Family, friends gather in SLC to honor memory of Jeff Vice

SALT LAKE CITY — He was a well-known and long time local film critic, but early Monday morning 48-year-old Jeff Vice abruptly lost his life.

Hundreds of people are still shocked and remember Vice for his infectious personality and passion for pop culture.

Friends and fans gathered at Lucky 13 pub in Salt Lake City Wednesday night, where Vice help build popular pub quiz nights. For fans, it was a chance to enjoy a drink and some trivia.

Wednesday’s event was cancelled to remember the beloved film critic, who friends said was a walking encyclopedia when it came to pop culture. Before he joined the Geek Show podcast and X96’s Radio from Hell, “he was a journalist at heart,” said X96 host Kerry Jackson.

Vice worked his way from reporter to film critic at the Deseret News, where he spent 16 years.

“He reviewed movies for just folks, and he knew if they would find it appealing or not,” Jackson said. “That’s what I liked about his criticism. He wasn’t trying to beat you over the head with how smart he was.”

But friends said Vice had a brilliant and quick mind, especially when it came to pop culture.

“He was our computer, our brain, our Google of the show,” said Geek Show panelist and comedian Jay Whittaker.

“Even the stuff that was terrible, he loved it,” added Geek Show panelist Leigh Kade. “And you could talk to him for hours, he would talk to anybody about it, and I think that’s why everyone loved him so much.”

On Sunday night, Vice suddenly suffered a massive asthma attack.

“You would never think something like that would shut your heart and lungs down and you’re gone,” Jackson said.

Vice’s girlfriend rushed him to the hospital, but doctors couldn’t revive the 48-year-old film critic.

“I’ve never been more shocked, I never thought I’d have to say goodbye to that guy,” said Geek Show panelist Shannon Barnson.

“I don’t understand. I’m trying to make sense of everything and I really miss him,” Whittaker added.

At Brewvies Cinema Pub, where Vice would record some of the Geek Show podcasts, the message on the marquee read, “We love you Jeff Vice.”

“If you walk into the place, ‘Hey Jeff!’, there wasn’t a place where somebody didn’t know him,” Kade added.

Young reporters and film critics also turned to Vice as a mentor.

“I know people would ask him to edit their papers for college,” Barnson said, adding that Vice would happily comply. “I’m gonna miss him until the day I die, so many people are.”

Vice’s “Geek Show” family helped make funeral arrangements Wednesday afternoon.
A viewing and memorial service will be Saturday morning starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Utah State Fairgrounds. Hundreds of people are expected to attend. If you’d like to donate to Jeff Vice’s family to help with funeral costs, you can do so via PayPal using the email legendsforzelda@gmail.com

5 comments

  • sebastian nye

    so glad that you guys did live coverage of this. He was a pillar of the geek community and deserved this attention.

  • Jani *Fleet

    May 29, 2014
    When I used to do movie screenings, Jeff was the very first one to help me out, give of his time, and offer a few suggestions on how to find information in advance on the films to be screened. When he and Kerry Jackson did “Sci-fi Sunday,” I got to visit the bridge set they had. Jeff accompanied Kerry to help out one year at MountainCon. He was always cheerful. I shall be among the legions who’ll miss Jeff, anticipating seeing him again sometime in geek heaven. In peace and happiness, Jeff.
    Jani *Fleet.

  • Nathan Unck

    When I was 13 years old, Jeff took over as film critic after Chris Hicks. I went through all of my teenage years, and then most of my 20s reading his reviews. They inspired me as a teen to want to become a film critic. Flash forward a decade, I got on with a newspaper here in the Salt Lake Valley, as well a a podcast, and Jeff was the person who helped me get started and helped me get my stuff out there. I also do improv comedy shows most weekends, and pop culture is one of my stronger suits. It was a blast going back and forth with Jeff talking about anything dealing with entertainment or art. I feel blessed that I got to know him. I am pretty sure that every single time I walk into a movie theater for the rest of my life, I will always remember Jeff and what he taught me.

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