1944 – 2022
Jay Dennis Southwick, 77, died on January 2, 2022 at Alta View Hospital, surrounded by his family. He had fought the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease for 14 years.
Jay grew up in Burbank, Calif., The beloved youngest child of Lavan and Mary Maybelle Southwick. From a young age Jay loved any activity that involved being outdoors, spending time with friends, and playing with a ball. Jay graduated from Granada Hills High School in California where he received the “Most Likeable” award and received a letter in football.
After spending a year at Brigham Young University, Jay served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Gulf States Mission from 1963 to 1965. He represented his family and the Church. with honor and loved to serve the people of Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi. He then returned to BYU where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in public administration. In 1970, he received an additional master’s degree in hospital administration from the University of Colorado Medical Center.
Shortly after returning from his mission, Jay reconnected at BYU with Starla Colarusso from her hometown. They were married at the LDS Los Angeles Temple in 1966. Together they created homes in Provo, Utah; Denver, Colorado; Ogden, Utah; Sandy, Utah; and Holladay, Utah. Starla brought stability, purpose and happiness to Jay.
Jay and Starla had two children: Brady Jay Southwick and Juliana Jean Southwick. As a father, Jay was very energetic and fun. His motto was “work hard, play hard”. He always had big plans going on in his gardens, and his children were expected to help him. As a father, he enjoyed spending time and riding horses with Julia. If Snowbird had a day of bluebird skiing, he would take Brady out of school to ski with him. Jay also spent a lot of time with his family boating on Lake Powell and fly fishing on the Green River, often accompanied by his brother-in-law Paul Colarusso and his nephews.
Jay began his professional career in Denver as the director of a mental hospital on the campus of the University of Colorado Medical Center. In 1976, he was hired by Intermountain Health Care to be an assistant administrator at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden, Utah. Four years later, he was chosen to be the chief administrator of the new Alta View Hospital in Sandy, Utah. He was responsible for overseeing the construction and completion of the hospital. As a new administrator, he prioritized relationships. He believed that successful hospitals had to have the best doctors, nurses, and staff, so he focused on people.
He left the hospital administration after co-founding Megadyne Medical Products Company, a medical device company that was eventually bought out by Johnson & Johnson.
Jay was a creative thinker who was always looking to the future. At Alta View Hospital, he worked to create a stand-alone women’s center, acquired a satellite clinic in Little Cottonwood Canyon, and was a founding partner of the Life Center Athletic Club. He tried to create things that would improve the health of his community. For much of his life, Jay has held leadership positions in the LDS Church where he found purpose and meaning while serving others.
In 1996, after 30 years of marriage, Jay and Starla separated. Now retired, Jay spent the next decades of his life living between the beaches of his childhood Southern California and his Utah home. He focused on his friends and generously helped those around him. In 2013, Jay married Jeannie McCagno. Jay appreciated Jeannie for bringing new meaning to his life. He then adopted his twin children, Roman and Sasha, who brought him joy.
As Jay grew older and his health declined, he was grateful to be living his life in a cabin in a natural and peaceful area that he had spent many years beautifying in the Dimple Dell area of Sandy. He liked to attend the performances of Roman and Sasha, to receive the visits of his dear friends and to dine on Sundays with his grandchildren. They will remember him for his warmth, good humor and kindness.
Jay is predeceased by his parents, Lavan and Mary Maybelle Southwick, by his two older siblings, Keith Hamilton and Phyllis Macko, and his sister-in-law, Mabeth Southwick. He is survived by his wife, Jeannie Southwick, and four children: Brady (Kristen), Julia, Sasha and Roman. He is also survived by the parents of Jeannie, Beverly and Richard Crangle, and his sister-in-law Annette York (Carl). Jay is survived by his brother Steve Southwick, his brother-in-law Paul Colarusso (Martha), his sister-in-law Sondra Latham (Dennis) and several nieces and nephews. Jay and Starla Spears (Gary) have six grandchildren: Claire, Eliza, Benjamin, William, Jarreth and Toby Southwick.
Funeral services will be held at the Dimple Dell Park Ward, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 9880 South 3100 East, in Sandy at 12 noon on Wednesday, January 5, 2022. Services can be viewed via Zoom at the following address Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81819809905. There will be no public visitation before the service and the family asked those present to wear masks. –
Published by The Salt Lake Tribune January 3-4, 2022.