Jan. 3, 2024

Sheldon Artie Johnson, age 93, of St. George, passed away peacefully on Jan. 3, 2024.  He was born in Central, Utah to Edith Qualman Johnson just 12 days after his father, Artie Nicolas Johnson’s death.

Sheldon’s mother remarried Lyman Anderson when he was three years old. They raised their two daughters and five sons in Millville, Utah. During the summer months Sheldon went back to Central, Idaho to work on the Qualman family farm. Here he learned to love the land, work hard, and play the guitar. Music resonated deep into his soul and became a passion for life.

At the age of 12, Sheldon contracted polio. He spent a year in the Primary Children’s Hospital, his parents were very poor and could only afford to visit him two times that year. He gained a strong spirit of independence and resilience which helped him pursue goals fearlessly.

His window in the hospital looked directly at Temple Square. Gazing at the Temple day after day gave him the desire to actively participate in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He had an unwavering commitment to the gospel throughout his life.

Sheldon served a full-time mission in the Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Louisiana mission. He served in many callings. He loved serving as an Elders Quorum President, Bishop, or as a teacher. He believed the words “Because I have been given much I too must give.”

He financially supported several missionaries. Teaching Gospel Doctrine came easy to him. He had several hundred scriptures memorized and could recite many until the end. At our week long Bear Lake family reunion each year, Sheldon paid every grandchild for each scripture they memorized up to 10 scriptures. Because of his love for the gospel and love for the youth in the church, he was called in his late 80’s as a young men’s leader working with boys aged 12-18. He taught by example with wisdom and love. He was a guiding light to many.

Sheldon valued education. He was one of the very few in his age group to graduate from high school. After high school he continued his education at Utah State University where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in music with a teaching degree. Although he could play almost any instrument, the trumpet was his favorite.

He was upbeat, positive, and charismatic, with a magnetic personality. When he first met the love of his life, Shirley Walker (Johnson), she said “I have been looking for you all year.” His response:  “I’ve been looking for you all my life!”  They were married June 2, 1955, in the Salt Lake Temple. Like a resilient flame that weathers life’s storms, he and Shirley created a guiding light for all their family over the next 68 years.

After college, Sheldon and Shirley moved to Fillmore, Utah where he taught Jr High and High school band. He also farmed alfalfa and raised pigs. They had four children, Stan, Stacey, Sheryl and Synthia. Money was very tight and the farm took all their resources. In order to meet the needs of their growing family they moved to Salt Lake City. He taught band at Highland High School and sold life insurance on the side.

Although music was his passion, it did not pay the bills. It wasn’t long before his tenacity and determination put him on the top in the insurance industry. Because of his unwavering commitment, in 1972 Sheldon earned a position as a New York Life Insurance Co manager and moved the family to Pocatello, Idaho.

As a manager, Sheldon was able to inspire and mentor many agents to success. He eventually opened his own Financial Planning firm and continued to great success providing a comfortable life for his family. He actively participated in several civic organizations and was a leader in the community. He loved to play his trumpet while participating as a Salvation Army coin collector at Christmas.

Sheldon made sure his family had all the comforts of life he didn’t have as a child. They traveled internationally and across the states with Bear Lake being a favorite weekend getaway. Although Sheldon didn’t ski, he made sure his children were able to spend time each year at both Park City and Grand Targhee ski resorts. He supported and encouraged each of his children and grandchildren to work hard in school, learn a musical instrument, and gain a testimony of Jesus.

Sheldon will be remembered for his success, his passion for life, his positive attitude, his determination, his generosity, his love for family, and his bad dad jokes. He leaves a legacy of kindness and warmth to all he knew, unforgettable memories, and the love of the gospel of Jesus Christ. His guiding light will continue to shine brightly.  His song will echo in our hearts.

His last night on earth he lay weakened by age and full pain on his hospital bed. His grandson asked, “How are you Grandpa?” His faint reply…” FANTASTIC!” As we say goodbye, we count ourselves blessed to have been able to sing the song of his life with him. We sing YOU ARE FANTASTIC!

Sheldon is survived by spouse Shirley Walker Johnson St George, Utah, and their children;  Stanford Artie Johnson of Salt Lake City, Utah; Stacey Austin Johnson (Iza) of Orem, Utah; Sheryl Lyn Johnson Poole (Stanley) of St George, Utah; Synthia Lea Johnson Smout (Kary) of Lexington, Virginia. One brother; Lyman Val Anderson (Marla) of Thatcher, Utah; Eleven grandchildren; and 30 great grandchildren.  

Sheldon is preceded in death by his parents; Artie Nicolas Johnson and Edith Loretta Qualman Anderson of (Millville, Utah) His sisters: Edith Joy Johnson (Central, Idaho); Aloma Aloma Johnson Hammond (Ervin) of Millville, Utah; Oma Dorine Johnson (Phoenix, Arizona).  His brothers; Leon F. Anderson (Layton, Utah); Leone Andrew Anderson (Ogden, Utah); Sidney Dean Anderson (Soda Springs, Idaho); Sylvan Wesley Anderson (Millville, Utah). Two grandchildren; Shawn Kary Smout (Lexington, Virginia); Benjamin Austin Poole (St George, Utah). 

Funeral services will be held Monday, Jan. 8, 2024, at the Snow Canyon 13th Ward Chapel. 1610 North Dixie Downs Road, in St. George, at 12:30 pm. Prior to the services, two viewings will take place.

Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, at Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 South Bluff Street, in St George, Utah, from 5 to 7 p.m. 
Monday, Jan. 7, 2024, 11:30 a.m. to noon at the Snow Canyon 13th Ward Chapel, 1610 North Dixie Downs Road, in St. George, Utah.

Interment will take place at Tonaquint Cemetery, 1777 South Dixie Drive, in St George.

The family would like to thank St. George Regional hospital and Coral Desert Rehab Center, for providing his care. They would also like to thank Snow Canyon 13th Ward for providing a family meal after the burial and the amazing support provided to Sheldon and Shirley over the last several years.

Arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S Bluff Street, St. George, Utah. 435-673-2454. Family and friends are invited to click here to leave a memory on the Spilsbury Mortuary website.