James Alanson Gaylord, Jr., age 74, passed away Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, comfortably in his home in Ivins, Utah surrounded by his wife, Laela and friends and family who loved him very much. James was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to James Alanson Gaylord and Virginia Nell Parker. James was married to Laela Eugenie Handy-Gaylord on May 29, 2013, in Sundance, Utah. Although their marriage was brief, their love and dedication to one another was extraordinary; he was her Prince Charming and she was his baby darlin’ Pretty Girl.
James was raised in Southern California by his Mother, Virginia, and step-dad, Charles Wilkie. He joined the Air Force at an early age of 17; he loved aviation and would stop and watch Contrails of jets curious of their destination. After an honorable discharge, he attended several junior colleges then advanced to California State University, Fullerton, studying for his CPA in the School of Business, while he worked at as a work-study student in the Student Affairs Office, helping veterans find work and mentoring them through difficult times in school and life. He was an advocate for the underdog and disadvantaged and made a point to ensure success for everyone who sought his assistance.
James loved sports and was an avid golfer; his form was that of a pro. Jim moved to Mesquite, Nevada, and worked in the casino industry for over 15 years. Retiring at the end of 2016 from the CasaBlanca Casino as sports book supervisor, he knew everything about every sport on earth. Jim also loved to travel. He and his wife, Laela, visited Disneyland, Disney World and, only last year, Hawaii. He loved the outdoors visiting every National Park in Utah in addition to several Utah State Parks. Jim used to say, “Utah is an exceptionally beautiful place, it is as if God said, the majesty of the red mountains and tall pine trees belong together.”
He loved photography, taking thousands of photographs everywhere he traveled. Jim loved music; as a young man, he played the drums in his own garage band, having designed a sound studio in every home he lived in to entertain friends and family. Jim surely drew the crowds, party night every night! As the years passed, he collected hours of songs on his computer and used to sit with his ear phones on listening to some wonderfully beautiful songs and some that would sear one’s ears. When he found an especially funny song he would play it very loud to bring Laela into the room and laugh together at the lyrics. Their song “At Last” by Etta James was their song; Jim would play it and dance with Laela around the house. A die-hard romantic, oh yes, Jim was that, a most beautiful human being and everyone whose heart he touched loved him.
James is survived by his wife, Laela Eugenie Gaylord; children: Christopher Jacobsen, Jason Gaylord, Jared Gaylord, James Harris, Autumn Gaylord; grandchildren: Athena Nelson, Brendon Gaylord, Justin Gaylord, and Seth Gaylord; brothers: Mike and Charles Wilkie; sister, Wendy Wilkie; brother-in-law, William Mobbley; and daughter-in-law, LeAnn Dunning.
The family wishes to thank all those who generously, unselfishly and with great love and caring assisted in the final days of James’ care, Randy Hancey, Jon and Tina Ward and sons, Paul and Shelley Hurt and family, George and Cherie Stoddard and all those beautiful nurses and CNAs from Intermountain Health Hospice. Also Daniel Ernstrom of Metcalf Mortuary, whose kindness and caring was overwhelmingly superb. God bless you all and may his grace shower you with good health and prosperity.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of James to the Southern Utah Veterans Home, 160 North 200 East, Ivins, Utah, 84738.
- Memorial services will be held Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 at 11 a.m. at the Metcalf Mortuary Chapel, 288 W. St. George Blvd, St. George.
- Interment will take place immediately thereafter with a Veteran’s Salute and Patriot Honor Guard at the Ivins City Cemetery, Ivins, Utah.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of Metcalf Mortuary, 435-673-4221.
For condolences, full obituary and funeral listings please visit Metcalf Mortuary online.