Jerome Anthony Lukes-
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Jerome Anthony Lukes
1931 ~ 2016
Jerome Anthony Lukes passed away Wednesday, February 3, 2016 at the Huntsman Cancer Hospital, after a full and wonderful lifetime spreading joy and comfort to his family, friends and business associates. ‘Indeed.’ His family would like to give special thanks, and with sincere gratitude, to the incredible staff at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, particularly the nurses, doctors and aides who took such loving care of Jerome and his family in his last hours.
Jerry was born in Newport Beach, California, the youngest of four siblings born to Michael and Carol Lukes. Jerry spent his early years in Bakersfield, California, graduating from Bakersfield High School before attending his first year of college at Bakersfield Junior College. Some of his jobs as a boy and young man included delivering drug store prescriptions on his bicycle and shoveling snow in Lake Tahoe for college spending (beer) money.
Jerry graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley (Go Bears!). Jerry became a world-renowned process engineer and consultant. He designed, operated and provided solutions for process plants in Trona, California; Salt Lake City, Utah; Canada; Australia; Japan; Israel; Chile; China; Africa and Argentina. He holds more than 11 world-wide patents for his process designs, and was called upon for consulting services into his 80s, at which time he retired even though the offers continued to pour in. Jerry is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts in lithium production. The Salar de Atacama in Chile was a culmination of his work, and one of his proudest achievements, where lithium today is produced at the lowest cost in the world. ‘He never looked for, nor found, a job from the couch.’
Jerry lived much of his adult life in Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah, with Sally Jane Burgren Lukes (his wife of 40 years), until she passed away. Later Jerry found love again and began a new chapter in his life with Maria Cristina Munoz whom he married in 1994. Jerry loved olive oil and wine, especially red wine! He began splitting his time between Salt Lake City and Talca, Chile where Jerry took on a new project for what he called a ‘chicken outfit’ which included raising olive trees and grapes – and he used the “fruits” of their labors to himself make his very own olive oil and red wine. Jerome and Maria Cristina designed and built the entire project themselves including the ranch irrigation system, the olive oil production plant and the locally renowned vineyard “Rancho Parcela.” When Maria Cristina passed away in 2006, Jerry was lucky enough to find a special companionship and love for Maria Isabel, and they spent the last years of his life traveling, living, enjoying life and spending precious time together. Jerry’s family is forever grateful for that relationship, and for Isabel’s love for ‘Jerrycito,’ which was, and still is, always obvious and present. Isabel will be part of our family forever.
Jerry was preceded in death by his parents Michael Walrath and Caroline Antoinette Higgins Lukes; his infant son John William Lukes; brother William; sister Regina; his wife of 40 years Sally Jane and his 2nd wife Maria Cristina Munoz. Jerry dearly loved his family, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He is survived by his eldest brother Robert; special partner Maria Isabel Munoz; daughter Catherine; son Michael and wife Pattie; son George and wife Erica; daughter Janine and husband James; grandchildren Keshia, Lauren, Maclean, Cameron, Hanna, Jason, Jeramy and Sophia, and last but not least his great grandchildren Hunter, Aidan, Logan, Ellie and Tanner.
Jerry loved red wine, education, weather, Lake Tahoe, the Utah Jazz, CNN, and the Sudoku puzzle – but what he really cherished was spending time with his family and was the staple of Sunday Dinner. We all will raise a glass of his vintage red wine, with grapes that he grew and wine that he produced himself, to our beloved Jerry – and we all know he will be saying to us ‘Stout heart guys.’ He may be gone in body, but never in spirit – he will be missed but never forgotten.
A memorial service will be held in memory of Jerome on Saturday, February 6, 2016 at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 3015 E. Creek Road, Cottonwood Heights, Utah, 84093 (www.stmutah.org). Services will begin at 2:00pm. Memorial and obituary services provided by Affordable Funerals & Cremations at www.afcfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests your consideration of a donation to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation to further help and assist future patients in the battle against cancer.