Summer 2024

Longtime Utah Jazz chaplain Jerry Lewis passes away at age 80

The Utah Jazz said goodbye to their longtime chaplain this weekend, as Jerry Lewis passed away at age 80.

The chaplain’s passing was reported Saturday by Jazz play-by-play man Craig Bolerjack and has since been confirmed by Lewis’s family, according to the Deseret News.

Lewis doesn’t depart without a legacy. He was “one of the biggest constants” of the Jazz organization over the last 30 years, as The Salt Lake Tribune reported. And in between counsel for Utah stars like Karl Malone, John Stockton and Gordon Hayward, Lewis used “short sermons, spiritual guidance and prayer circles,” per the Deseret News’ Eric Woodyard, not only to become a staple of the NBA’s chaplain team but spread faith to some of basketball’s most recognizable names.

“He loved the Lord and he wanted to share that love and that passion with the players and help them through any problems that they might want to share with him,” (his wife) Jean Lewis said. “They always said a prayer with him when they had a chapel, and he always tried to keep it private for them and never divulge anything that they didn’t want divulged, and they could call him at any time.” …

Lewis even performed marriage ceremonies for the Malone family, the Eatons and former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, plus baptism services for countless others in the area, including the Bolerjacks.

Lewis, who also served as a local minister, spent three decades in the Jazz organization. He is survived by Jean, his wife of 57 years, four children and nine grandchildren.

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