James “Jimmy Dale” Ott

On Super Bowl Sunday, February 12, 2023, James Dale Ott, 84, of Kanab, Utah, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family. 

Jim was born on October 13, 1938 to Jenis Layton Ott and Bessie Patterson Ott in Ogden, Utah. He attended Tropic Elementary and Tropic High School until his family moved to St. George his sophomore year of high school. While in St. George, he played football, basketball and ran track. He was a naturally gifted and talented athlete. After graduating high school, he entered the army and served his country from 1958-1961.

In 1962, he met and married Jana Deen Slade. After graduating from Dixie College, they moved to Kanab, UT where initially he taught both 5th and 6th grade with half the day in Orderville and half the day at Kanab Elementary.  In addition to teaching, he loved coaching Kanab High School football and track. He retired from coaching in 1995. Jim and Jan had 2 children: Deena K. Ott and Darin Dale Ott.

During these years, Jim was also fine tuning his craft of becoming one of the best cattlemen in Utah. He has shared his knowledge and expertise with many cattlemen throughout Utah. He was often called for advice on everything from how to treat an injured cow, what to do for an ailing bull to more complex issues such as breeding and raising bulls. As he leaves us here on earth, so does a wealth of knowledge surrounding the cattleman industry. He was instrumental in his craft.

In 1999, after Jan Ott passed away, he was able to find love again in 2004 when he married Gaylene Gifford. Jim and Gaylene spent 18 years together; enjoyed  an Alaskan cruise, many great classic country concerts, movies and dinners with other cowboys and their wives.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, his older brother, Layton P. and younger sister, Rosalyn O. DeBeve. He is survived by his wife Gaylene Gifford Ott;  Children: Darin Dale Ott of St. George Ut and Deena K. Ott, Allen, Tx; Stepchildren Darren (Carla Dawn) Gifford St. George, Ut, Janea Janke Bluffdale Ut., April (Ross) Hunt Fredonia, AZ. 12 grandchildren, 7 great grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

The world has lost an amazing light and soul, our hearts are deeply saddened but we rejoice that he has been made whole in his eternal home. His nicknames, spirit and his colorful encouraging words will live in our hearts forever.

We are grateful for all the caretakers, family and friends who helped make the last few weeks a little more bearable. We appreciate you all.   

Special thanks to one of Jim’s favorite football players and friend, Danny Cox for creating the Facebook page Celebrating Jim Ott. He loved hearing all the funny stories and all the thoughtful accolades.

There will be a viewing held Thursday February 16th, 2023 from 6-8pm at the Kanab South Chapel. 

Services will be held at Kanab South Chapel on February 17, 2023 at 11:00am. With a viewing from 9-10:45am prior to the service.  Burial will be in the Kanab cemetery under the direction of Mosdell Mortuary.

In Lieu of flowers donations to KHS Athletic Department can be made by check made payable to KHS Athletic Dept. 59 E Cowboy Way Kanab UT 84741, by Venmo @KHS-2021 memo Jim Ott or you may contact Deb Jones (435) 644-6403 



  1. Carol Rossman February 15, 2023 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    Gaylene, I am so sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. I remember him for his kindness and humour over the years on the RRR. Know that I am thinking of you during this difficult time.

  2. Tami Clark February 15, 2023 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    I’m so sorry to see Jim’s passing. He always found me (even if i tried to hide from him…lol), when I worked for the BLM because he claimed I was the only one keeping track of everyone else and reporting back to President Obama! Haha. He always had something funny to say, or passed on a kind word about something. Special place in my heart ❤️ for ole’ Jim!

  3. Kenneth Coxi February 16, 2023 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    Ott Family,
    I over my sincere condolences for your loss.
    I haven’t seen Jim Ott for years. I wasn’t sure what to call him, but my friend, John LeFevre, always called him Jimmy Dale. I remember the last time I visited with Jimmy Dale. We were at the corral at the head of No Man. My teenage son, Allen, and I were taking cows to the winter range with Layne LeFevre. Jimmy Dale had brought some riders from Kanab to go with us. He teased me a little about being a Valley Buffalo and then said he would see us at the Rock House later in the day. I suppose it’s been longer than 15 years. Yet when I’m headed to LeFevre’s at Deer Range and I drive by the turn off to the corral I reflect on that pleasant exchange. Every time I spoke with him over the years it was a pleasant time. He had a knack for making one feel special and welcome regardless of the circumstances.
    For many years I officiated high school basketball and worked lots of games at Kanab High School. At the half court line across from the team benches, Jimmy Dale sat with his friends and they hassled whoever the referees were that night. It was never malicious or cruel, it just kept us on our toes.
    One Saturday during the basketball season we both ended up at Three Falls Elementary in Hurricane watching fourth and fifth graders playing a game. Jimmy Dale was there watching his grandson and I was watching my son, Allen. As we were leaving I told him I would see him at KHS later that day. He said I needed to be ready for a tough one.
    The JV game at KHS went off without any real hitch. We got plenty of hassle, but the horn blew and life went on. My partner and I stayed and watched until half time of the varsity game and we decided to head home. As I was walking by Jimmy Dale, Mel Glazier, Ted Atherly, and the others, I told them I would see them next time. Jimmy Dale joined me and walked with me to the door. He said something like this, “Me and the boys think you do a pretty good job, Cox. We want you to come back anytime you can.”
    In all the years I officiated with all the hassles and the gripes, that one trip to KHS made the whole time worth it. When I think of Jimmy Dale I will remember how I felt that night in Kanab High School. Thank you, Jimmy Dale.

  4. Allen Orton February 17, 2023 at 12:58 am - Reply

    Coach Ott had a profound influence on my life and taught me so many life lessons. As a gangly sophomore he was extremely hard on me and pushed me to the point I thought about quitting. Someone then told me a couple of things about coach Ott. First, the reason why he is so hard on you is because he sees potential in you, and if he stops riding you that’s when you have a problem. Secondly, most everyone hated him as a Sophomore, and Junior, but loved him when they were Seniors, because it usually took until you were a senior to appreciate how much better he was making you. Of course winning three state championships in a row made one buy in even more to his intense brand of coaching.
    Coach Ott was the ultimate competitor. As a Senior in 88′ we played 4 playoff games. Duchesne 72-0 North Sevier 55-7 South Summit 21-0 and Beaver 23-0 in the Championship.
    North Sevier scored on us after we were up 55-0 and had put in our second string defense. NS got the ball down to the 10 yd line, and Coach Ott put back in the starters to preserve the shutout. NS scored anyway on us, and Coach Ott acted as if we lost the superbowl. 55-7 yet somehow we all felt like we had let him down, we never gave up another point the rest of the year.
    Coach Ott gave everyone a nickname from the time we were in the 6th grade. We all knew in the 6th grade the easiest way to get out of doing any school work that week was to get Coach to start telling stories about Tropic and stealing the neighbors roosters, or to engage him in a football discussion, that almost always ended up with a full chalk talk, X’s and O’s and play by play recap of the game. I think I learned as much about football in his sixth grade class as I did in high school. No boy left 6th grade without being inspired to become a football player. I truly think this is why we had so many kids come out for football back in those days.

  5. Lisa Hafen Reber February 17, 2023 at 4:43 am - Reply

    Dear Deena, Darin, Gaylene, and extended family,

    My heart and thoughts are with you and your family at the passing of your dad. What a great man he has been to so many! Your family has been important and so special in many ways. As kids our families enjoyed watching Monday night football games together and sometimes playing while our dad’s met for their Sunday evening coaching meetings. The moms would have root beer, sprite, or a Kool-Aid mix for the kids, and Royal Crown cola for the adults, Jan always had Tab. Candied popcorn, chip and dip, with bridge mix was part of the spread too.

    Our Friday road trips to the games with our moms who faithfully supported the Kanab Cowboys and their coaches are also fond memories. Often our brothers were fortunate to be able to ride the bus home with our dads after many of the games. Single hamburgers from the roadside drive-ins were our regular fare that we looked forward to on Fridays before the games.

    A fond memory I have of Coach Ott is one in my sixth grade year. I’m sure he had finally gotten tired of my incessant talking, and I think about it often as I teach my own students. I’m sure I drove Jim crazy with continually being a disruption. He had come up with a solution to the problem by moving me away from my classmates and placing my desk next to his. An efficient behavior plan for most teachers, but this was not the case in this situation. I made myself at home and assigned myself as his desk buddy by organizing and cleaning the things on and around his desk. I took to correcting tests for him and made it more of a desired position rather than a behavior problem. It wasn’t long and he had a few other students placed around his desk and filing cabinet. I think it only took a week or so and he moved those around his desk back to the regular classroom area. Jim had had enough of all of the student helpers and needed his own space back again.

    Coach Ott loved his licorice too and every time he came into Fenton’s he grabbed a few sticks from the counter and said, “Put this on my tab!” He had a tab, but Lyle was good to let it be his treat to Jim.

    Coach Ott had a nickname for many of us, mine was Lis Patrice. It stuck, and when he’d see me he would yell it out. It became the name my dad used too.

    I remember feeding the young pigs, Amy and Arnold after football practice with our dads at a place Jim had out east of town. Dad joined him for a year or so with raising the pigs to sell at auction. Jim seemed at home around the pigs and cared for them himself with liniment.

    Coach Ott had a Presidential Award that he would give to sixth grade students that participated in specified events. As much as I hated running the required distance, I wanted the award and would do it just to earn the award. He was a good motivator!

    Coach Ott has left a legacy of hard work, determination, humor, and love not to be forgotten. I will miss you and the many lessons you taught in the classroom, on the field, and around the community.

  6. Lynette and Wally orton February 17, 2023 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Sorry for your families loss Jimmy dale was loved by all who knew him Gaylene, deanne, and Darin sorry for you all he was my dads cousin and s great friend Wally and lynette orton

  7. quinn fox February 17, 2023 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    love you uncle jim

  8. Katrina Perkins February 17, 2023 at 6:54 pm - Reply

    My thoughts and prayers are with ever single one of you!!! I love every single one of you

  9. Reinje Rains February 20, 2023 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    Gaylene so sorry to hear about your husband’s passing. Sounds like he lived a great life and helped tons of people along the way. God bless you and your family with with Peace and Comfort. ♥️🇺🇸💐

  10. Debra Ott-Blade March 20, 2023 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    Jimmy Dale was my favorite uncle 💙. Gone but never forgotten. Love you always and forever.

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