Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My Grandpa

Yesterday, November 12th, the world lost and heaven gained an amazing person, my Grandpa Jerald Johansen.  He passed away in his hot tub.  If there were any place on earth that would be fitting - it would be that hot tub.  He got in it every single day and Grandma says it (and his regular exercise) kept him living.  He was happy and healthy, but I guess God has a higher plan for him. 

I know of no other person on earth that lived life to the fullest like he did. In my eyes, his life was as close to perfect as they come.  He served a mission in South Africa, married my sweet grandma in the Manti Temple, raised 6 wonderful children, taught institute at Weber State, was a tour guide for Church History sites, and served a mission to Connecticut with my grandma. He continued to travel the world and blew us all away by how often he and my grandma would travel.  I swear every single month they were in a new country.  Even this weekend, they had a Mexican Riviera cruise planned and he had made a down payment on yet another trip this year.  He visited all 7 continents and too many countries and states to count.  

He loved his family. He loved God. He loved the gospel. He loved speaking about his testimony. He loved teaching. He loved telling stories. He loved being a missionary.  He loved traveling and learning. 

He exemplified "Come what may and love it." Even with diabetes, a bad back, and numb feet, he didn't let it slow him down. He taught us to enjoy the journey and look for the positive. 

I always knew my grandpa loved me.  He would always greet me with a big smile and a warm hug.  My whole life, I knew he was proud of me and loved me.  I knew he cared and prayed for me daily.  He was interested in me and would ask Ben and me questions about our lives, the kids, and Ben's work.  Ben loved to play Rook with Grandma and him. We would always laugh so much; laugh at funny Grandma and at competitive Grandpa who would always get set for bidding 180 points. 

Such a handsome man.

His amazing family (my Uncle Blake, Uncle Mark, Aunt Diane, my mom, Grandpa and Grandma, little  Aunt Laura, and Uncle Alan).

He took our whole family, all of our cousins and aunts and uncles, to Nauvoo to the church history sites.  Such amazing memories of him teaching us and baring his testimony to us at our young ages. 

Grandpa and Grandma came to everything. They came to every baptism, every birthday party (even Claire and Alex's), every wedding, endowment, scouting event, graduation... they were a part of their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren's lives. 

Holding Claire for the first time:

Claire's 1st birthday party:

My grandparents are full of life. They would swing, jump on the tramp, email and text, ride the rides at Disneyland with us, and even get in the swimming pools and bounce balls off their heads:)

Some of my favorite childhood memories will be with my grandpa. We would walk over a hill by their house to the gas station for candy bars with him. The hill seemed like a mountain to us and it was such a fun adventure.  We would play old board games, eat Creamies from their freezer, and play in their playhouse out back (coolest playhouse to us in the world).

Anna's wedding:

Claire's second birthday party:

They came to the hospital to see Alex and me when he was born.  
I am so grateful to have such amazing Priesthood holders in my life and my children's life. He was able to participate in the blessing of Claire and Alex.  What a gift. 

Christmas party last year:

Raquel's wedding:

Claire's 3rd birthday party:

We were so blessing to be able to celebrate my grandma and grandpa's 80th birthday party and 50th wedding anniversary at the Joseph Smith Memorial building this year, on August 6th.  It was such a special time together, with pictures, stories, memories and tributes to him and his life with my grandma. 

Look at this good-looking group, all thanks to him and Grandma.

 Grandchildren (most of them):

Nick and Mo's wedding in California:

Tomorrow is my grandma's birthday.  What a sweet, wonderful woman. 

I am so sad for my grandma, but so happy for my grandpa.  So happy that he is with Jared and his family. I can only imagine his excitement to be where he is and doing the work he will be doing.  My grandma is the strongest woman I know. She will be taken care of and he will be with her the whole way. What a blessing it is to have these people in my life, caring about me and rooting for me on both sides now.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord's church on this earth. It holds the full truth and Priesthood power. I know it and love it and am excited to see my grandpa again. 'Till we meet again, Grandpa J.  I love you. 


Lindsay said...

I'm very sorry for your loss. What a truly wonderful life he lived. You are blessed to have had him as your grandfather.

Nades said...

Love you my friend! I know how hard this moment is, but thankfully we have knowledge of the plan of salvation... we were both blessed to have wonderful grampa's ;) i hope that they meet in heaven and become friends :) xox

Unknown said...

My dad, Dean Baxter, also served in South Africa in the early 50s. When was your grandpa there? My number is 760-214-0207. Great job on this memoir. He must have been something really special!