Cover photo for Joe Redburn's Obituary
Joe Redburn Profile Photo
1938 Joe 2020

Joe Redburn

November 17, 1938 — September 6, 2020

Joe Redburn, 'father' of Utah's LGBT Community, has died.

Joe Redburn, 81 of Salt Lake City, Utah, died Sunday, September 6th at the Intermountain Medical Center. Joe was born November 17, 1938, in Laramie Wyoming to Elmer W. Redburn and Gerda Christensen Redburn. He was raised and educated in Laramie. He went to the University of Wyoming, and then Armed Forces Information School in Ft. Slocum, New York.

"In those days you either gave yourself up to the draft -- which I did -- or wait 'til they drafted you," he said. "I just wanted to get it over with. In those days, if you checked the box that you were gay they rejected you, so I didn't. I went in actually lying to them. I was in the U.S. Army at Fort Riley in Kansas for two years. What we did was the news on local stations. Then when I got out, I went back to Laramie, and then I came over to Salt Lake to get a job here."

With his ultra-deep bass voice, he began a long career in radio on KTKK -- one of the first all-talk stations in the country during the Vietnam era.

Joe played a major role in the building of a true Gay community in the Salt Lake area. He has also been credited with establishing the first Gay Pride in Salt Lake. Joe was the owner of several Salt lake City LGBT clubs over the years, starting with the Sun Tavern in the 70s, He was honored with the RCGSEC Community Service Award, the Utah Pride Dr. Kristin Ries Community Service Award, and in 2004, was given the Utah Gay Rodeo Association Grand Marshal Award.

Joe is survived by a niece, several nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his Father, Elmer W. Redburn, Mother, Gerda (Christensen) Redburn, his Brother Richard Redburn, and his Sister Nancy (Redburn) Valencia.

Memorial services are pending and will be announced by the Franklin County Funeral Home, 56 S. State Street, Preston, Idaho.

Please share a favorite memory of Joe or offer condolences to the family by leaving a tribute on this page.

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