Sarah Lucille Keppner Johnson, 91, passed away Saturday, March 2, 2013, at The Gables Assisted Living Center in Idaho Falls.
Lucille was born August 18, 1921, in Hibbard, Idaho, the third of nine children born to Lehi Arthur and Mary Ella Statham Keppner. Her siblings include Dorla, Mona, Genevieve, Karl, Billie, Jean, Dawn and Coralyn. She had a happy home life, enjoying many camping and huckleberry outings. In her early years and because the family was mostly girls, Lucille worked hard in the fields and milking cows.
Lucille attended elementary school in Hibbard and graduated from Madison High School. She then attended nursing school at the Idaho Falls LDS Hospital and graduated as a registered nurse.
She married Kurt L. Johnson in the Salt Lake City Temple on October 7, 1942. Since Kurt was serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II, he had to leave that same day to return to his base in California, and she returned to finish her nurses training in Idaho Falls.
After being reunited, she followed her husband from base to base and found work as a nurse in Phoenix, Arizona; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Glendale, Burbank and Point Arena, California.
When World War II ended, the couple moved back to Idaho Falls, where they lived with Kurt's parents for a short time before moving to a farm on East River Road. Their home was so remote, they were without electricity, indoor plumbing or telephone service for several years. The home was later moved closer to the main road so they could enjoy such "luxuries." Lucille worked as a nurse for many years. She worked in Labor and Delivery at the Idaho Falls LDS Hospital for 10 years, assisting in the deliveries of hundreds of babies. She was then promoted to House Supervisor. She was the first In-Service coordinator and set up the original Crash Carts and Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) teams.
One of the favorite phases of her nursing career was being an instructor for Ricks College nursing students. She helped in the planning of and was the first Director of Nursing at the LDS Hospital Nursing Home. She retired in 1979. She took several elderly parents and neighbors into her home to personally care for them. Her tender, gentle ways helped heal and comfort countless individuals.
Her husband, Kurt, served in the Idaho House of Representatives for 18 years, and she enjoyed her association with the Legisladies. She was also an active member of Republican Women for several years.
Lucille was a devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in each auxiliary: MIA teacher, Primary president, Relief Society counselor and in numerous other callings. She and her husband served three LDS missions together -- one in Johannesburg, South Africa, and two at the Family History Center in Salt Lake City.
Her interests included getting to know people, writing, quilting, gardening, family history, cooking, reading, bargain shopping and spending time with her large family. She was a gracious hostess and her home was the gathering place where countless memories were made by family and friends. She had a great sense of humor, and April Fools' Day was one of her favorite days of the year.
In failing health, Lucille moved to Fairwinds Assisted Living in 2002, and then to The Gables in August 2012, where she passed away. The kind and loving care given to her in these facilities will always be appreciated.
Survivors include her children, Jerry (Leora) Johnson, Jean (Morris) Benson, Sonya (Bill) Pearson, David (Audrey) Johnson and Don (Michelle) House, all of Idaho Falls, Cliffie Johnson (daughter-in-law) of Heber City, Utah, Cecelia (Vaughn) Benson of Logan, Utah, Siri (Randy) Holman of Casper, Wyoming, and Glen (Kimberly) Johnson of Falls Church, Virginia; Ron Sitting Up, Harold Sitting Up, Steve Creger and Gary Harris also became part of the family; sisters, Mona Jensen of Rexburg, Billee (Jim) Thompson of Seattle and Jean Cook of Gooding, Idaho; brothers-in-law, Grant and Sherwood Johnson, both of Idaho Falls; a sister-in-law, Margit Blomquist of Salt Lake City; 48 grandchildren; 86 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.
Lucille was preceded in death by her husband, Kurt; her son, Clinton; two grandchildren, Aaron Benson and Sasha Andersen; sisters, Dola England, Genevieve Smith, Dawn Benson and Coralyn Murphy; and a brother, Karl Keppner.
Lucille will be remembered as a warm and devoted mother, grandmother, nurse and neighbor who enriched the lives of all who were blessed to know her.
Funeral services will be at noon Saturday, March 9, at the Idaho Falls LDS 19th Ward, 3370 N. Fifth West, with Brother Charles R. Olsen conducting. The family will visit with friends from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, March 8, at Coltrin Mortuary, 2100 First St. in Idaho Falls, and from 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Saturday at the church. Burial will be in Fielding Memorial Park Cemetery.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.coltrinmortuary.com.