Former WVC mayor, police chief Dennis Nordfelt dies

By Dennis Romboy, Deseret News

Published: Sat, Aug. 30, 2014, 9:35 p.m. MDT

 Dennis Nordfelt

Dennis Nordfelt

(Deseret News archives)

WEST VALLEY CITY — Former West Valley City mayor and police chief Dennis J. Nordfelt died Saturday at age 71.

Nordfelt, a member of the Utah Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, died at home. He had been battling a lingering illness. He attended an alcohol commission meeting this past Tuesday.

"He was recovering so well," said West Valley City Mayor Ron Bigelow, who has known Nordfelt for many years. "It's a sad day for our city."

Nordfelt served as mayor of the city from 2002 to 2010, and as its police chief from 1987 to 1998. Before that he worked at the Utah Highway Patrol for 20 years, including six as superintendent starting in 1981. He also served as West Valley's Olympic coordinator.

Bigelow said people looked up to Nordfelt because of the things he did for West Valley and for the person he was.

"He spent many years serving this community and his efforts helped shape our city and made it stronger. His positive influence was also felt far beyond our city in programs, events and especially in the lives of many people in our state. He leaves a tremendous legacy for all of us," Bigelow said in a statement.

The City Council appointed Nordfelt as mayor after Mayor Gerald Wright died in August 2002.

In filling the vacancy, the father of nine children said at the time that he would focus on how city decisions affect families and emphasize whenever possible the importance of a traditional family.

Picked, in part, for his understanding of the city's strong city manager form of government, Nordfelt vowed to represent the residents in his new role.

"The government should only do what its citizens want to have done but cannot do for themselves," he said.

During Nordfelt’s tenure with UHP, the agency received national recognition for innovative programs.

In 1983, Utah and Arizona opened the nation’s first joint-state port of entry, a program duplicated around the country. The following year, the UHP received a United States Senate Award for Achievement for the effort, according to agency's the website.

Nordfelt was born in Salina and grew up in Moab. He leaves behind his wife, Glenda, and his children and grandchildren. His son Lars Nordfelt was elected to the West Valley City Council in 2013.

Email: romboy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: dennisromboy

1. RevCouncil
Anytown, GA,
Aug. 31, 2014

Our thoughts and prayers to Mrs. Nordfelt & the Nordfelts in your grief. We recall your husband,father & grandfather being a model neighbor & truly humble Christian servant of Jesus Christ.

Whenever we moved to Granger-Hunter area know by most of our neighbors as the ward, we recall one Christmas how Chief & Mrs. Nordfelt walked up the street to invite us to the Ward Christmas program. Although we could not attend due to another commitment that day, we shall never forget how welcome to the neighborhood they made us feel.

Warm regards to the Nordfelts & RIP, Chief Nordfelt as you must truly have earned your place in heaven!

Jerome & Cille Council, Rex GA.

2. regis
Salt Lake City, UT,
Sept. 2, 2014

We could use more men like Dennis Nordfelt in public service. He was a gem. I am confident his spirit has passed to a place where his talents will be even more greatly appreciated.

3. MrsH
Altamont, UT,
Sept. 2, 2014

He was our Bishop in Price, UT when I was a teen. Got me through some tough times.
A very good man. He will be missed!