Lawrence Golding Johnson

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Larry was a…

Hard-working, Diet-Coke drinking, People watching,

Joke making, Back scratching, Dog loving, Ranch working,

Fence fixing, Bale throwing, Pheasant hunting,

Deer hunting, Pocketknife using, Puzzle making,

Ballgame watching, BYU cheering, Flat tire fixing, Fire building,

Card playing, Kid tending, Horse riding, Golf playing, Golf Club making, 4-Wheeling, Hug giving, Bird watching, Coin collecting, Stamp saving, Can crushing, Hostess cupcake eating, Reunion going ………..kinda guy!

Larry was born April 27th, 1933. He was the older brother of LeRoy, Mary, Murray, and Juanita. He grew up in Provo and attended Provo High School. He was an exceptional athlete playing linebacker for the Provo Bulldogs. He and his brother Murray were … well known…for their “spirited” antics during this time. It became obvious that he would never shy away from a fight. (There’s a rumor about a ref who made a terrible call resulting in the loss of a PHS football game. If rumors are true, he may have been involved in the car somehow rolling over with the ref inside of it!)

It was there in Provo, and with this same passionate spirit, that he met the love of his life, Anetta Snow. They were paired to dance with each other in eighth grade, and he has been crazy in love with her ever since. The two were married in 1949 and started a family when Denise was born in 1950. They were ultimately sealed in the Salt Lake City temple and made Utah their permanent home.

Larry began working in the coal mines of Carbon County at a very young age. He then took a job at Geneva Steel working in the smokestacks. He did hard labor and long shifts to provide for his family. On weekends and time-off he spent time on the family farm and with his growing family. More children were on the way. Debbie in 1951, Brent in 1954, and Greg in 1957. Larry continued to work hard at Geneva and worked his way to better and better positions. He became a foreman and was a respected leader. He was a passionate union supporter, and his children knew to never break a strike line. He was the ombudsman for the union and even spent time on Capitol Hill to fight for steel workers’ rights. He continued his career with Geneva until he retired in 1982.

Geneva Steel was not the only form of employment for Larry. He also bought the family farm in Miller Creek, Carbon County, which was 1000 acres and there he had his horses and raised cattle. He loved the farm. Every weekend and every day off were spent on the farm. Each of his children have memories (some good, some bad) of hauling hay, branding cattle, and hunting in the wash. He enjoyed the cattle and loved his horses. He had many dogs at the farm including Dog, Mutt, and Pup. He became a firm believer in UFO’s and of the ‘Wash Monster’ after working late many nights out on the farm. (Wash Monster is real. No really. It is.) Larry also owned small businesses including AdventureLand Video and Sno Shack. He ran a Christmas tree lot where he sold trees he had cut down himself.

For years he worked at H&R Block doing taxes and for a time was even a realtor. Larry had an incredible work ethic, and he taught it to each of his children.

Larry continued to play sports into his adult life. When he started a sport or hobby it was with obsession. Fishing, golfing, fast and slow pitch softball, and bowling to name a few. If he was playing it, he had every needed piece of equipment, bought all the books, and worked tirelessly on the nuances and understanding of the sport. Have you ever read a book on how to write plays for basketball, proper shooting form, bowling form, or the physics of fast pitch? He has! Unfortunately, so have his children! Golf, however, became a special passion. He taught all of his family to golf and even set up family reunions around a Johnson Family Golf Tournament. Larry had a goal to golf every public golf course in the state of Utah. He always kept golf clubs in his trunk, just in case. He loved watching BYU play football and basketball (as well as any other team playing any type of game going on anywhere in the neighborhood). He cheered for the underdog. He was competitive, feisty, and sometimes a little rowdy. It was not uncommon for my mother to cover her face and say, “Oh Larry!” whenever he was having one of these “spirited discussions” with the referee or a competitor. He had a special love for hassling the ref. This has resulted in legendary stories of being kicked out of many a game!

In addition to sports, Larry always had a hobby going on. He collected old coins, rocks, and stamps from all over the world. He loved guns and even loaded his own shotgun shells. Many of his kids and grandkids loved doing this with him in the green room downstairs. He loved playing cards, hunting with his dogs, finishing puzzles, solving Sudoku, doing math, and mastering word games. He loved to get his kids involved and teach them all about his interests.

While he was dedicated to his career and hobbies, his priority was always his family and his children. Lucky for him, more were on the way. Wendy entered the scene in 1965, and Kristy surprised them all in 1971. The family was complete, totaling six. Larry was so proud of his children. He told his children stories of their siblings, their mom, and their extended family. His world was family. He loved his family. He worked to stay close to his parents, siblings, cousins, and nieces and nephews. Growing up, he frequently took his children and visited and did yard work for the extended family. There are stories told of winter drives risking their very lives in the evenings and every weekend as they went “up the canyon” to take care of Grandma Delma. He worked hard to take care of everyone. He always showed up.

Larry’s first family home was in Orem on 8th East where the family spent several years. He then moved a block or so to his permanent home on 1000 East in Orem. Many wonderful childhood memories were created there. Countless hours were spent at ballgames – kids and grandkids. He loved to camp with his family in his Aljo trailer and spent many spring breaks in Goblin Valley. For many summers he would trek hauling all his kids to California to see the ocean and go to Disneyland. No kids left without a souvenir. He loved to spend all his time and all his money on his family.  He always said, “I have money I haven’t even spent yet.”

Later in life Larry and Anetta served two LDS missions together. They worked at the church farm and cannery as well as at DI. They were active in their ward and were well loved around their neighborhood. My dad loved to sit out on the front porch and watch the busy neighborhood. He would dig out weeds from the front lawn with his handy pocket knife – and chat with anyone walking by.

Anetta suffered from heart failure in 2005. During this time Larry was an incredible caregiver. He sat vigilantly by her bedside in the hospital and in rehab for months. When she required an LVAD to continue on, he carefully tended to her. He learned sterile technique so he could change her dressing, modified the house to make it easier for her, and changed out her batteries every few hours. When it was time, he held her and lovingly gazed at her and told her how much he loved her. Even at the end of his life, suffering from dementia, he called Wendy to his bedside to make sure that she knew to take care of Anetta. “And don’t just take care of her. I’m talkin’ TOP PRIORITY.”

Larry moved in with Wendy and Alan in 2015. He took good care of her and her family ever since. He continued to attend every game possible, all life events, and every family reunion. He mowed the lawns, tended the grandkids, and fed the dog and birds. He created an incredible family including 6 children, 27 grandchildren, 66 great-grandchildren, and 4 great-great grandchildren. He has lived five generations! He created a legacy, he lived a good life, and he truly is a hero.

Larry died November 7th at 11:47 PM. He was surrounded by his family. They held, hugged and kissed, encouraged, and comforted — giving him the love he always gave his family. He meant a lot to a lot of people, and he will be very much missed.

A viewing will be held on Friday, November12, 2021 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Alpine West Stake Center, 327 Long Drive, Alpine, Utah. Graveside services will be held at 10:30 am on Saturday, November 13, 2021 at the Provo City Cemetery, 610 South State Street in Provo, Utah (south side). The family will have a memorial service with lunch served at 11:45 am at the Alpine West Stake Center following the graveside.

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