06 Mar John Larry Johnson
John Larry Johnson 1937 – 2020 devoted husband, beloved father, doting grandfather, loyal friend, swing band trumpeter, lifelong outdoorsman, avid pilot, accomplished sailor, skilled hunter and fisherman, sports car and motorcycle enthusiast, and yet, challenged golfer, left this earthly life to begin his next great adventure on March 1, 2020. On that day, he was surrounded by those he loved most in the world, his family. Larry was 83, and had tenaciously battled cancer and heart disease for several years.
Larry was born January 11, 1937, in St. Anthony Idaho to James and Helen Johnson. Larry lived his life with zest, curiosity, passion and wonder. Stories from his youth include swimming and tubing with his sisters, Janette and Judy, in the winding Snake River that ran through the center of their town, jumping from the old steel bridges into the river below on hot summer days, hunting and fishing with his mother, father and friends in the Teton and Targhee National Forests, touring Canada with his swing band as a trumpeter, and lettering in football and baseball at South Fremont High School where he graduated in 1955.
Following graduation, he attended Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho for two years then transferred to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Always a gifted mathematician, Larry pursued degrees in Statistical Economics and Mathematics. During this time, he also met and married the love of his life Patricia Nelson and began their 58-year adventure together. Larry and Patricia had two children, Lisa and Michael, the first of which was almost born at a car wash, and the second of which was born on Larry’s graduation night from the University of Utah in 1967.
Larry was a self-made man. He lived a life of integrity and firmly believed in the power of hard work, dedication, honesty, and leading by example. After working himself through college with several jobs, building homes in the Ogden area, and as a short line driver for Garrett Trucking, he entered into the insurance industry and eventually grew this prospect into a successful business, that he ran for 50 years. Johnson & Associates was well-respected and received many accolades and awards with Larry at its helm. Due to Larry’s success and association with this industry, he and his family were rewarded with many exotic and exciting trips to all corners of the globe. Throughout his life, Larry strived to make life better for his children, family and friends and worked diligently to overcome and prevent the difficult hardships that he had experienced in his youth.
Larry was a devoted father and grandfather, and never missed an opportunity to attend a theatrical performance, guitar, piano or voice recital, school play, soccer game, lacrosse or BMX/mountain bike race to shamelessly snap photographs and cheer on his grandchildren from the front row. He was eventually recruited to make props and sets for dozens of school plays and productions, which he continued to do long after his own children and grandchildren had graduated. Quite the handyman, Larry could make or repair almost anything, and often came to the rescue of family, friends and neighbors in need. His granddaughters often chimed after breaking something, “It’s not really broken, just take it to grandpa! Grandpa can fix anything!” Once Larry had worked on something, it was better than new, as he always strived to give his best, “Any job worth doing, is worth doing well.”
An explorer at heart, Larry embraced life and prioritized adventure at every turn. He lived his dreams: hunting in the remote wilds of Alaska on foot and horseback with his best buddies, riding motorcycles through the deserts and mountains of Utah and Idaho, chasing the waist-deep powder skiing Utah’s highest peaks and eventually working for many years on the Ski Patrol at Alta Ski Resort, racing and sailing his sailboat, Saltair, on the Great Salt Lake, kayaking, camping in everything from an old canvas tent, to a luxury motorhome, hiking, scuba diving, dune buggying, waterskiing the glassy waters of Lake Powell and Flaming Gorge and fishing not only throughout the Mountain West, but up the rugged coast of Alaska with his beloved Trish and close friends by his side. The beautiful Alaskan wilderness always held a special place in Larry’s heart, and even in his last days he dreamed of returning there for one more adventure. There was not an adrenaline rush of the outdoors that he was not eager to seek out, or a remote locale that he did not want to explore with his children, family and friends in tow.
Larry felt closest to God in the heights of the mountains, or on the still ocean after a storm. He loved his country, his family, his friends, and a good raisin pie – but he hated neck ties. Other great loves included his favorite Labradors, Nestle and Cocoa, the squirrels that he hand-fed Trish’s expensive cooking walnuts, and the dozens of deer which ran through their backyard in Holladay.
Larry is survived by his beautiful, lifelong adventure companion Patricia Johnson, his children, Lisa (Scott) Wood, Michael (Debbie) Johnson, his grandchildren Alexandra (Mikhail) Wood le Roux, Kaitlin Wood, and Ian Johnson. Each grandchild fervently believes that they are grandpa’s favorite; they are his legacy of love, adventure, and continued learning. He also leaves behind his sister Judy Weeks, and countless nieces and nephews including Lynn (Tracy) Davis of Idaho Falls and Terra Harker also of Idaho Falls. Larry was proceeded in death by his parents, James and Helen Johnson and his sister Janette Davis.
The family would like to give special thanks to the many friends and family who have generously given their love and support during this difficult journey, and to the dedicated caregivers who showed such tender regard and attention in Larry’s last days.
In lieu of flowers, Larry asks that you go for a hike with those you love in the beautiful mountains of Utah to look for wildlife, or watch a colorful sunset.
Funeral Services will be held Saturday, March 7, 2020, at City View Memoriam. The family will receive guests beginning at 10:00 a.m. at 1001 East 11th Avenue. Services will commence at 11:30 a.m., with interment to follow at Mount Olivet Cemetery. Please join the family for a memorial luncheon in honor of Larry at the home of Scott and Lisa Wood at 2:00 p.m. Arrangements have been entrusted to City View Mortuary. Online condolences may be shared with the family at cityviewmortuary.com.