Johnnie was born April 29, 1920, in Moab, Utah. She spent her childhood swimming in the Colorado River, riding horses between Moab and her beautiful La Sal Mountains. After her high school graduation, she attended St. Joseph’s Nursing School in Denver, Colo. While completing her training in Grand Junction, she met her future husband, Joe de Blaquiere – the postman. She had intended to follow her love to Panama, but World War II intervened. They married in June 1942 and she followed Joe to San Francisco, where Joe entered the U.S. Navy. The American Red Cross had started a blood bank and needed nurses. Johnnie was the eighth nurse hired and her skills quickly made her a valuable employee. She loved San Francisco, mainly because of all the world dignitaries and celebrities she met drawing blood.
After the war, Johnnie and Joe returned to Grand Junction and started a family. Joe wanted to be a farmer instead of a postman. He soon realized he wanted to farm in Idaho. In 1952, they moved their young family to Blackfoot. They would move one more time, in 1958, to Rupert, Idaho, acquiring land as part of the Homestead Act.
The first year, Johnnie’s strength of character was called upon as Joe had a malarial relapse. She and her young sons had to perform the first planting of the crops and farmed until Joe was well enough to take the helm.
Johnnie lived in Rupert for 44 years, helping her husband farm and raising her four children. As they became more independent, she pursued what became her greatest loves after her family – golf and bridge. Golf became a family affair, which is being passed on to subsequent generations.
In 1996, Johnnie’s beloved Joe died of cancer. In 2000, she lost her first-born son, Joe Jr., to cancer. That fall, Johnnie returned to Moab, Utah, to be close to her own brother and sister. In 2009, declining health required her to move to Grand Junction, Colo. She spent her final years enjoying her nieces, Mary Prather and Eileen O’Toole, and longtime friends.
Johnnie is survived by three of her four children, Gary, Patricia Sudick (Todd) and Judy Schlicher (Jeff); her sister, Berdene Gramlich; grandchildren; great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews; grand-nieces and grand-nephews; great-grand-nieces and great-grand-nephews; and many friends she has made throughout her life.
As per her request, there will be no services. Remembrances can be given in Johnnie’s name to Hospice of Grand Junction and Catholic Outreach of Grand Junction.