Jim Erdei Obit Photo `

Jim Erdei

Jim Erdei

1950 – 2024

Salina, Utah – James Douglas Erdei, our beloved father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend, returned to his loving Heavenly Father on Friday, April 26 at the age of 74 in Richfield.  Jim fought a brave 25-year battle with Multiple Sclerosis.  His illness brought challenges, but he faced them with great faith, determination, and strength.

He was born March 1, 1950, at Travis Air Force Base in California, the son of James G. and Eleanor Davis Erdei.  He graduated from Tooele High School in 1968 and attended Southern Utah State College in Cedar City. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Education in the spring of 1972.

Jim met Bonnie Barrett at college in 1970. Bonnie was the love of his life. When they met, Jim was impressed with Bonnie’s faith and wanted to learn more about her religious beliefs. He began taking missionary discussions; he was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1971. A year later, they were married on June 16, 1972, in the Manti LDS Temple for time and all eternity.

After graduation, Jim taught school for a year in Salt Lake, but ultimately decided to move to Salina to help Bonnie’s father, Keith, run the family businesses. He shared a close relationship with his father-in-law and spent over 30 years working side by side with him at Barrett’s Foodtown and Holly’s Pantry. After Keith passed away in 2006, Jim and Bonnie became the owners of Barrett’s Foodtown.

Jim loved all people. He enjoyed the association he shared with customers, vendors, and coworkers at Barrett’s. He talked to everyone! He was known for his work ethic, honesty, and determination.  He had a special place in his heart for those who were struggling or down on their luck. He was generous with his time, talents, and resources. He was a generous businessman, donating to several local organizations. He was a member of the volunteer Sevier County Jeep Posse Search and Rescue team for over 15 years.

While he navigated many challenges with his strength and mobility, his tenacity allowed him to adapt to his changing abilities with determination. Even as he faced difficult challenges, his focus was to do his best to adapt rather than look back at what was lost. His positive outlook and determination is an inspiration to his children and grandchildren.

Jim leaves behind a legacy of devoted service. As an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he served in many callings throughout his life. He was a disciple of Christ and loved the Lord. He wanted to share the joy he had found in his life through following Jesus Christ. He loved sharing his faith and conversion story. His greatest desire was to serve a mission with Bonnie. In 2016 – 2017, he and Bonnie were called to be LDS Employment Resource Missionaries in Richfield.

Jim felt a strong connection to his past and ancestors. He devoted time and resources to learn from and about those who came before him.

While waiting for the adoption of their children, Jim and Bonnie received a special call to be ordinance workers at the Manti temple. They both cherished this opportunity and served for one year until their oldest child was born. Jim and Bonnie were the recipients of the Gold Medal Marriage Recognition Award in 2002. They were selected for their exemplary marriage and were honored by Governor Michael Leavitt, Celebration of Marriage on June 14, 2002, at the Salt Lake Salt Palace Convention Center.

Jim was devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He treated his wife of 51 years, Bonnie, like a queen and treasured her companionship. He walked beside her as they navigated the difficulties of their respective chronic illnesses. They loved spending time together, traveling, and playing cards. He found great joy in his children and eight grandchildren. He especially loved listening to them sing or play the piano. When his children were young and his body whole, he loved taking his children for car and motorcycle rides. He loved taking his grandchildren for rides in his car and spending time with them one on one.

Jim is survived by his children: Amber and Jeremy Baker (Allessandra, Annabelle, and Amelia), of Cypress, TX; Chandler and Ashley Erdei (Breagan and Bristol), Salina; and Starli and Joby Mickelsen (Braxton, Slade, and Mia), Salina; His sister and brother-in-law, Mary and Ingo Henningsen of Murray,  and brother-in-law, Paul Okerlund of Salina.

He is preceded in death by his beloved spouse, Bonnie, who passed away October 21, 2023; his parents, James G. and Eleanor Erdei; his parents-in-law, Keith and Vaneese Barrett; and his sisters-in-law, Holly Barrett and Marsha Okerlund.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, May 11, 2024, at 12:00 Noon in the Salina LDS Stake Center, 98 West 400 North in Salina, where friends and family may call for viewing Saturday morning from 10:00 to 11:30 A.M. prior to the services.

Live streaming of the services can be found at: www.springerturner.com under Jim’s obituary about 15 minutes prior to starting time.

Burial will be in the Salina East Side Cemetery under the care of Springer Turner Funeral Home of Richfield and Salina, UT.

In lieu of flowers, honor Jim by helping someone in need of your time or resources. Donations may also be made to the National MS Society Foundation in Jim’s name.

The family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the staff and patients of Stonehenge Care Center, Richfield and Salina Home Health for the loving and dignified care they gave Jim in the last years of his life. 

Online guest book at: www.springerturner.com

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