Clifton Ivan Johnson Obituary
Contributor: dhs52 Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Clifton Ivan Johnson Obituary
Clifton Ivan Johnson, 88, beloved husband, father, brother, grandfather and great-grandfather died peacefully Thursday, Dec. 24th, 2009 at his Bountiful, Utah home surrounded by his loving family.
Born on a cold day in his family’s cabin on a ranch in Cleveland, Utah on December 4, 1921 to John Ivan Johnson and Hildur Elizabeth Johnson. He was the eldest son and third of seven children. Due to his father’s health, the family moved to Salt Lake City in 1925 where his father started a career in insurance
As a child, Clifton worked many jobs including selling newspapers and shining shoes. He attended South High School, and in 1943 graduated from the University of Utah where he earned a B.A. in Business (Latin), and was chosen to represent his school in Who’s Who. He was awarded a full-ride scholarship to Harvard Law School, which Harvard promised to hold until he returned from military duty. He walked the graduation line in his World War II Army uniform as a private in the infantry and was sent to Europe fighting through France, Holland and Germany, and participating in the Battle of the Bulge and the Crossing of the Rhine. Following VE Day he was chosen by General John F. Uncles to be the general’s Aid de Camp, later returning from post war Europe as a Captain in the fall of 1946. He retired from military service in 1965 as a Lt. Colonel.
Upon returning from the war in Europe, he was called to serve a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the New England States mission, 1947-1949, under President S. Dilworth Young. For much of his mission he served “without purse or script”. With his decision to go on a mission, Harvard Law School would not honor his scholarship for another extension.
Upon returning from his mission he met the love of his life Josephine Jensen. Josephine became his eternal “Pal and Partner” on August 2nd, 1950 when they were married in the Salt Lake Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
As Cliff would always say, “she is the best thing that ever happened to me.” They are the parents of six faithful children and co-parents of their Indian placement son, Webster Mahone, Peach Springs, AZ. Who lived with them five years and remains a close member of the family.
In 1949, Clifton enrolled in the University of Utah Law School. The following year his father had a heart attack, and was told by the doctor that he could no longer run his insurance business. In 1950, Cliff dropped out of Law School and took over his father’s business under Pacific National and by 1955 built it to the #1 agency in the company. He spent the rest of his own career in insurance and was honored and recognized on local, state, and national levels for his public service to the industry he loved. He was one of the few to repeatedly qualify for the Million Dollar Round Table and was a member for 43 years. He has been noted by observers in the business field as, “A man with integrity in every bone of his body”.
Clifton learned well from his mother Hildur in his early years and became proficient in memorizing poems both in his youth and adult life. He loved pets especially his dogs, and they accompanied him throughout his life: growing up in the war on the mission, and at home.
Clifton was and is an eternal optimist and missionary who sees only the good in people. He went out of his way to get to know people, serve people, love people, and bear testimony of the blessings that await them through the truthfulness of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In 1969, Clifton left the insurance industry for a time to respond to a call from President David O. McKay to serve as President of the England Central Mission until 1972. Being able to serve with his “pal and partner” Josephine as mission parents to their missionary sons, daughters, and couples and live with the saints and people in England was a cherished blessing in his life. Clifton also served as Bishop of the Bountiful 4th Ward 1960-1969, Regional Representative for England, Scotland, Ireland, and South Africa, member of the Presidency of the Salt Lake Missionary Training Center, and Temple Sealer for 28 years in both the Salt Lake and Bountiful Temples.
Clifton is preceded in death by his “Pal and Partner” Josephine Jensen Johnson and his sister LaVerne Briggs. Survived by: Children John Ivan (and Sonja) Johnson, Spokane, WA, Francine E. Johnson, Bountiful, UT, Leslie (and Rick) Watson, Anchorage, AK, Kathy Jo (and Rulan) Cook, Idaho Falls, ID, Scott (and Sherry) Johnson, Bountiful, UT, Timothy (and Trudy) Johnson, Farmington, UT; 26 grandchildren, four great grand children. He is also survived by his siblings Genevieve (Sherm) Gowan, Glendon (Bobette) Johnson, Marvin (Marilyn) Johnson, Joyce Taylor, Franklin (Kathleen) Johnson.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, January 2nd at 11:00 a.m. at the Buntiful 4th Ward Chapel, 102 E. 1400 S., Bountiful, UT. Additional viewing: Friday, January 1st, 6-8 p.m. at Russon Brothers Mortuary, 295 North Main, Bountiful, UT.
Interment: Farmngton Cemetery. Online guest book at www.russonmortuary.com
(Deseret News, Sunday, December 27, 2009)