James E. ‘Jim’ Real

Sept. 13, 1935 — Sept. 27, 2022

James “Jim” E. Real gave the impression of the quintessential midcentury American man; he was a hard worker and an avid sports enthusiast who always had a handkerchief and a pocketknife handy. If you met him – even if it was a brief encounter – he remembered your name, and he probably made you laugh with one of his jokes.

If you were lucky enough to have spent more time with him, you learned that he was also a loving family man – a devoted husband and caring father who wouldn’t hesitate to don a silly costume in order to delight the grandchildren and great-grandchildren who called him “Dano.” Whether he was on the golf course or on the slopes, at the clubhouse or at the office, Jim’s great sense of humor and contagious cheerfulness meant that you’d be hard-pressed to spend time with him and not enjoy it. 

Jim was born Sept. 13, 1935, in Durango, Colorado, to James Byron Real and Ina Helen Griffin. He grew up in Durango with his younger brother, constant companion and lifelong best friend Jack. Jim was an active child who occasionally got himself into trouble by playing pranks. Despite growing up during World War II, Jim had fond memories of a childhood spent adventuring in the Rocky Mountains, and many years later he would move his family back to Colorado because he wanted his own children to enjoy that lifestyle.

Jim was highly intelligent, and he knew since the age of 10 that he wanted to be an engineer. He was an outstanding student at Durango High School, where he was also involved in school sports. He attended Colorado School of Mines on an academic scholarship; during his time there, he was on the wrestling team and was president of his school’s chapter of Kappa Sigma fraternity. Between his sophomore and junior years, Jim left school for two years to serve in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany.

He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Petroleum Engineering in 1959, and later earned an MBA from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He had a successful career in the gas industry – making many friends along the way – and he retired from Questar Gas in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1998. 

While completing an internship in the oil fields of Rangely, Colorado, Jim caught the eye of a beautiful waitress who gave him free ice cream when he was studying at a local café. He was soon engaged to Helen Faye Thompson, and they were married in Durango, Colorado, on Jan. 21, 1959, with the marriage later solemnized in the Denver Colorado Temple. Faye was a great admirer of Jim’s dancing – he could do a mean jitterbug – and he was a great admirer of her cooking.

After marriage and graduation, Jim and Faye moved to the Chicago area where they became parents to three children: daughters Tracie Alaine and Brentz Faye, then son James Michael – born on Jim’s birthday. He always wanted the best for his children and expected the best from them.

Jim loved sports of all kinds and was a skilled athlete in golf, soccer, wrestling, tennis, pickleball and skiing. In 1966, he and his family relocated to Colorado Springs where Jim could further his career and pursue his interests in skiing and hunting. He built a cabin in Breckenridge, Colorado, where the family held season ski passes for many years and spent weekends and holidays together. Jim was instrumental in helping to introduce and build youth soccer in the Colorado Springs area. He was a loyal Denver Broncos fan and attended two Super Bowls in which they played. 

Jim and Faye moved from Colorado to Salt Lake City, where he finished up his career, before eventually settling in the Sun River community in St. George, Utah. Jim thoroughly enjoyed retirement and made business cards proclaiming himself available for golf any time. He even got a tattoo at age 67 to commemorate his first hole-in-one.

Jim loved the Sun River community; he made great friends there and was active in a variety of activities, including playing pickleball (and winning two championships in the Huntsman Senior Games), participating in a ukulele group, visiting the dog park and serving in volunteer positions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He maintained his sharp mind and his fun-loving attitude all the way to the end of his life on Sept. 27, 2022.

Jim was predeceased by his parents and his daughter Brentz. He is survived by his wife Faye, daughter Tracie (David) and their three children and four grandchildren, son-in-law Paul Brandt and Paul and Brentz’s six children and 13 grandchildren, son Mike (Julie) and their two children and his brother Jack (Janet).

A private memorial service for the family was to be held on Saturday, Oct. 1, and Jim’s remains will be scattered according to his wishes following cremation.

Arrangements entrusted to the care of Affordable Funerals and Cremations, St. George.

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You can find the complete original obituary on this website.

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