Tuesday, August 4, 2020


Moab, UT

93.9 F

    Vion LaVern Johnston, 1934-2019

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    Vion LaVern Johnston

    Vion LaVern Johnston was born in Cisco, Utah, (yes, Cisco) on July 22, 1934. He was the second of four children born to Wayne and Edith Johnston, the family remained in Cisco until 1939 when they moved to Price, but continued to herd cattle on their land in Castleton and the Fish Ford area.

    Vion attended school in Price, but he was never really good at it. He always had better things to do and was often pulled out of class to help the family herd cattle and work the auction yard his father owned. He eventually became a talented auctioneer himself. To hear him tell it, it was not his numerous absences that held him back in the fifth grade, it was simply that the teacher wanted him to help teach the other children.

    In the early 1950s, the family went to live in the Yellowcat area and mined for Uranium. Before leaving Price he met Colleen Carol Cottrell, who lived in Wellington and they fell in love. Eventually, at their secret meeting place under a tree that still stands next to the old road at the Emery and Carbon county line in the Woodside Junction area, Vion proposed.

    Vion LaVern Johnston

    The “Kissing Tree” is still a family icon. In June of 1953 they were married in Green River and moved into a one-room cabin in Yellowcat. In 1954, they began their family. Their first son, Dwayne, was born in Price. When Dwayne was a toddler they moved to Green River. In 1957, they joyfully welcomed their second son, Scott, who was also born in Price. A couple of years later the family moved to Moab.

    Vion’s greatest joy was driving big trucks. He went to work for McFarland and Hullinger Trucking. In 1965, they were blessed with their daughter, Colette, born in Moab. Vion quickly become the foreman of the Moab operations and went on to be the manager until he retired 41 years later. He and Colleen enjoyed the first year of his retirement traveling on his Gold Wing motorcycle. Colleen became ill and passed away November 1996.

    Vion loved to hunt on the deserts surrounding Moab. Many of the best family memories are camping, hunting, fishing and rock hounding. Vion always had a Dutch oven meal and a shot of whiskey ready for anyone who wondered into camp. Mostly Vion was known for his huge laugh, his rib-cracking bear hugs and his amazing gentle and kind heart.

    His older brother began calling him “Honey” when he was just a small boy and continued to do so all his life. When asked why, his brother said, “Because he is the kindest, most compassionate man I have ever known. He doesn’t have a mean bone in his body.”

    Vion passed away Sept. 2, 2019. He is survived by his daughter-in-Law, Janaffer Johnston (partner, Matt Keogh); son, Scott Vion Johnston (wife, CC Johnston); Daughter, Colette Carol Johnston (partner, Tom Cox); grandchildren, Traykon Johnston (wife, Ashley Johnston); Terill Johnston (wife, Jennifer Johnston); Stacy Johnston, Alisa Morgan, Shenna Johnston-Burch (husband, Chuck Burch); great grandchildren, Tegan, Talen, Jaycee, Henley, Tyler, Jaren, Brynlee, Makel, Bryce, Lincoln, Davin, Bodie and Taylee; siblings, Von (Lorraine) Johnston, Valynda (Muggs) Clark and Vonna (Martin) Hamaker. He had an extended family that numbers too many to mention.

    He was preceded in death by his parents, Wayne and Edith Johnston; wife, Colleen Cottrell Johnston; and beloved son, Dwayne.

    Of all of his many, many attributes his joyfulness and huge sense of humor will be missed the most.

    The family wishes to thank the staff at the Ashford Memory Care center in Springville, Wheeler Mortuary Services, and all the dear friends and family who have offered support and condolences.

    Services were held Friday Sept. 6, 2019. Internment took place at the Grand Valley Cemetery.

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