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LaVerl R. Johnson, 91, of Orem, passed away peacefully in his home on Tuesday, February 19, 2019. He was born June 28, 1927, in Pleasant Grove, Utah, to Clarence Peter Johnson and Altha Mamie Johnson. LaVerl was the second of 3 children; he loved spending time with his older brother, Dallas, and his younger sister, Jane.
From a young age, LaVerl learned the value of hard work. He frequently recalled stories of waking up before sunrise to help milk cows and complete other chores around the house. His work ethic drove him to join the U.S. Navy at the age of 16. LaVerl went to fight for our country in World War II only 3 days after turning 17. He served in the Pacific with the amphibious force as a gunner and electrician on a submarine and various tank landing ships. LaVerl loved our country; he was always proud of and honored by the opportunity to defend it. He delighted in sharing his experiences from the war. One of the most memorable moments in his service was overlooking Hiroshima just after the atomic bombings. After WWII, he served in the Chinese Civil War as an electrician and taught in electrician schools for 3 years.
After his honorable discharge from the Navy, he returned home to Pleasant Grove, Utah and pursued employment at the railroad. He also worked at Thiokol for several years, where one of his many assignments included loading nuclear missiles in silos for testing. He later retired as a conductor from both the Union Pacific and Rio Grande railroads. Though retired, LaVerl never stopped working on projects. He was frequently welding things and repeatedly constructed things from scratch, such as trailers to haul his ATVs, equipment, and tools. His nickname from a young age was “Tink,” because he was constantly tinkering with everything around him.
LaVerl loved the sunshine and would count down the days to summertime, when he would spend time with friends and family camping in his RV at the Little Sahara Sand Dunes. They spent time playing games and riding ATVs until they were covered in sand and their thumbs were exhausted from holding the throttle. In recent years, his destination of choice became his land in Fruitland, Utah, where he spent time making roads on his Cat, constructing a lake and exploring his property.
LaVerl loved to joke and entertain those around him, resulting in much joy and laughter. He had a big heart and always thought of others before himself. Those who knew him considered him a friend and ally they could count on for any help they needed. He was regarded as a father, brother, and grandfather by many he met over the years.
LaVerl was a faithful and active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. His pioneer ancestry founded his love for the gospel of Jesus Christ and service in the temple. He constantly strived to magnify his callings in the Church and at home as a Priesthood holder, husband, and father. LaVerl faithfully led his family in the gospel through his example and righteous living. Gathering for family prayer was the favorite part of his day.
LaVerl’s greatest joy was his family, who miss him dearly. He is survived by his wife, Fatima; sister-in-law, Donna Johnson (Dallas, deceased); brother-in-law, Jerry Brukiewa (Jane, deceased; Celia); three children with his first wife, Alene (deceased): Pat Johnson Marvell, Jan Johnson, Verl Johnson; one child from his present wife, Fatima: Stephanie Johnson Kaufusi (Hailame); two grandchildren: Shad Marvell (Karena), Inoke Kaufusi; three great-grandchildren: Steven Marvell, Ryan Marvell, Tyler Marvell; and three great-great-grandchildren: River Marvell, Harmonee Marvell, Sebastian Marvell. In addition, he is survived by many loving members of his extended family and friends.
Funeral Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, March 1, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints Chapel on 400 E. 400 N., Orem, UT. Viewings will be held from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, February 28, at Sundberg-Olpin Mortuary, 495 S. State Street, Orem, UT and 9:30-10:30 a.m. Friday, prior to the services at the church. Burial will be at the Orem City Cemetery. Condolences may be expressed to the family on this page.