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JAY JOHNSON

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JAY JOHNSON Obituary
Jay O Johnson 1924 ~ 2010 Jay O Johnson, a native of Heber City, Utah, died on June 12, 2010 in his home in West Valley City, Utah, surrounded by his family.He was 85 years of age. Born July 16, 1924, he was the sixth child of Andrew Ralph Johnson and Sarah Luella (Cummings) Johnson. He was preceded in death by his parents; by his sister, Atha; by his brothers, Fay and Rex; and by his son-in-law, Ray Lee. He is survived by his adoring wife, Theda A Carlile Johnson; by two sisters, Mae and Nona; by his children, Anna Lee; Jeanine Ehat (Stephen); Linda Bytheway (David); Kevin Johnson (Holly); and Mathew Carlile (Carrie); and by 17 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. He also is survived by a grateful nation. Called up to duty in World War II in June of 1943, he served as a tail gunner in a B-24, fighting with the 98th Bomb Group. Assigned to attack Hitler's main source of fuel, the oil fields of Ploesti (in Rumania), his group flew out of Lecce, Italy, on missions of extraordinary danger. Outside of Berlin, Ploesti was the most fortified target in Europe. Flying in the tail turret of his group's B-24, Jay's life expectancy during combat was calculated at 18 seconds. He outlived that experience, though for the rest of his life he would carry a knee wound suffered during a direct hit on the turret by enemy fire. Jay would later be awarded the Purple Heart. His darling Theda had waited for his return. Married in the Salt Lake Temple on October 24, 1945, theirs was the first wedding reception in Wasatch County after the War. Their love affair would continue for almost 65 years. Jay was the first mail carrier in Heber City, walking 15 miles a day and carrying up to 50 pounds of mail. Because of his knee injury, he transferred to the Salt Lake Valley, where he continued as a mail clerk and where he and Theda raised their young family. A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints his whole life, Jay served faithfully in many callings. Jay leaves an example and legacy of love and devotion that his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will cherish and revere. Funeral services will be held at 12:00 noon on Thursday, June 17, 2010, at the meetinghouse of the Valley View Ward of the Salt Lake Hunter South Stake, 5180 West 4700 South, West Valley City, Utah. Viewings will occur there from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 16, 2010 and from 10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2010. Interment with military honors will be at the Heber City Cemetery in Heber City, Utah at about 4:00 p.m. on Thursday.

Published in Deseret News on June 15, 2010
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