1930 ~ 2012
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A wonderful man, Brent G. Layton, aka Ace Marvelous and Papa, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly, but peacefully at his home in Sandy, Utah, on October 30, 2012. He was 81.
The mold for such a unique person was broken at his birth. Born November 20, 1930 in Salt Lake City, the son of Golden and Carol Layton, my dad grew up in the town that holds his name, Layton, Utah, a city which was settled by his great grandfather, pioneer Christopher Layton. He was a proud Davis Dart, where he excelled as an athlete. After attending the University of Utah, he joined the Marine Corps, entered flight school, and proudly and faithfully served his country in the Korean war in the 195th Fighter Squadron. Upon returning to Utah, he married Peggy Ann Thomas, with whom he had 3 sons, David, Scott and Brent. He began his career with Western Airlines in 1954. Dad took our family where he thought his sons would prosper. This took us to Canoga Park, California, and Evergreen, Colorado, all the time commuting long distances to work. Eventually he moved us back to his beloved Utah. A commercial pilot for nearly 35 years, he retired from Delta airlines. I'll never forget as a young boy riding on one of his planes, when he executed such a smooth landing that the plane erupted in applause. Something I've never again witnessed to this day. He was a senior 727 Captain for years. After divorce, he moved to his horse ranch in Sandy, Utah, where he passed away.
Brent grew up on a farm and loved horses, and much of his life revolved around riding, buying, breeding, training and judging top quality cutting horses. He dearly loved spending time with his horses and made innumerable friends across the country in the cutting horse industry. He simply loved people and loved to socialize. He had an uncanny ability to remember and tell jokes, something I'm sure was perfected in the cockpit. He always attracted a crowd, and you simply couldn't shut him up. Those that were close to him know of some of his favorite phrases like "gunsel", "heater", and "lost ball in the high weeds". He was brutally honest, strongly opinionated, and profoundly politically incorrect. As evidenced by my mom, he had a strong desire to surround himself with beautiful women. It was funny to see him at restaurants when he would conspicuously gawk at the "heaters" walking by. As his good friend Boyd Summerhays said, he always figured out how to "jimmy the system". To this day, his license plates are from Oregon, so he could avoid paying Utah taxes. He struggled mightily with computers, not able to grasp terms like ISP, wifi, desktop, copy and paste, and picture archiving. I recently talked him into an iPhone. Within a couple of days, he called me (using his land line) and said he had been through a lot of difficult times in his life, but nothing as bad as figuring out that damn "smart" phone. He was able to use email, and much of his latter days were spent communicating with many friends, most of whom were his beloved and respected pilot friends from his past. He was rarely seen without either his cowboy hat or his Marine Corps hat. He was a staunch conservative and verbalized such. To him, Obama epitomized the phrase "lost ball in the high weeds".
Papa was a special grandpa. He dearly loved his grandchildren and is survived by them, of which there are 6, Jordan Morgan (Miles), and Taylor, Lauren, Ashley, Emily, and Brent Thomas (BT) Layton. He was in frequent contact with them, always interested in what was going on in their lives. They were his pride and joy. Almost more than anything else, he loved his daughter-in-law, my wife Mary Lou. They had an incredible relationship. He also had a special relationship with Jordan's husband Miles, a fellow pilot, yet a democrat. He blistered him with anti-Obama emails. At their last meeting, he gave Miles a big hug, then admonished him to never tell anyone he had hugged a democrat. He was very close to my mom's sister and husband, Cy and Neva Nielsen, enjoying weekly prime rib lunches. His love of food was unsurpassed, as long as it was reasonably priced ($5 range ?). He had an indescribable bond with his bordie collie, Ringo, who was at his side at the time of his passing. Emily has promised Papa, both before and after his death, that she will take great care of his special companion
His greatest legacy will be his desire and ability to provide for the higher education of his wonderful grandchildren. He gave to multiple charities, especially the disabled veterans.
He is also survived by me (Brent), Mary Lou, ex-wife Peggy, brother Roger, and was preceded in death by his parents Golden and Carol, sons Dave and Scott, thousands of military comrades, and many special friends.
He left me with specific written instructions. He will be cremated and his ashes spread over the beautiful mountains near Dimple Dell. When the time comes, some of his ashes will be kept with the ashes of Ringo. He despised funerals and per his wishes there will be none. He loved parties and per his wishes there will be one. An informal celebration of his life will be held at La Caille, 9560 S. Wasatch Blvd., Sandy, 2-5pm Sunday, November 11. There will be no speeches, no funeral music, and no flowers requested. Just fine appetizers, fine drink, fun memories, and toasts. He did not want people to travel far for this event, and if you're not able to make it, please just do what he did best, with a twinkle in his eye, raise a glass and say, "well… here's to ya".
I love you Dad. You'll never know how much you will be missed.
Published in Salt Lake Tribune from Nov. 8 to Nov. 9, 2012