Jeffery Clark Thurmond -- husband, dad, papa, cousin, friend to many, and a great leader in the Utah motorcycle community -- passed away December 22, 2017 with his family by his side.
Jeff was born May 3, 1943 in Salt Lake City to Macel and Robert Thurmond. He was raised in Salt Lake, graduating from East High School; and the University of Utah.
He was truly a man of many talents. He was a professional photographer for a time, and always loved taking photographs. He had at least one of his photos on the cover of a magazine. He also taught photography classes at the U.
He served “unofficially” in the military (as we were not supposed to be in Cambodia during the Vietnam War) -- and parachuted into Cambodia six times. He was captured the first time in, and escaped, but was so mad he went back five more times. He was the only one in any of his groups to walk out of the jungle and return home.
He worked for a time with the Utah Liquor Commission; with the Justice Department; with the Washington, DC police department; with many associations; and COO of companies in Utah and California. For years he was the head of Planning and Programs for the American Automobile Association based in Northern Virginia.
But he has always loved motorcycles and ridden most of his life, and that became his passion over the past 15 years. In 2004 he started Motorcycle Repair & Rendezvous -- a place where motorcycles could be repaired and parts and gear bought, but also where motorcycle riders could congregate, drop in for soda or coffee and stay for a visit. Dinner rides during the warmer months, seminars on how to maintain and care for your motorcycle, safety and camping tips, etc., in the colder months. He built a community of riders through Motorcycle R&R and made friends that are still good friends to this day.
When R&R closed down, he began working for Harrison Eurosports part time -- working as an “ambassador”, bringing people together, still giving seminars and doing dinner rides, calling to make sure repairs done at the dealership were done right and people were happy with their purchases, and welcoming new riders to the “community”.
He has also been President of the Beehive Beemers Motorcycle Club of Utah for the past few years, working to get benefits the members could use (free inspections, etc) and helping to keep our annual Red Rock Rendezvous motorcycle gathering in Panguitch going year after year; and helped coordinate the 2017 BMW MOA Rally in Salt Lake City.
Jeff worked with the Utah Department of Public Safety and gave input from the motorcycle community, and basically developed the Utah Motorcycle Ride Difficulty Map the state now uses for motorcycle riders. He has always emphasized safety when riding -- taking the classes for motorcycle safety, wearing the proper gear, maintaining your bike correctly, and speaking to various motorcycle and other groups around the valley about motorcycles. Good lessons for us all.
Another way to get the community riding more and going new places has been the ride contests he’s done since starting R&R. As Ryan Stanley, GM For Harrison Eurosports said, “Jeff has done more for motorcycling than anybody I know. Jeff- Your care and attention that you put into the ride contests taught me how to ride "the right way". Get off the Interstate, take the scenic byway, visit small towns that are slowly slipping away, find that antique Pepsi sign above the drugstore before a picker takes it away, see the main street donkey races in Cripple Creek, Area 51 and all its quirkiness, ride a thousand miles through Northern Nevada with the only goal of finding 3 graveyards that start with an "I", and who knew little gems like Iosepa and Ophir were right in our back yard. Your efforts have given me an endless bank of memories and I've loved taking others back to the spots to share the experience. No matter the result, I thank you and sincerely appreciate all you have done.”
Jeff is survived by his wife, Marcia; daughters Kerrie (Matt) Doane and Kristina Knobeloch; grandchildren Cayden, Jocelyn and Brinley; and many cousins. He leaves behind many, many friends and people who love him and will miss him dearly.
Services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on January 2, 2018 at Wasatch Presbyterian Church, 1626 S 1700 E, Salt Lake City, with a viewing one hour prior. Following the service, there will be a reception/late luncheon in the basement of the church with a microphone set up for people to tell “Jeff” stories, and a time for all of us to celebrate and remember a life well lived. Jeff requested that the dress be super casual -- Jeans and Sweatshirts entirely appropriate. Burial will be in Valley View Memorial Park, 4335 W 4100 S, West Valley City on Wednesday, January 3rd at 3 p.m.
He will be truly missed. As granddaughter Jocelyn said, “Papa will be riding his motorcycle in the sky.” Ride On, Jeff!