Friday, April 5, 2013

The Mission of Elijah

“Many of your ancestors died never having the chance to accept the gospel and to receive the blessings and promises you have received. The Lord is fair and He is loving. And so He prepared for you and me a way for us to have the desire of our hearts to offer to our ancestors all the blessings He has offered us.

“The plan to make that possible has been in place from the beginning. The Lord gave promises to His children long ago. …

'Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:

'And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse' (Malachi 4:5-6).”

—Henry B. Eyring, “Hearts Bound Together,” Ensign, May 2005


Friday, March 29, 2013

Elizbuth Melinda Somers

Today is Elizbuth Melinda Somers' birthday. She is my paternal grandmother and was born on March 29, 1892 in Willow Creek, Utah. You can see pictures of her life and read her personal history on Family Tree which can be found at

Monday, March 18, 2013

Oliver Guy Johnson--Part Eight

"Oh!  My Papa" was Oliver's favorite song.  Ollie Jean Johnson Sorensen, Oliver's daughter, would often sing it to him.  It was sung at his funeral.

Lyrics by Eddie Fisher

Oh, my pa-pa, to me he was so wonderful
Oh, my pa-pa, to me he was so good
No one could be, so gentle and so lovable
Oh, my pa-pa, he always understood.

Gone are the days when he could take me on his knee
And with a smile he'd change my tears to laughter

Oh, my pa-pa, so funny, so adorable
Always the clown so funny in his way
Oh, my pa-pa, to me he was so wonderful
Deep in my heart I miss him so today.

Here is a link to a You Tube audio recording of Eddie Fisher singing this song that Oliver liked so much .

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Oliver Guy Johnson--Part Seven

Letter From Mae Jensen

January 10, 1970


Dear Sister Johnson,

We were so sorry that we were unable to see you at the Mortuary, but we were in Salt Lake that Sunday. The service Monday was certainly a beautiful tribute to a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and neighbor.

Of course we shall always remember you folks, because it was your property that we built our home on.  You have always been such good neighbors. One particular trait Bro Johnson had I really liked and that was from the first time we moved into the Ward, he always addressed me with a genuine handshake a broad smile and called me by my first name “Mae.”

I have admired the closeness and love your children have had for both of you.  The great concern they expressed publically when Bro. Johnson was ill. Not only your own sons and daughter, but the love that Jessie Lou and Gloria has expressed for you has been a real inspiration to me.  I would like nothing better than to have the love and acclaim throughout my life of my in-laws that I have seen displayed among all of you.  That is true love.

I was much impressed at our Christmas party watching Brent helping you on with your coat.  Little things, but it is the little things that really make life worth living.  I have also watched your grandchildren snuggle up close to you and Bro. Johnson in church, and their look of love and confidence they would give you, and you in return, your little squeeze on the knee, or act of affection to them.  (I’ve seen a lot of human drama sitting on the stand these many years), and I’ve seen tears of joy in your eyes as your grandchildren pre­formed--I’m thinking particularly of the night J.D. gave that talk.  Such a lot of respect and love he paid all of you.

Brother Johnson has surely given these sons and grandsons a “good name” to carry on--and they will.  I have certainly admired Nyman’s devotion and respect to both of you.

Whenever I hear the song “Oh My Papa,” I shall always think of the Johnsons. Never have I heard it sung so meaningful as the day of the funeral.  It seems it was just composed and sung for that very special occasion.

Sister Johnson, please accept our heartfelt sympathy.  We shall all miss your dear husband, but we also want you to know just how much both of you have contributed happiness in our lives, but setting such a good example of an L.D.S. family and being such good neighbors.

Sincerely, Mae Jensen

Next Installment: "Oh! My Papa"

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Oliver Guy Johnson---Part Six

Oliver Johnson Obituary

Oliver Guy Johnson, 76, died Friday of natural causes.

He was born May 19, 1893, in Logan, a son of James Christen and Mary Hansen Johnson. He married Vilate Nyman of North Logan April 25, 1917, in the Logan Temple.

Mr. Johnson received his education in Logan City schools, at Brigham Young College and Utah State University. He was called into military service in the First World War in October, 1917 and trained at Fort Lewis, Washington, and Camp Kearney, California. He was serving in France with the 145th Artillery when the armistice was signed.

He homesteaded in Blue Creek, Box Elder County, and was a farmer and cattleman throughout his lifetime. For seventeen years he was secretary of the Logan Canyon Cattle Association and he also served as a director for six years, vice-president two years and president for ten years. He also served as a director of the Cache County Cattle Association for five years and the Utah Cat­tleman’s Association for six years. He had been a member of the American Legion Post No. 7 for thirty years.

He was an active High Priest in Logan 16th Ward, Cache LDS Stake.

As a man, Mr. Johnson loved the out-of-doors. In his early life, he worked logging winter and summer in Logan Canyon and also worked on the early hor­sepower threshing machines where he measured the grain. He was invited by the State Department to participate in an agricultural exchange tour to the U.S.S.R. and Europe.

Survivors  include  his  wife, Logan; the following children: Nyman Oliver, James Warren, J. Reed, Mrs. W. Karl (Beth) Somers, all of Logan; Mrs. E. Blaine (Ollie Jean) Sorensen, San Bernardino, Calif.; Carl Guy of Renton, Wash.; 22 grandchildren and one great ­grandchild, all of whom spent Christmas at the family home on his request.

He is also survived by the following brothers and sisters: Mrs. Hilda J. Roskelley, Smith-field; Mrs. Pearl J. Carter, Black Mountain, North Carolina; Mrs. Russell E. (Clara) Berntsen, Logan; Milton L. Johnson, Tremonton.

Funeral services will be held Monday at 12 noon in the Logan 15th-16th Ward.

Friends may call at the Nelson Memorial Funeral Chapel this evening from 7 to 9 o’clock  and Monday from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Next installment: Letter from Mae Jensen

Friday, March 15, 2013

Oliver Guy Johnson--Part Five

Nyman Johnson’s Post Script

In 1969, when Jeanie and Carl were home in the summer, Dad had ask them about coming home for Christmas this year. Their children had never been in Logan at Christmas time. He wanted to have the whole family at home this Christmas time, and they did come. A wonderful time we all had too. Right from the time they started to arrive, first Jeanie and her family came from San Bernardino, then Carl and his family came from Seattle, and with them came J.D. who was stationed at Fort Lewis, Washington.

We were all very busy all day of Christmas Eve, getting all the things done for the party that night. We had ham to bake and slice, rolle-poulse to slice, cream puffs to bake and fill, potato salad, cabbage and shrimp salad to fix, and oyster soup to make. All too soon it was 6:30 and time for the party to start and here came all the family home for it, all thirty-seven of them, to Grandpa and Grandma Johnsons for Christmas. My were the little ones excited. We did have fun and Grandpa most of all. He had all his family at home. After we were full and had more than we could eat, we had a short program from the grandchildren. Then who should knock at the door but Santa Claus himself. He came in and visited with each one and had a small gift for the children. When things had quieted down a bit from his visit, we opened all the gifts that were under the big tree in the corner. This was the time when all the Grandchildren got excited and it was no exception this year. Soon it was time to get the children home to their beds so Santa could come.

Christmas morning bright and early we were all at it again. Grandma and Grandpa made all the rounds of the different houses to see what Santa had left. Sure enough he had been to each home. We had dinner again at Grandpa and Grandma Johnsons. The Johnsons were known for eating parties.

On Friday, the 26th of December, we took all the kids up to the sinks in Logan Canyon to play in the snow. It was cold and the wind was blowing but they all played in the snow, young and old. They used plastic, inner tubes, and all such things to slide down the hills. My they had fun. It was the first time in the snow for some of them. After we got home and changed clothes and warmed up, we all went to Reed and Gloria’s for a chili supper. It was good. We went down stairs to the family room and had a sing along and then showed slides of the family from the time the grandchildren were small. About 10:00 p.m. it was time to go home. Grandpa left us and walked upstairs by himself. No more than five minutes later, one of the youngsters called that something was wrong with Grandpa. By the time we got upstairs to him, he was at peace with the world and with his God.

He had his family all home for his last Christmas and he enjoyed it so much, right up to the very end. He must of had this all planned and it worked out as he wanted it to.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Oliver Guy Johnson--Part Four

Later Years and Travels

In 1947, I was ordained a High Priest on April 27, by Ambrose Call, who was ordained a High Priest by Joseph E. Cardon, who was ordained a High Priest by Rudger Clausen, who was ordained a High Priest by Wilford Woodruff, who was ordained a High Priest by David Witmer, who was ordained a High Priest by Martin Harris, who was ordained a High Priest by Joseph Smith, who was ordained a High Priest by Peter, James and John.

Oliver and Vilate (about 1958)

Oliver and Vilate, (California, 1958)

Oliver and Vilate with Brent, Michael, and Linda Somers (California, 1958)

In June of 1962, Vilate and I went with Jim and Jessie and Vicky and J. D. to Seattle and to the World’s Fair. This was of course the first World’s Fair that we had ever seen, so we took it all in and really enjoyed it. We stayed with Nyman and Carl and Roberta. They were all living up there at that time. 1962 was the year for trips I guess. We also took a trip to Hawaii. Vilate and I, along with Melvin and Jennie Schvaneveldt went by air and even flew to the islands in the Hawaiian group. We had such a good time and enjoyed every minute that we were gone. Hawaii is really a beautiful place and the people over there really know how to show you a good time.

On Sunday, July 28, 1962, I joined a Farmers from Utah, People to People Tour to Europe. There were 35 farmers from Utah. Uncle Rich Roskelley from Smithfield, also went on the tour. We were gone 17 days. All the details were taken care of before we left. We flew from Salt Lake to New York then to England. From there to Brussels, Belgium, and spent a couple of days visiting some of their farms. We then flew to Amsterdam, Holland, then to Moscow, Russia. We stayed at a big hotel and went out each day and visited some of their farms. We then flew down to southern Russia to a city called Krasndor and spent about three days there visiting some of their large collective farms. We then went down to a Black Sea resort for a couple of days. I went wading in the Black Sea. We then flew back to Moscow and then to Budapest, Hungary. We lived in a hotel on the banks of the Blue Danube River and spent a couple of days visiting some of their big farms. We then flew to Warsaw, Poland, and saw some of the bombed out buildings from World War II. We also visited some of their farms. We then took a bus and went to East Berlin and through the wall and into West Berlin. You could sure see the difference. The people were different and more friendly and happy, and the stores were stocked with all kinds of goods and the streets were filled with automobiles. When we went through the Berlin Wall, this was the only time we were held up to have our passports checked. We then flew to Frankfort, Germany, and then to Paris, France. We saw the sights of Paris then we flew to Brussels, Belgium. We stayed at the Plaza hotel, a bus came for us at 4:30 p.m. and picked up about two thirds of our party and we went to the L.D.S. Sacrament Meeting. It was sure a thrill and the Saints were happy to see and talk to us and make us welcome. We had to talk in the sign language, but it was the same church that we go to at home. They had one of our group, George A. Christensen talk with an interpreter. He was a Stake President and President David O. McKay was a member of his stake. He sure gave a wonderful talk.

Postcard from Oliver to Linda Somers (1962)

We then took a jet to Montreal, Canada, then to New York and on to Salt Lake City. It was a wonderful trip and when I got off the plane at the airport in Salt Lake City, there was just about all of my family to greet me, even the little ones.
In 1958, I had rented the farm and the cattle to Reed and started to receive Social Security. In 1964, I sold the farm to Reed and then I semi-retired.

In 1966, Vilate and I went with Jim and Jessie on a trip to Southern Utah. This was the first time we had ever been down there in that part of the country, other than to pass through on the train. Our first stop was at the Big Rock Candy Mountain, and that is really what it looks like. No trees or grass, just rock and every color. It really looked like candy and good enough to eat. We saw the Manti Temple for the first time. It was very beautiful and we even got a piece of rock of the kind that the Temple is made of. Then we saw Bryce Canyon. This is really something to see. We stood at the edge and looked down and out over the canyon. All you see is color and lots of color. You cannot go down into the canyon by car but have to stay at the top and look over it. There were tall pinnacles of every color in the rainbow.

We visited in St. George with Jessie’s Aunt Isabell. Then she went with us and showed us around St. George. She took us to visit Mrs. Anna Wulffenstein whose husband was a sort of relative of Vilates. Then we visited the Brigham Young winter home. This home was very beautiful and was furnished in the pioneer period. We were in the basement and saw the hooks where they would hang the cured hams and bacon. We saw clothes of Brigham Young and his hat and cane. The hat was black and flat and had a big, wide rim. We saw the Silver Reef Mine. This is nothing but a ghost town now but we could see what is left of the Wells Fargo Station. Then we took in Santa Clara and went through the home of Jacob Hamblin. This is a fine two-story house and is furnished in the pioneer period. It had lots of real fine antiques. The caretaker of the home is a granddaughter of Jacob Hamblin. On the way home we got into Salt Lake City early in the day, so we went out to Bingham Canyon and saw the open pit copper mine. This was the first time I had ever seen that and it was sure interesting. We had a wonderful time on the trip and we went over so much country that we had never seen before.

We then took a trip to Peoria, Illinois, in 1966, to visit Karl and Beth and family, who were there for the summer. Karl was working in the Caterpiller Tractor Factory for the summer. I was a guest at the factory and I saw how they make Caterpillar tractors right from the ground up. Beth and Karl showed us all the interesting places around that part of Illinois. We visited the Amish City which was very interesting. We also went to Springfield and went through the Lincoln Memorial. We visited Nauvoo and saw the Joseph Smith home, the Mansion House, the Temple site, the Brigham Young home, the Heber C. Kimball home, and the Wilford Woodruff home. We also visited the Carthage Jail. It was all so interesting to see all these places from our early church history.

Oliver and Vilate (1967)

Next installment: Nyman Johnson’s post script.