Robert J. DeBry
1935 ~ 2021
Robert John (Bob) DeBry, 85, died at his home in Holladay, Utah, on May 18, 2021, of natural causes related to age.
Bob, who leaves a lifetime legacy of generosity and service, was born October 10, 1935, in Preston, Idaho, to James and Winnifred Jensen DeBry.
He grew up in Rigby, Idaho, where he thinned beets, harvested potatoes and took great pride in his horse "Nettie S." He worked at the Motor Vu Drive-in Idaho Falls, sold pots and pans door to door, played high school basketball and nurtured lifelong friends.
From 1956 to 1958 he served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Netherlands where he developed a lasting love of the Dutch people, language and culture.
Bob graduated from the University of Utah in 1960 with a degree in Art History. He received a Doctor of Law degree from the University of Utah in 1963.
With his father and partner Lynn Hilton in 1969 he established the Foreign Study League that created opportunities for thousands of high school students to explore Europe.
He was the founder of Robert J. DeBry & Associates, and over a half century he built it into one of the most recognized law firms in Utah. Bob loved going to work at the firm; he went to work every day until the spring of 2020.
In 2011, Bob was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Utah Association for Justice. For six consecutive years, he was selected to the "Top 100 Trial Lawyers" by the American Association for Justice.
He was a passionate advocate for victims of drunk driving and for the use of helmets while cycling. His continuing initiative "Buy a Helmet, Save a Life" has distributed more than a quarter million bicycle helmets in Utah at below cost or as outright donations. As a supporter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), he donated $500 for every case that he settled or won, and for years he paid for taxi rides home to keep people safe on the roads on major holidays.
In his personal life, Bob was known by his friends in his church congregation as the unselfish and giving ward mission leader (his favorite calling of all time) and bishopric member who quietly and freely met the needs of people. He met those needs with his time, with his means and his expertise. Bob found great joy in that service.
Bob loved swimming laps in Turtle Bay on the North Shore of Oahu and lying on the beach with Barbara. He loved great food and a good tie.
Neighbors and strangers came to know him as the man who, at Halloween, handed out not just one full-size candy bar to each trick-or-treater but a whole bag of candy bars to every child who came to his door.
In 1960, Bob married Joan Richards; later divorced.
In 1996, he married Barbara Anderson Pulsipher.
Preceded in death by his parents, brother Wayne DeBry, sister-in-law Kelly DeBry, brother-in-law Robert Shore.
Survived by his wife, Barbara; sister JoAnn Shore; brother Roger (Pat) DeBry, son Creighton DeBry, son Brad DeBry (Eydie), son Clark DeBry (Noriko), daughter Brooke Robinson (Wes), son Taylor DeBry (Wendy); stepson Andrew Pulsipher (Mabel), Julia deHaan (Trevor), and 17 grandchildren..
Bob loved his children and was an extraordinary stepfather. Nothing made him happier than his grandchildren who will always remember his generosity.
Friends may call at a viewing on Sunday May 23, 2021 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m at Wasatch Lawn Mortuary, 3401 S. Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah. A graveside service will be held at 12:00 noon on Monday May 24, 2021, Larkin Sunset Gardens, 1950 East 10600 South, Sandy, Utah.
The family wishes to extend a sincere thank you to Mike Jensen and all the wonderful Home Instead caregivers; and Erika Negley of Canyon Hospice.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Missionary Fund or the Humanitarian Aid Fund of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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Published by The Salt Lake Tribune from May 20 to May 24, 2021.