Escar Jesse Decker Jr. (“Buddy”) passed away peacefully on October 31 2022, lying next to his beloved Pat, his wife of 71 years. He was 91.
E.J. was born September 5, 1931 and raised in Bowling Green, Kentucky, eventually marrying his high school sweetheart, Patricia Ann Spencer, and raising their four children there. He served in the United States Navy as a landing signal officer on an aircraft carrier and later stationed in Key West, Florida. He was a true patriot and proudly wore his Navy ball cap every day.
E.J. dedicated his professional life to education as an elementary school principal for 30 years with Pat by his side as a school librarian. He was known to walk into a room and cheerfully call out with arms stretched wide, “How is everybody?” to which a roomful of schoolchildren, his grandchildren or anyone within earshot would gleefully holler back, “HAPPY!”.
To be in a room with E.J. was to feel happy, loved and excited about life. He had a sparkle in his eye and a jovial spirit that made every interaction feel special, from “kicking around” with grandkids, pinky waves and fist bumps to being everyone’s favorite handyman. His passion for life was contagious and endearing and we will forever think of our Paw Paw with a loving smile and open arms.
E.J. and Pat embraced The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints early in their marriage and together enjoyed many years of service including two missions; first in Zimbabwe, Africa where they became Mission Presidents and then in Manila, Philippines where they directed the sealing office of the Manila Philippines temple. He also served as a temple sealer in the Orlando Florida temple and a patriarch. E.J. continually reminded his posterity of his testimony of Christ and “family first”.
E.J. and Pat eventually settled down in Port Charlotte, Florida and enjoyed many years of retirement and sunshine with family and friends who lived nearby. After one too many hurricanes, they ultimately found themselves in Utah, where E.J. was mercifully surrounded and supported by Pat and many of their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren in the final weeks of his life.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Escar Jesse Decker Senior and Jessie Jurldine Byrns Decker, siblings, Jurldine, Pauline, Helen “Irene” Hughey, Betty Tabor, William “Billy” Decker and Homer Decker, grandson, Griffin Call, and great granddaughter, Afton Mellen. He will be deeply missed by the love of his life, Pat, their children, Desiree Lorimer (Scott), Ramona Call (Jeff), Jay Decker (Michelle) and Maria Bagley (Matt), 18 grandchildren, 29 great grandchildren and his sister Barbara Sledge. The family will hold a private memorial and his remains will be interred in a family plot in Larkin Sunset Gardens in Sandy, Utah.