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Wednesday, February 23, 2011




SEPTEMBER 28, 1994

Wallace Oscar Johnson was born on July 18, 1915, in Shelley in a house which his dad built just three houses east of the Shelley Stake Center where this service is being held.

He was the first child born to his parents after his dad returned home from a mission to Sweden. His father returned home shortly after World War I started. His dad was concerned about his own safety on the way home because of German warships sinking many of the ships.

Wallace was born into the Shelley 2nd Ward. Even though many new wards were created later, he always lived in the 2nd Ward, serving in many positions in the stake and ward.

Even though he grew up in a large family (9 siblings, 2 half-siblings) he never knew his grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins because they were all in Sweden.

He attended grade school in Shelley in the old building now known as the Dean Goodsell School. One of his teachers was Hazel Stewart - who taught many of you here today.

He enjoyed school and excelled in math. However, in his junior year of high school, the Great Depression required that he quit school and work on the family farm.

He participated in sports in high school, especially football, basketball, 100 yard dash and broad jump. He said that he was clumsy, but strong. He developed a love of sports that lasted through his entire life.

He told one story about the Great Depression in which he went to town with $5.00 and brought home two new pair of Levis, two new shirts and a new pair of shoes.

When he was a teenager, he, Rex Jensen and Wayne Bair took an old truck on a camping trip in Wolverine. One time when Wayne was working on the engine, Wallace dropped a firecracker behind Wayne. Wayne didn’t think it was very funny. The brakes on the old truck were so bad that two of the boys rode on the back ready to throw logs under the wheels if it got our of control on a hill.

He was very considerate of his brothers and sisters, He didn’t get mad when Maurice wrecked his brand new 1936 Ford Coupe. He escorted his sister, Bernice, to many activities. At one dance a young man named Norman Bingham wanted to ask Bernice for date, but he was afraid of her boyfriend. He was greatly relieved to find out that the boyfriend was really her brother. Bing and Bernice later married.

Wallace’s brother, Walt, remembers the times he acted as Wallace’s personal chauffeur. Walt would drive while Wallace sat in the back seat with his date.

In 1935 at a stake dance, Hollis Harker dared Wallace to invite a young woman to dance. He took the dare and later married Fae Johnson. He referred to her as a red winged blackbird because of the black and red dress she wore the evening they met.

Two children, Delmar and LaNea, were born into this family. They lived on a farm on Taylor Road which remains the family home to this day.

Despite Fae’s poor health, they enjoyed many activities together, especially fishing. The family enjoyed many fishing trips together - all too often on Sunday.

One particularly memorable fishing trip had several people, including Wallace and Fae, fishing from a boat. Two people hooked fish at the same time. The first fish to be landed was dropped on the bottom of the boat with the flatfish still in its mouth so the people could concentrate on landing the second fish. The flopping of the first fish caused the treble hook on the flatfish to become embedded in Fae’s rear. The scene of Fae’s screaming, Wallace’s trying to console her and the others trying to land the second fish was quite exciting.

Many fond memories are remembered by LaNea on the farm. She remembers the teeter-totter built by Wallace. He took a huge plank, tied burlap sacks on the ends and placed it across a sawhorse. Delmar - in his sometimes - all the time - teasing mood would hold LaNea up in the air. Wallace would rescue her and then spend time with Delmar and LaNea on one end and him on the other.

One of his pet peeves was kids who would knock over the mailboxes. After several nights in a row of this happening, he laid in wait one night. He waited in the car with the lights out. As soon as the culprits came, he took after them. He never did catch them, but the tipping over of the mailbox stopped.

Though Delmar was not a gifted athlete, Wallace spent a lot of time in the front yard playing catch with Delmar to enhance the bonding and to sharpen Delmar’s athletic skills. One time in priesthood meeting, Maurice, Wallace’s brother, used this as an example of developing father/son relationships.

When Delmar was old enough, Wallace and Delmar shared farming responsibilities. Wallace would work in the fields before sunrise and after sunset and Delmar would milk the cos.

Wallace had cows on his farm from his early days until 1968, sometimes milking as many as twenty. He always had names for his cows- as well as for his cats and dogs. He even had nicknames for LaNea (Sis or Dolly), Delmar (Butch) and his sister Bernice (Sis).

In 1968, Fae passed away.

In 1970, Wallace met Verla Croshaw as a result of a bind date set up by Jim Merritt. After they participated in the Sociables Singles’ Organization for some time, he and Verla were married in 1971.

Over the past fifteen years, Wallace’s health has gradually deteriorated to the point that he was unable to do many of the things he enjoyed. Of course, this resulted in a great deal of frustration and discouragement.

Wallace passed from this mortal existence on his farm on Friday, September 23, 1994.

He will be remember by his loved ones for many things.

His first love was his family. He really enjoyed attending blessings, baptisms and marriages of his grand and great grandchildren. Even though he disliked having his picture taken, he patiently sat through many three and four generation pictures.

Even when his health didn’t permit physical activities, he loved to have his great-grandchildren sit on his lap. He didn’t even mind if they were wiggly.

The second love of his life was farming. He didn’t care anything about becoming a big farmer - he just wanted to do it the best way that he knew how with what he had.

He developed a reputation for the quality of his potatoes as being among the best in the valley. One time French’s sent some representatives from their head office to Shelley. They stayed on his farm and observed his skills.

Earlier in his life, farming was not mechanized like it is today. There was a lot of manual labor - shoveling, weeding, bucking spuds, etc. Back then you had to love it or you didn’t do it.

He took good care of his farm equipment. He made it last for a long time. For many years, Wallace’s old trucks and equipment competed proudly with newer, shinier models.

He enjoyed reading. He especially like mysteries and westerns. He had several book exchanges set up with other people. He delighted in chatting about Louis L’AMOUR or the White India Series.

He enjoyed food - maybe too much. If you would ask whether he liked a particular dish, he would say, “I just like.” If you would ask if he wanted seconds or thirds, he would say, “What does want have to do with it?”

Wallace always enjoyed a close relationship with his brother, Maurice. Not only did they live on neighboring farms, but they shared many experiences - work, joy, sorrow, pain and pride in their posterity.

Wallace left a great heritage which his present eleven grandchildren, nineteen great grandchildren (with more on the way) and future generations can proudly bare.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Recognize any of these people?  All cousins.  If any are labeled wrong, please advise.  This pictures was taken at the funeral of Maurice Oscar Johnson. 

BACK ROW:  Max, Aldon, Earl, Delora, Kaylynn, Gayle, Keila, Dennis, Maureen, Carl, Dale
FRONT ROW:  Delmar, Edith, Miriam, LaNea, Carolyn, Phyllis, Kristen

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Posted by Carolyn J. Christensen

About 1,000 years ago a central Swedish realm began to take shape, with its core in the fertile farmlands and waterways around Lake Mälaren. By the 16th century, when Sweden became a centralized state, the country had fewer than a million inhabitants within its present-day borders.

Over a long period of history, Swedish farmers lived together in small villages with common grazing lands and allotments in common croplands. During the 18th and 19th centuries the central government implemented a major series of reforms that divided up the commons, brought together the scattered allotments of each farming family and moved their farmhouse to their “new” consolidated property.

These reforms accelerated the technical development of Swedish agriculture but also had social consequences. During the 19th century, when Sweden enjoyed peace, the population began to grow rapidly. This resulted in a large wave of migration to the expanding forestry operations and wood product industry of Norrland, to industrial jobs in Swedish urban areas, as well as abroad to the cities and prairies of North America. Over a million of the country’s inhabitants, about one/fifth of the people, emigrated during the period 1865–1914.
The ancestors of Carl and Gerda were part of the farming culture in Sweden.  Then Carl And Gerda became part of the great migration from Sweden to America.  Carl emmigrated in 1891 and Gerda left Sweden for America in 1900.