Rodney Allan Jentzsch was born January 19, 1958 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Claralynne Shipp and Richard Jentzsch. He moved around as child from Utah to Ohio, back to Utah and then to Rupert Idaho when his mom remarried Jim Baker, after divorcing Richard. His childhood helped shape who he became. He was not afraid to embrace those who were different after living in Ohio where he was the only blonde kid in a class of African-American classmates. He started honing his business skills early and he would first take the pencils from unsuspecting classmates and then resell them (his business transactions became much more honest after that). He worked hard on the family farm and played hard with his siblings and friends doing everything from snow skiing, and water skiing in the canal behind a pickup, to seeing who could keep their hand in the bucket of salted ice water for a minute, and playing the trombone in band.
After graduating high school, he went to Ricks College for a year before serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Hermosillo, Mexico. After that he worked for a summer in St. George Utah where he met Shirley Stirling. They were married in the Salt Lake City Temple on December 17, 1979. The following years were filled with children and farming which were two of his biggest sources of pride. His legacy lives on in his ten children and twenty-one grandchildren whom he loved very much, and loved bragging about and spending time with. His children are Darren (Amy Koyle), Kyla (Ty Bodily), Damon (Catherine Schmutz), David (Laci Cameron), Francis Dione, Darek (Katie Kowits), Carmelite (Jeff Hennore), Kara (Skiler Oliverson), Kirsten, and Lillian.
Rod’s other great source of pride was his farms and businesses. He started out renting 600 acres to farm in 1980, won Young Farmer of the Year award in 1983, partnered with Joe Kearl in 1986, and they were continually expanding and growing. In 2004 he and Joe started Teton Trees in the ten-acre pasture behind his family home. Rod made it the largest landscape material growing business in the intermountain west with seven nurseries spanning four states and Jentzsch-Kearl Farms has expanded to farming 20,000 acres.
Rod loved adventure whether it was eating baby octopus for his birthday, putting popcorn kernels in stew, and eating his oldest daughter’s ‘killer enchiladas’, or hiking, traveling, running, and taking geology classes at CSI. He ran a marathon, hiked Mt. Whitney in California, traveled through Europe and Asia, and spent every chance he got to hike with his kids and grandkids.
After his divorce he married his new life and adventure partner, Darlene Daberkow in 2015 and brought her and her daughter, Lilly, into the large Jentzsch family. Rod was a very generous man and loved helping people, giving advice, and being a friend to those who needed it. He served faithfully in the church for many years in many different callings, including the bishopric, young mens, elders quorum president, stake mission president, Spanish branch presidency, and a Sunday school teacher.
All of his life he strived to help others gain their full potential and will continue to inspire people for years to come. His mission statement was: I love those in my life, trust and service I give, learn, build, in excellence strive; My life I live!
For the past two years Rod has been suffering with a debilitating and undiagnosed illness with no relief or remedy in sight. His suffering ended on September 20, 2019 at the age of 61 and he is now at peace and reunited with his grandparents and mother, Claralynne.
There will be a public gathering at Hansen Mortuary for those who want to pay respects and celebrate his life and legacy on Wednesday September, 25 from 6-8 pm, and again at the Rupert West Stake Center at 10 am with the funeral service following at 11 am.
In honor of this generous man who helped so many people in this community we ask that instead of sending flowers, please send a donation to the Jentzsch-Kearl Farms office at 20511 F St, Rupert, Idaho 83350 (in Acequia), that will be given to Meals on Wheels or the Humanitarian Center in Rupert.
In the end Rod said, “If you want to find me— go on a hike!”
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, September 26, 2019 at the Rupert West Stake Center, 26 South 100 West in Rupert. A gathering for family and friends will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 25, 2019 at the Hansen Mortuary in Rupert and for one hour prior to the funeral service at the church. Arrangements are under the direction of Joel Heward Hansen Mortuary.
To send flowers to Rodney's family, please visit our floral section.