Inventor, philanthropist James Sorenson, Utah's richest man, dies at 86

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  • Captain Curious!
    May 21, 2008 12:11 p.m.

    So, now who's the richest man in utah???

  • Dallace T. Leota
    Feb. 12, 2008 12:37 p.m.

    Thank you James L. Sorenson for all you have given. Thank you for your example of love, passion, and stewardship. May The Lord embrace you home and bless your family.

  • from ft. worth ,tx
    Jan. 23, 2008 12:27 p.m.

    Hi, I'm sorry to hear James Sorenson and he will be alright in the heaven for his rest in peace and Lord will take care of him. and I wish meet him but and thank u for have the VP 100 and VP 200 bec lots deafs people in the worlds will love of the sorenson at all and also too hearing impaired. we all lovely sorensons smile and bless his family to be strong thier life

  • james from ft.worth tx
    Jan. 22, 2008 10:35 p.m.

    i am sorry abt loss of james l. sorenson. i am so appretice make of vp 100 and 200 cuz everybody love the vp with commucition thur hearing imparied or hearing parents and thank u very much to help deaf people get the vp god bless yall with ur family and ur wife too

    Jan. 22, 2008 8:03 p.m.

    I really appreciated that you provide Sorenson vrs for all deaf and had of hearing and want to say 'THANK YOU VERY MUCH' We need to use talking on vp alot alot instead of tty or voice phone. I am really sorry to hear about MR.SORENSON went to heaven with Jesus Christ. i wish i could meet him but never meet him i wish i could say something to him 'THANK YOU' hand with sign language. We pray for your family and be strong in your heart and love him and blessing him . WOWOWOW!! amazing him !

  • Employee
    Jan. 22, 2008 3:48 p.m.

    I did not get the pleasure of meeting Mr. Sorenson but do work for one of his companies, Sorenson VRS. Only Mr. Sorenson and all deaf and hard of hearing folks can appreciate the gift that God has given to him - his briliant mind. The doors have been open for quality FREE accessible communication for all deaf and hh people. I, a CODA, (child of a deaf adult - both parents are deaf) can now see and sign to my parents and loved ones! Sorenson VRS is a wonderful company to work for and displays the caring nature of Mr. Sorenson, Sr. Mr. Sorenson's son will always have big shoes to fill, but is very blessed to have such a wonderful role model. My hope and prayer is that we believers in Jesus Christ will see Mr. Sorenson Sr in heaven and can witness all the jewels on his crown displaying all his obedience to the Lord! My family's thoughts and prayers are with the Sorenson family during this time.
    South Carolina

    Jan. 22, 2008 2:34 p.m.


  • Fort Worth, Texas
    Jan. 22, 2008 12:47 p.m.

    I am sorry for your loss. you are all my thoughts and Prayer. I really thanks to James Levoy Sorenson for giving us the VP 100 and VP 200. We are sure very happy to have communicate with hearing impaired all over the world. Rest in Peace James Levoy Sorenson. God Bless him.
    Thank you.

  • from Kentucky
    Jan. 22, 2008 11:07 a.m.

    I fully Understand for this very Value to care their people , also I never met them as I wish , I would like thank for Sorenson to Give somebody about Sorenson VP 100 and VP 200 , all everything went Success everything , we notice their deaf people really Happy and thanks for many thing to do ...
    We will Pray for you bless with their family...
    take care yourself ....


    Jan. 22, 2008 10:25 a.m.


  • Kory
    Jan. 22, 2008 9:05 a.m.

    I am sorry for your families loss, but trust that your heart is filled with the warmth of a lifetime of good experiences and memories.

  • Punctuation?
    Jan. 21, 2008 3:31 p.m.

    (The average person | 9:25 a.m. Jan. 21, 2008
    Only gives 1/2 a percent to charity. The majority of Utah's give more. Think about it.)

    What did you intend to say?
    "The average person Only gives 1/2 a percent"?
    Or, were you suggesting Mr. Sorenson "Only gives 1/2 a percent"?

  • Friend
    Jan. 21, 2008 12:22 p.m.

    Having been in Jim's home and office areas, I can personally attest to this mans modesty. The most beautiful and brillant thing in his home and totally irreplaceable was not inanimate possessions but his wife Beverly. Jim was a great man of our time and I truely admired him and respected how he didn't flaunt himself, but for every great man there is typically a great women involved. We will miss you Jim and thank you for all your hard work in this world, my love and condolences go out to the family especially Beverly thanks for your loving kindness.

  • shaun Williams - Arizona
    Jan. 21, 2008 12:15 p.m.

    The rich Legacy James leave behind him to all of us is his life and how he lived it,his service to others,to his dear family I extend my thoughts and prayers , what a debt of gratitude is owed to this giant of a man by countless millions around this wide world.May God bless his memory and extend to your family the comfort of a life well lived.
    S.L. Williams

  • It's an honor
    Jan. 21, 2008 11:48 a.m.

    It's an honor to live in Idaho, not because we have more millionaires (per capita), rather because there are so many great people, (some of whom are also wealthy).

    It's an honor to live in Oregon, where I grew up, for the same reason, lots of great people.

    It's an honor to live in Utah. James Sorenson was one of the great people there, not because he earned so much money, rather because of his positive influence which truly affected us in Idaho, and everywhere else.

    It's an honor to live in _your neck of the woods_.

  • Accountant
    Jan. 21, 2008 11:36 a.m.

    Do we really know how much he gave? No mortal does.

    What we do know is that Jim Sorenson overcame more challenges than most people ever know, and continually corrected his own faults and past mistakes. He continuously improved his already good connection to fellow humans.

    We are not in any position to judge him.
    Most will do well by seeking to emulate his life.
    Jim was a "Because I have been given much, I too will give" kind of man.
    His choice of eccentricity was an effective way to stay focused on what he wanted to create and give.

  • It's really too bad because...
    Jan. 21, 2008 10:52 a.m.

    .... he was someone who impressed me. My dad once worked at one of his plants as a facilities maintenance person--very blue-collar. Some 10 years later, I was employed with a caterer and we did a private party at Mr. Sorenson's house. Mr. Sorenson spoke a bit with all of us, and when he heard my last name he instantly recognized the heritage, asking me questions about my dad and how he was. This, despite my dad not having worked for him in a decade and despite the radical wealth differences (blue-collar vs. billionaire)! I cannot tell you how impressed I was with him, since he refused to look down on the "hired help"--either his regular employees or the ones serving his food.

    The world was better off with him in it and is hurt by his passing. He will be missed.

  • My Short sighted Friend
    Jan. 21, 2008 10:02 a.m.

    The Average Person can't always see the real value of a man. And we can't see the many things these philanthropists do that they don't report. He gave hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions to so many places, and it matters not that he be credited with it all. May we all be as loving, as caring with our limited abilities as he was with his.

  • The average person
    Jan. 21, 2008 9:25 a.m.

    Only gives 1/2 a percent to charity. The majority of Utah's give more. Think about it.

  • Anonymous
    Jan. 21, 2008 7:44 a.m.

    "It is an honor to live in Utah. Here is where such an honorable human contributor such as Mr. Sorsenson lived and gave. "

    I do not intend for my comments to take away from the great life and legacy of Mr. Sorenson. Truly, he was an example of what we should aspire to become and his many contributions to this world will continue to affect many people's lives for many, many years to come. This world is better because of what this man gave....however, I hate to break it all to you tunnel-vision Utahns, but there are really great people that live outside the walls of Utah. Many of those people have given a lot as well, and Utah does not have the corner on the market of generous people.

    It's an honor to know people such as Mr. Sorenson and to benefit from their contributions to society, regardless of where you live. To say it's an honor to live in Utah makes me want to puke. That mentality is so closed-minded and I've grown weary of Utahns thinking the world revolves around what happens in Utah. News Flash-there is life outside of Utah.

  • Employee Addendum
    Jan. 21, 2008 6:57 a.m.

    In 1981, Mr. Sorenson gave that bonus of $100 for each year the employees had worked for him even AFTER he sold Sorenson Research to Abbott Labs in 1980.

  • Employee
    Jan. 21, 2008 6:54 a.m.

    I worked for Sorenson Research when minimum wage was $3.10 per hour. My starting salary, with nothing more than a G.E.D. was $4.50. Within a few months, I was up to $5.15 per hour. Within 2 years, I was up to $7.45 per hour. Mr. Sorenson was very generous to his employees. Back in 1981, he had some "extra money" and gave everyone a bonus of $100 for every year they worked for him. Michelle King on the News called him, "Corporate Santa Claus." He had many true friends and he gave them jobs even if they weren't really qualified with college degrees and such. I am thrilled to find out that he gave so much to so many. He never really flaunted his wealth; it appears that he gave in secret. When the Nauvoo Temple restoration was announced, President Hinckley merely said, "a private donor..." Now we know to whom we are so grateful. Thank you, Jim!

  • anonymous
    Jan. 21, 2008 4:27 a.m.

    Thank you so much for Sorenson VRS. Now Deaf people can communicate through VP (video phone) all around the world to each other and the hearing world. The world of communication has opened wide!!

  • re: Mahershalalhashbaz
    Jan. 21, 2008 1:52 a.m.

    Sorenson was a philanthropist, as is Huntsman, as are hundreds of thousands of other Utahns, each in their own way, some with money, some with time, some with a smile or a hug.

  • Mahershalalhashbaz
    Jan. 21, 2008 12:06 a.m.

    I've been reading the news religiously for a decade and I've never heard of this guy?!! Shows he doesn't flaunt his wealth to get noticed. Very commendable. It blows my mind all of the things he invented. And here I thought Huntsman was the richest guy in Utah?

  • MoJules
    Jan. 21, 2008 12:05 a.m.

    I am sure that I heard of this great man growing up, since he is a peer age to my parents, who are deceased. I am also sure that even though I don't know it, I have been affected by his great contribution to the state of Utah, the LDS church and society itself. It was nice to read about such a great and positive man, I hope that his family will continue in his footsteps and that they will feel peace at this time of loss.

  • Anonymous
    Jan. 20, 2008 10:06 p.m.

    Why would God tap Sorenson to help with the Romney campaign? Just curious what makes you think God wants Romney to become President.

    On to Sorenson....he was a great man, but he owes a LOT of his success to his original business partner Dale Ballard. Ballard was the brains and inspiration behind Deseret Pharmaceuticals, and it was because of Ballard that Sorenson made his first millions. Even though their original partnership dissolved many years ago, they remained friends, and continued to meet for coffee every week. The difference is that Ballard gave away much of the ownership in his companies to his employees, while Sorenson didn't. Ballard made many people millionaires, and Sorenson gave away millions to charity. Both were very philanthropic.

  • Wayne M.
    Jan. 20, 2008 8:26 p.m.

    All that you can take with you, is what you leave behind...God Speed

  • Employee
    Jan. 20, 2008 7:33 p.m.

    As a former employee of Mr. Sorenson, I very much enjoyed getting to know this great man. I was in one of the meetings to discuss his starting contribution to the perpetual education fund and that fund will be forever in debt to him. Millions all over the world are in debt to him. He was a great man and my condolences to his family. He was a great man to work for and my family is better now because of him.

  • CP
    Jan. 20, 2008 7:17 p.m.

    I was introduced to James by my greatest friend, Gail who is his daughter a few years ago - at his own old office. I felt his greatest legacy in him. I also felt his Love for his family and his companies which really help so many people including Deaf people like myself (video relay service)= VRS). Thank you so much, James. Beverly and whole Sorensons, you have my condolences. Will see him again Next Life. Hope he will help our Mitt Romney winning his position as our next US President! I hope to work with him (campaign and offices) someday! Again, my heart goes to you, whole Sorenson Family especially so-sweet Beverely.

  • Leticia Velez Ericson
    Jan. 20, 2008 7:12 p.m.

    I am a Sorenson Legacy Scholarship recipient attending the University of Utah. I am very grateful to Mr. Sorenson and his family for the opportunity to earn my degree. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you tonight. Please know that the effects of his kindness is still with us and will continue to thrive as long as all those whom he helped honor his memory. Blessings to your family.

  • Anonymous
    Jan. 20, 2008 6:47 p.m.

    Thanks James for all of your inovation and kindness. I know that much of your genorosity has not been made public.

  • Jed
    Jan. 20, 2008 5:22 p.m.

    As a Utah entrepreneur, I must say that James Sorenson was one of my great inspirations. I hope his great works for the deaf and others continue. James is a truly great and successful man, and not merely financially.

    Perhaps God will tap him (as an angel) to help manage the Romney campaign? We can use all the help we can get! (With all the good he's done, I'm sure he's earned his wings!)

  • MadMax
    Jan. 20, 2008 5:01 p.m.

    The world is pooer today because of the loss of James Sorensen. He was a mover and a shaker, a philanthorpist and caring person. He was concerned about educating the whole child and donated to fine arts education state-wide. Beverly you have my deepest sympathies and prayers. Know that James will be fondly remembered by all who knew him or benefitted from his largese. God bless you and your family.

  • another person
    Jan. 20, 2008 5:00 p.m.

    I just happen to be another person who knows about his greatness = how he invented a "machine" to save the lives of our military men right on the battlefield = how he gave individuals money for fear he woas going to miss the Celestial Kingdom due to his having so much money = what a great son he was to his parents, tending to their every need. His parents were very happy parents having such a great son. I do not think he will ever miss being being exhalted and have the great priviledge of meeting his Savior. What a great meeting he has either had or will have for being such an honorable Priesthood Holder. Young people - follow the example this great Priesthood holder has set for you to see and to emulate.

  • Anonymous
    Jan. 20, 2008 3:24 p.m.

    Dear Beverly and family
    Words will never fully express my deepest sympathies. Among the many memories are the party on Logan Circle where Jim removed his shoes to reveal a hole in his stockings and how shocked you were- what a joke on you.
    may your testimonies bouy you up now and forever


  • EWM
    Jan. 20, 2008 3:19 p.m.

    His LeVoy's clothing line may not be life-saving as his medical inventions, but they provided us with a wonderful alternative to the worldly fashions. Wish they were still available. I still wear one of the gowns of those many years ago.

  • N
    Jan. 20, 2008 2:45 p.m.

    He was a very giving man. He entered many fields that weren't likely to produce a profit(creating devices for deaf people), but he was much more concerned with helping people. He obviously ended up making a great fortune, but ended up giving much of it back to the local area. A truly great man.

  • TaxMan
    Jan. 20, 2008 2:12 p.m.

    My condolences to the Sorensons. Having worked closely with him for many years I can say he was one of the most generous and hard working people I know. He will be missed dearly but his legacy will live on forever.

    God Bless.

  • Art
    Jan. 20, 2008 1:22 p.m.

    His charity exemplifies the true love of Christ for all people on the earth.

  • Carolyn
    Jan. 20, 2008 1:04 p.m.

    It is an honor to live in Utah. Here is where such an honorable human contributor such as Mr. Sorsenson lived and gave. I thank him and his family, I send love and condolences.

  • Mike
    Jan. 20, 2008 12:56 p.m.

    He was a truly inspired man with a wonderful family that will serve as a lasting legacy.

  • One Can Make The Difference.
    Jan. 20, 2008 12:54 p.m.

    James you will never be forgotten. Your are one of the greatest life saves know to our time. Thank you from all us who have lived because of you.

  • A Legacy At Rest!
    Jan. 20, 2008 12:50 p.m.

    We will miss this great man. Thanks James for all you have done to help all of us. The medical filed will miss you greatly and so will we. What a wonderful example to all those who follow.

  • A tennis friend
    Jan. 20, 2008 12:12 p.m.

    My thoughts and prayers go to the entire Sorenson and Williamsen family! What a wonderful life he lead

  • Dickson
    Jan. 20, 2008 12:06 p.m.

    Rest in peace. A great creator and generous man. But most importantly, a great creator.

  • following the Ultimate Producer
    Jan. 20, 2008 11:52 a.m.

    One who uses things to enrichens peoples lives...great to read about people who have reached a financial pinnacle and use it for GOOD!!! I aspire to follow suit!

  • Whitechapel
    Jan. 20, 2008 11:19 a.m.

    People like this move the human race forward in their embodiment of service, work and faith. My sincere condolences to his wife and family.

  • Anonymous
    Jan. 20, 2008 11:14 a.m.

    I would say this mans legacy was a man that cared about people as well
    What an amazing story and a man to have lived and used his money to give to people that needed medical help with inventing useful equiptment
    Myself needing a Blood filter for Dialysis and a machine to clean the blood
    Maybe I own this man my life too?
    Thanks to those that give to the people.
    My heart has always been for, and with the people
    I just have no money to give
    So I did the best in services I could provide in giving what I had to offer

  • Much Admiriation
    Jan. 20, 2008 10:55 a.m.

    What a tremendous legacy this man leaves. Nearly everyone will have been affected by his efforts in one manner or another.