had an incredible work ethic but always worked to live rather than living to work.
JD was highly competitive, especially with himself, in individual sports, hobbies and professions, always striving for mastery. He was fully committed to any endeavor that he undertook whether it was logging or fishing in Alaska, surveying the remote areas of Utah or recharging on a beach in Baja, Mexico. Professionally, he began surveying in Fairbanks, AK, and continued as a well-known and respected licensed surveyor in Park City, Utah, where he started his own surveying company, Alpine Survey, Inc.
JD was an avid reader with a particular interest in Greek philosophers. He became a dedicated student of Friedrich Nietzsche during a summer reading marathon in the deserts of Utah and revisited the works often. JD was a jazz music aficionado with a substantial record collection and was eager to hear new sounds and cultivate new artists.
JD succumbed to pancreatic cancer after a short but valiant struggle. He is survived by Marit, step-children Gina and Olin Glenne and their respective families, and by sister Shery Gailey Roth and brother Robert Nelson Gailey and their families.
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