Cover photo for Jay Strange's Obituary
1942 Jay 2016

Jay Strange

March 30, 1942 — October 11, 2016

Jay Edwin Strange was born in St. Anthony, Idaho on March 30, 1942, the second child and first son of Edwin G. and Emaline Louise Atchley Strange. He and his older sister, Alice Jean, later welcomed two more sisters to the family, Janis Ann and Judy Kay.

Jay attended the Lincoln and Central Elementary Schools in St. Anthony, graduating from South Fremont High School in 1960 and Ricks College in 1962. He served in the Andes Mission, in Peru and Chile, from 1962 to 1964.

Just last week, Jay said, "I loved Peru just as much as I thought I would. Peru became my second country."

Jay visited Peru 3 times over the years after his mission, taking some of his sons with him.

After his mission, Jay enrolled at BYU. Jay joined the Air Force in December 1964: Jay trained to be a pilot in the Air Force. He spent 3 months in officer training and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant, rising to the rank of Captain by the end of his service. During pilot training, his hearing was damaged, and he transferred into Intelligence. He served 2 tours of duty in Saigon, Viet Nam, a total of 1- 1/2 years. His main job was to develop and interpret intelligence photos taken by surveillance planes, reporting bombing success and plotting bombing runs.

While in Saigon, Jay volunteered once a week on his leave day to help feed infants at a Catholic orphanage. There were usually about 20 babies in the place where Jay volunteered. "It was weird holding them," Jay recalled, "because they didn't respond to handling. They simply flopped in our arms." "One week, we fed 20 babies. The following week when we returned, only 9 remained. The nurse said that a 'cold' had gone through the orphanage that week."

After his military service, Jay returned to BYU to earn his teaching certificate. He did his student teaching at Magna Junior High. The following summer, he worked for the US Forest Service. Then he was hired to teach Spanish at Spanish Fork High School, where he continued to teach for over 30 years.

After a prolonged courtship he married Sandra (Sande) Ferrin in the Salt Lake Temple, August 3, 1973 Over the next eleven years the couple completed their family with Rebecca (deceased shortly after birth) in 1974, Janalyn in 1975, David, adopted as an infant in 1979, Jonathan in 1982, and Daniel in 1984. Jay delighted in each child and spent long hours as a hands-on Dad, changing them, feeding them, playing with them, and teaching them. His special task was putting them to bed with talk and stories, or even a song. He continued the bedtime stories with his grandchildren, to their delight.

Jay tried hard to serve as peacemaker between the kids, bribing them or admonishing them to treat one another kindly. The family scripture came from King Benjamin's address in Mosiah 4, and he made them repeat it often: And ye will not suffer your children ... that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil....[but] ye will teach them to love one another, and to serve one another."

His family was Jay's focus for living, and he left them a legacy of example, love and testimony. However, Jay didn't stop with love for family. He taught the children to love and serve those around them. He loved to visit the people who lived around him, particularly older people and widows, but not exclusively. The family volunteered regularly for several weeks at the Food and Care Coalition preparing and serving food to the homeless, a memorable experience for the children. Jay continued his service after the children were grown, continuing to visit friends and neighbors with little gifts from the garden, or sweet treats, visiting regularly at the surrounding rest homes here and visiting old neighbors and friends in Idaho when he regularly went up to see his folks. After he retired, he was a Hospice volunteer, working mostly with Spanish-speaking people. He also delivered Meals on Wheels. He had been an ordinance worker in the Provo Temple two years before he retired, and continued with that calling for 8 more years, until his health forced him to stop

His Christ-like love for others showed in his choice of career, as well. He loved teaching; his only regret was retiring "too soon." During his more than 30 years of teaching in the Nebo School District, Jay loved the students, and as a consequence, was greatly beloved by his students and made a positive difference in many lives.

Through the years, the Nebo District was generous in giving Jay three sabbaticals--a year off with a partial salary--to improve his language skills and teaching techniques. His first was to Pamplona, Spain. The second was to Saltillo, Mexico, where Jay earned his Masters Degree and his children were immersed in Spanish language and culture. His third sabbatical in 1977-78 was at a language institute in Seville, Spain, where he earned the Spanish governments highest level of achievement awarded to foreigners for Spanish language mastery.

Jay didn't limit his teaching just to students enrolled in his classes. He worked the hallways, saying hello to each student in Spanish and engaging them in conversation. Anyone who responded in Spanish received a peso, with which they could purchase items from his classroom store.

Jay enjoyed conducting a Spanish-speaking Head Start summer school program for the district. He went into the homes of preschoolers who didn't speak English, and taught them English. When he came to a home, all the kids in the neighborhood joined his preschoolers because he made learning fun.

In 1986-87, he was honored as Teacher of the Year in Spanish Fork High School. That year, he was also chosen Teacher of the Year in the entire Nebo School District. He represented the district at the state competition as well.

Jay retired in 2005 at the age of 63, after 30-plus years. He missed interacting with his students and colleagues, so he filled some of his free time by volunteering in his grandchildren's classrooms. He loved being with them and being involved in the teaching process.

Jay Edwin Strange departed this life on October 11, 2016. He was preceded in death by his grandparents; parents; and a daughter, Rebecca. He is survived by his wife, Sande, a daughter, Jana (Kent) Hales; three sons: David, Jonathan (Rachel), and Daniel (Janeen); and 11 grandchildren. While Jay's disease finally won the battle, we, his family, are so grateful that it allowed us a rare window of time to share with him before he passed. It has been a tender mercy of the Lord that we will always remember and cherish.

Memorial services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at the Springville Kolob 5th Ward, 2557 Dalton Drive, Springville, UT. There will be a visitation from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. prior to services at the church. In lieu of flowers, please take your family to dinner.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jay Strange, please visit our flower store.


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