Clifford Edward Johnson
1947 ~ 2017

Clifford Edward Johnson was born January 16, 1947to Alta Marie Martin and Floyd Elwood Johnson in Palo Alto, California, and passed away May 19, 2017 in Orem, Utah.

Cliff grew up in Palo Alto, California, sometimes working for his father in his gas station. In 1963 he went bowling with his best friend Matt Hessemans and asked for the lane next to two girls. One of those girls was Mary Jeanne McGiven, whom he would eventually marry. He graduated from Cubberly High School in Palo Alto in 1964 and was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1965. Cliff and Mary Jeanne were married July 1, 1966.

Cliff and Mary Jeanne had their first child, Paul, in 1967, and took him to the temple in Salt Lake City to be sealed as a family. Cliff and Mary Jeanne then raised their growing family in San Jose, California, where their children Jeanna (1969), David (1973), Carrie (1975) and Matthew (1977) were born. Cliff was transferred to Utah in 1981, living first to Orem, then Sandy, Utah from 1981 through 1984. In 1984, Cliff had one of the most difficult trials of his life when Mary Jeanne developed complications from her pregnancy with their sixth child, Amy. Those complications became life threatening, and while Mary Jeanne recovered after much prayer, fasting and divine intervention, he said of the experience that “through all of this I have come to realize how much I love Mary Jeanne and how much I need her.”

After Mary Jeanne’s health improved and after Amy’s birth, Cliff transferred back to San Jose, returning to the same home they had left. Four of Cliff’s children served missions and all six were sealed in LDS temples. Cliff also served in a variety of callings in the LDS church, including as bishop of the San Jose South Stake’s Parkview Ward from 1997 to 2002. He loved his congregation deeply.

During this period Cliff was diagnosed as having very early stage cancer. He underwent surgery, which gave him an extension of his life and allowed him to see the birth of his grandchildren.

Cliff and Mary Jeanne returned to Utah (Highland) to be nearer to children and grandchildren in 2007 and he retired from his position as a purchasing agent with Wyle/Arrow Electronics in 2011. Upon his retirement, Cliff resolved to do something meaningful with his time. Because of the early start of his family, he had begun working full time before he had an opportunity to finish college, so decided to complete his education. He applied multiple times to his dream school, Brigham Young University, and was rejected three separate times. After attending classes at BYU’s Salt Lake extension to show he could maintain an excellent college GPA, and after many calls and letters to the admissions counselors, Cliff was finally admitted and completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2014, 50 years after graduating from High School. An article was published about this achievement in his college magazine and republished on the BYU’s homepage (

The hallmarks of Cliff’s life were his quick sense of humor, his love for Mary Jeanne and his love of his Savior, Jesus Christ. He was an example to all who knew him of how to treat one’s spouse and how to remain faithful to his testimony to the end. As he approached the end of his life his main concern was to make sure Mary Jeanne was cared for and to make sure all his children knew he had a firm testimony of the reality of the restored gospel available in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His love for his family and his acceptance of the gospel at a young age and his faithfulness to it to the end will be his legacy.

Cliff is survived by his mother, Alta Marie Shelton, his wife Mary Jeanne Johnson, and his six children (with spouses), Paul (Renee) Johnson, Jeanna (Harold) Nichols, David (Jill) Johnson, Carrie (Jeff) Minert, Matthew (Julie) Johnson and Amy (Justin) Cote, as well as 19 grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 at 11:00 am at the Highland 23rd LDS Ward Chapel, 10962 North 6400 West, Highland, Utah. A viewing will be held from 9:30 to 10:30 am at the church prior to services. Interment will be at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park in Salt Lake City.

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