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Jeff Vice, longtime Deseret News reporter and movie critic, dies

Published: Thursday, May 29 2014 11:25 a.m. MDT

Jeff Vice

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — For at least 15 years — and as many as 20 — Jeff Vice and Scott Pierce sat next to each other in the features department at the Deseret News.

Theirs was an effortless, good-hearted banter rooted in a shared love of film and television, their respective areas of expertise. In a department that bonded, worked and played like a family, "Jeff was the brother that everybody loved," Pierce said.

"I don't know anyone who didn't like Jeff," he said. "Even when things weren't going well, Jeff was more worried about other people."

Vice, 48, was declared dead Monday but remained on life support at University Hospital until Thursday.

Kerry Jackson, an X96 radio announcer who was Vice's friend of three decades and co-collaborator on the "Geek Show Podcast," said Vice suffered from an asthma attack that caused his heart to fail.

"He was the first guy who was there to help," Jackson said of his friend. "If you announced that you were moving, he would be the first one there. He was always willing, he was always giving, always there to help — and it continues because he's an organ donor."

All but Vice's lungs were expected to be donated, Jackson said, "so he's going to continue to give to a whole lot of people."

For years, Vice lent his voice to the community with his insight on movies and all things "geek." First as film critic at the Deseret News, then on the "Geek Show Podcast" and providing film reviews for MSN and X96.

Vice loved comic books, "Star Trek" and "Star Wars," and he knew them inside and out.

"He was my supercomputer. Whenever I needed a fact or a detail, he had it, just like that," Jackson said, recalling times he asked about "Star Trek" episodes or Spider-Man comic books and Vice immediately knew the reference. "He had all of those facts just at the ready."

Vice spent 21 years at the Deseret News, working at the newspaper from 1989 until being laid off in 2010, and was loved by many. Former Deseret News movie critic Chris Hicks said he always admired Vice's sense of humor and confidence in his work, even after taking over the job from Hicks who held it for 20 years.

"He really made it his own from the very beginning," Hicks said. "As soon as he started, he found his own voice. He knew how he felt, he had (his) opinions and backed them up. He was a good person. … Jeff really is going to be missed."

Angelyn Hutchinson, a former Deseret News features editor, said the news of Vice's death left her heartbroken.

"Even though we're not all together anymore, it still feels like we're a family and we lost a family member," she said. "He was hardworking and talented and knowledgable about the movies. … He was congenial with other people. Above all, he was just a really nice person."

Jackson asked anyone who has known Vice or appreciated his insights and opinions to donate to his mother to help pay for funeral expenses. Those can be made by logging into PayPal and donating using the email legendsforzelda@gmail.com.

A viewing for Vice will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the Heritage Building at the Utah State Fairpark, 155 N. 1000 West. The viewing will be followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m. in the Grand Building.

Email: emorgan@deseretnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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