JEROME – Jay J. Strode was born March 9, 1917, in Flagler, Colo., to William Henry Strode and Mamie Elnora Neff. He passed away March 18, 2007, in Jerome, Idaho, after being infected with the West Nile virus.
Jay was born into a livestock family with four brothers, Claude, Gilbert Loren, Clyde Clayton and Stephen Stanley; and five sisters, Alta Verita, Rethal Rose, Elnora Marium, Thelma Leora and Faye Leota. Jay attended school through the eighth grade and then worked on cow outfits on the eastern slope of Colorado. To find work, he rode the rails and readily admitted to being a “hobo” during the tough Depression times. He followed one of his brothers to western Colorado, working for a cow outfit on Piceance Creek. There he was told he could find work in Nevada, and he went to the O’Neil Basin in Elko County, where he went to work for Oren Boies in 1939.
The boss’ daughter, a young Nevada Boies, set a snare for this good-looking Colorado cowboy’s heart, and by the time Jay enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942, they made plans to marry after the war. He had fought for 36 months in the Pacific when he was wounded on Iwo Jima when a hand grenade exploded on his back as he led a charge against a machine gun emplacement. Many servicemen received the Congressional Medal of Honor for such heroism in Iwo Jima. Jay received the Silver Star and the Purple Heart for his service to his country. Discharged but still recuperating, Jay and Nevada were married on June 20, 1945, at the O’Neil home ranch.
The Strodes owned and operated ranches in Nevada, then Idaho and then in Arizona. They raised quality cattle, registered Arabian horses and two adopted children, Downey and Tamyra. Many children stayed with the Strodes over the years and were greatly influenced by these two generous people. They were truly religious in their beliefs and in the way they lived their lives. Jay loved the Bible, good horses and, most of all, his family. He played the guitar with better-than-average skill. In later years, he wrote seven unpublished novels, a surprising feat for a person with no more than eight years of formal education. Jay really enjoyed his yard and garden. He was cared for by Ceri and Jessy Salas until his illness, which allowed both of them to enjoy their lives to the fullest.
Jay is survived by his son, Downey Strode of Carey, Idaho; and daughter, Tamyra Gafford of Clarkston, Wash. Also surviving him are his grandchildren, CJ Spencer (Jaimie), Ceri Spencer (Jessy), Chaille Molyneux (Daniel) and soon to be Caven, Chance Molyneux (Emerald), Brandy Warren, Mandi Warren, Zach Warren, Joe Warren and many great-grands.
A memorial service will be at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 22, at The Word of Life Church, 126 First Ave. W. in Jerome, with Pastor Steve Bartlett officiating. Arrangements are under the care of Farnsworth Mortuary, 1343 S. Lincoln, Jerome, ID 83338.