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George Walter Johnson Sr.

(May 10, 1923 - April 3, 2014)

George Walter Johnson died April 3, 2014, just short of his 91st birthday at the Park View Care Center in Billings, Mont. He died of natural causes.

George was born May 10, 1923, in Burlington, where he grew up, a son of Levi and Olive (Dustin) Johnson and a descendent of Mormon pioneer heritage. He was one of 11 children in the family.

When he turned 18 years old during World War II, he joined the Navy, serving as a cook. It was while in the Navy that he met and married Elsie Margaret Westerman. Eight children were born to that union, and the couple later divorced. He later married Eleanor Oxley, and they resided in Billings until retirement, when they settled in Burlington.

George received training as a Navy cook. He related that during his training in cook school, he would begin each day with a clean, white apron. As each day of training progressed, he would notice that his apron would get progressively more soiled, and at the same time, he also noticed how the other cooks in training never got their aprons nearly so soiled, which concerned him a bit. But, he also noticed how he received promotions at an ever-increasing rate over his fellow student cooks. After the Navy, he continued to share his natural cooking talents with his family throughout his life.

George took up truck driving after leaving the Navy and retired from that with a perfect accident-free record. Upon retirement in Burlington, he took up raising a few small farm animals, gardening, fishing, was an avid reader, enjoyed playing cards and watching his favorite TV shows, and of course, gathering his family around to enjoy his cooking and barbecues.

George lived under the care of his daughter Elizabeth for the last few years of his life. He was a life-long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and raised his large family to attend church regularly. He had a testimony of the gospel and passed that spiritual heritage on to many of his posterity as well as his extended family members on wife Elsie’s side.

He was preceded in death by his parents, wife Eleanor, sons George Jr. of Billings and Richard Johnson of Rifle, Colo.; step-daughter Kay Tillberg of Sandpoint, Idaho, two grandsons, Michael Johnson of Arizona and Ryan Carpenter of Powell; a great-granddaughter; brothers Merle Johnson, Leonard Johnson, Chancy Johnson of Burlington; sisters Erma Baggs of Utah, Ivy Caton of Laurel, Mont., and Myra Morris of Cody.

He is survived by sons Les Johnson (Kelly) of Camas, Wash.; Leonard Johnson (Georgia) of Cedar City, Utah; Stan Johnson (Lisa), of Chicago, Ill.; daughters Elizabeth Jones of Billings, Mont.; Marilyn Carpenter of Bridger, Mont.; Phyllis Hughes (Larry) of Phoenix, Ariz.; step-daughters Lee Barfuss (Dale) of Sandpoint, Idaho; Dee Holzer of Sandpoint, Idaho, and Joyce Jenkins (Jim) of Billings; brothers Bernard Johnson (Inez) of Rifle, Colo., Carl Johnson (Midge) of Powell; sisters Laura DePriest (Dale) of Missouri, Ruth Dohse of Cody; 28-plus grandchildren and step-grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.

Funeral services took place April 12 at the LDS Chapel in Burlington, followed by interment at the Burlington cemetery.

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