March 7, 1955 - February 22, 2021
Nila Jo Johnson (“Mamma,” “Meemaw,” or “Momma Jo”) passed away February 22, 2021, and if you’re not heartbroken about that news, it just means you never got the chance to love her. And if you didn’t love her, that’s only because you didn’t know her. And if you didn’t know her… well… Let me give you an idea. Mamma was raised in Highland, Utah, by her parents (who preceded her in death): Josephine Sarah Johnson and Nile Riding Johnson - an actual, real life cowboy. So she was raised tough, and she grew up wild. Actually... she never really grew up. She carried a childlike sense of passion and awe with her throughout her whole life, as any cowgirl should. She was at home out in nature, she loved God with her whole soul, and she never knew when to quit - for better or for worse. She was imperfect, but she was beautiful. She was all the best things about being human. Mamma’s passion for life was contagious and inspiring. She danced and played through her years, belted Celine Dion at the top of her lungs (as you should), and never backed down from a number of physically demanding sports - biking, skiing, running, hiking, and raising six children: Mike (McKell) Bills, Nigel (Kelli) Tandy, Chase (Nichole) Tandy, Devan (Taylor) Tandy, Breque (Ryan) Galbraith, and Shealise (Bryan) Groesbeck. She made it a priority to play in the first snowfall of the year, every year, even if that meant waking up in the middle of the night to do so. She never hesitated to jump into a puddle or splash through one in her car, and wasn’t afraid to dance in the rain or go late night sledding or skiing with her grandchildren. Eighteen grandchildren. And one great grandson. That’s 380 fingers and toes to kiss, for anyone who’s counting. And she was. She never missed a moment. She was there for their births, for their baby blessings, for commencements and graduations. For mission call openings, farewells, and homecomings. For military graduations and visits on leave. For birthday parties. For temple ordinances. For every. single. holiday - with a distinct, holiday-specific outfit, and a perfectly themed greeting card, always with a hand-written note expressing her endless love. Let’s not even mention the holiday themed wreaths and decor, and the seasonal voicemail greetings, which always began with a happy, “Hello-Hello!” Yeah, holidays were sacred to Mamma, and she wouldn’t do them halfway. Green milk for St. Patrick’s day, elaborate Easter egg painting and hunting, Cornish game hens and warm new jammies for Christmas. Life was a party to Mamma, and she took every opportunity to celebrate. But the very best thing about Mamma was how deeply she loved - without judgment or expectation. She was everyone’s number one fan, incredibly nurturing, with an endless supply of empathy. It never mattered what path your life followed, she was genuinely excited for you and would support in any way possible. She spent many years of her life serving troubled youth at Heritage. She would spend late nights searching for those that had run away. She would worry, but she never judged. She understood as well as anyone that life is hard, and sometimes we fall short of who we want to be. She truly emulated her beloved Savior, Jesus Christ, in that way. Even now, we feel her compassion and love as we remind ourselves that we don’t have to be perfect to be the sunlight in someone’s life. Your worth is not measured by your ability to sing on key. You don’t have to cook gourmet meals for your family every night… or any night, for that matter. You don’t have to have a clean house. You can buy a new composition book for every class or meeting you ever have, and only take two pages of notes and never use it again. And hey, don’t ever feel bad if your car is a little over-cluttered (or a lot). Tupperware might not belong in your back seat. But at least it’s there if someone ever needs it. Those things don’t matter in the long run. What matters is that our people know that we love them. And sometimes, all that takes is to just sit with them after a long day and let them listen to your heartbeat. So, though you might have missed your chance to meet our Mamma in this life, you’ll want to be sure to find her in the next. Maybe you can run into her laughing with her brother Doug and her sister Elaine. Or maybe you’ll catch her doing a handstand on an inner tube. Who knows. Either way, I’m sure you’ll just absolutely adore her. I know I did. We will be celebrating the life of Nila Jo on March 6, 2021 from 12-2:30pm at 5378 W. Old Highway Road in Morgan, Utah. The celebration will be open house style, with Mamma’s favorite food and music.
Nila Jo Johnson (“Mamma,” “Meemaw,” or “Momma Jo”) passed away February 22, 2021, and if you’re not heartbroken about that news, it just means you never got the chance to love her. And if you didn’t... View Obituary & Service Information
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