Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Uncle Glendon Johnson

My Uncle Glendon passed away this weekend. He was my dad's brother and he was 87 years old. He has been in fabulous shape all of his life until the past year or so when he had a stroke, which slowed him down a bit but about 3 weeks ago, he started getting really sick. But, it has been a great few weeks as we have been able to spend some time with him and talking with him. He had many visitors over the past couple of weeks (President Monson, Elder Nelson and others) and he would always become animated and excited to see more of his friends and family who he could talk to...it was great seeing him with my dad and his sister just talking and being there for him.

I thought over my life and Glendon played a large role in it. I started mowing his lawn and taking care of his house since I was a teenager He supported me on my mission. I got to drive his Porsche, Lancia, BMW and other cars over the years. Brodi and I had our wedding dinner at his house. We spent many holidays swimming at his pool. We spent every Thanksgiving down at his ranch for the past 15 years. Several Sundays every month, our boys got to go down to his house and drop off food with their cousins and say Hi. He truly lived a great life and will be loved and missed by all of those that have ever met him.

Glendon Johnson

Glendon Elwood Johnson
1924 ~ 2011
Glendon Elwood Johnson, 87, beloved husband, father, and grandfather, as well as noted attorney, businessman, rancher, and friend of all who knew him, passed away October 9, 2011, in Salt Lake City, Utah, surrounded by his family. He was born in Cleveland, Utah, on Feb. 19, 1924, to Ivan and Hildur Johnson.

Throughout his stellar career, people always came first, and those who were fortunate to know him in business and civic service, in church callings, or on a ranch, soon felt the embrace of a man who showed them in word and deed how much he loved them. His leadership style was to choose the best people and then give them a loose rein to do what they did best. He used to tell friends that he grew up on the back of a horse and never sold his saddle-his way of saying that despite his successes, he never left his cowboy roots behind.

Glendon attended East High School where he was editor of the school newspaper and valedictorian at his graduation in 1941. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BS degree in 1948 from the University of Utah, where he was on the championship debate team and a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. In 1973, the university awarded him their Distinguished Alumnus Award.

In World War II, Glendon attended Army Officer Candidate School and taught small arms combat before being stationed in Europe. He served a church mission to New England, and upon his return, married his college sweetheart, Bobette Heppler Peterson, in the Salt Lake Temple on Aug. 15, 1949.

Glendon attended Harvard Law School on the National Prize scholardship and, following graduation in 1952, Glendon clerked for Henri Henroid of the Utah Supreme Court. In his spare time, he helped his father break horses.

In 1954, Senator Wallace Bennett asked Glendon to come to Washington, D.C. to be his Administrative Assistant. For the next four years, Glendon worked on Capitol Hill.
In 1958, Glendon moved the family back to Salt Lake City where he joined the law firm of Ray, Rollins, Jones, and Henderson. But a year later, he returned to Washington to become vice president and general counsel of the American Life Convention of Washington D.C. This began a respected and trailblazing career in the life insurance industry that included serving as President of Great Southern Life Insurance Company in Houston, Texas; President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of American National Insurance Company in Galveston, Texas; and President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board of John Alden Life Insurance Company in Miami, Florida.
Glendon has also been President of the Health Insurance Association of America and the chairman of the Joint Committee on Social Responsibility for the Life Insurance Business. He served as Director of Waddell Reed Advisors Retirement Shares, Inc. since 1971 and was Chairman Emeritus of the Wellness Council of America.

Throughout his long career, Johnson received numerous awards for his leadership and public service. A member of the national executive board of the Boy Scouts of America, Johnson was awarded the Silver Buffalo Award, scouting's highest commendation for distinguished service to youth.

In his later years, Glendon continued his life-long love of the range as Chairman of Castle Valley Ranches, a working cattle ranch, and Castle Valley Outdoors, a hunting, wingshooting, and fishing operation in Emery, Utah.

Johnson was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and among his many church callings, he served as Stake President of the Houston Texas Stake and as a Regional Representative.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Bobette Johnson; son Glendon E. "Woody" Johnson, Jr.; daughter-in-law Page; grandchildren Jennifer Champoux (Mark); Erin Stewart (Kyle); Katie Critchfield (Matt); great-grandchildren Justin and Brooke Champoux, Ellie and Avery Stewart; sisters Joyce Taylor and Genevieve Knudsen Gowans; brothers Marvin Johnson and Franklin Johnson; and numerous loving nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his son, Eric "Shad" Johnson and his daughter, Tawny Bobette Johnson; his sister LaVerne Briggs, and brother Clifton Johnson.

Funeral services will be at noon, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011, Monument Park 16th Ward Chapel, 1320 South Wasatch Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah. Friends may visit the family at Larkin Sunset Lawn Mortuary, situated near the chapel at 2350 East 1300 South, Wednesday evening from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. They may also visit Thursday at the chapel from 10:30 to 11:40 a.m. Interment will be Friday at the Johnson Ranch in Sevier County, Utah.

Condolences may be shared at www.larkincares.com. Donations can be made in Glendon's memory to the Boy Scouts of America at www.scouting.org.


nielsons*love*family said...

sorry to hear about your uncle sam.

Brian Antonoff said...

Sam & Brodi - My name is Brian Antonoff. I had the pleasure of knowing your Uncle Glendon for 10 years while I worked in IT at John Alden Life in Miami. He was the most wonderful leader of ANY company in Corporate America that I ever had seen. He was the sort of man that when you rode the elevator in the moning with, he'd strike up a chat and actually if the conversation wasn't over step off at your floor to finish. He always took time to get to know the people in the company and there were well over a 1000 of us. I remember always talking about cars with him...when my car got stolen from the lot at John Alden I was in the garage talking with the police, when he walked over and first made sure that I was ok and then, stood there to make sure that I was going to get home ok. I was always taken back, by the way Glendon would give a speech. It was so impressive whenever we knew he was going to speak at the company it was standing room only...we all loved to hear his wisdom, and there always came a point in the speach where he would get choked up because he would call us his family and tell us he loved us...we knew he genuinely meant it. I can remeber the last time I talked with Glendon. I had been offered a really great position at another company. I saw him in the lobby a few days before my last day. I approached him to say goodbye and he said "Brian, please stop by my office before you go". I had never seen the 7th floor offices before...these were where the executives of John Alden were. The morning of my last day, he invited me in to sit on his couch, and while I don't remember his exact words - he talked to me like a father talking to a son for almost 45 minutes...I remember my last promise to him...I promised him that when I became a leader, that I would treat people in the incredible example he had given me over the decade I had known him at John Alden. I wish I could have told him how grateful I was for the example he was...it served me well. He was a great man, that I wish there were more of in this country. I wish there was a Glendon Johnson at every company in America. My heart goes out to all that were touched by him, he will always be in my memory.