Christian 03

Cleo Johnson

September 16, 1933 ~ January 26, 2020 (age 86)


(Mona) Cleo Johnson
September 16, 1933--January 26, 2020
His banner over me is love…
...and underneath are the everlasting arms.
Song of Solomon 2:4 and Deuteronomy 33:37

Mona “Cleo” Johnson, age 86, passed away peacefully at her home on Sunday, January 26, 2020. Cleo was the sixth of ten children born to Winnie and Fletch Glazner on September 16, 1933 in Cahone Colorado, a small community of about a hundred people on the high plateau dry bean farm country in southwest Colorado. Although farm life could be difficult, this life also forged Cleo into the hardworking, resilient and family centered woman we all love.

Cleo loved the Lord. As a child she attended a variety of church services but when a missionary, Peggy Parmer (who later became her sister-n-law), arrived in Cahone to deliver a message of a loving God who provided a way into His presence and grace through His son Jesus Christ--a message of love, her life was transformed. She lived out the rest of her life as a devoted Christian, influencing her family, friends and co-workers by demonstrating this message of love in everything she did.

Cleo was a hard worker and rarely would you find her sitting still. When she did sit, her hands were still working on crocheting or embroidery. She worked a variety of jobs to bring in income throughout her life but what she loved to do was to keep numbers straight. After graduating from Dove Creek high school in 1952 she took a course in bookkeeping and started her first job at the Dolores County School District. She continued to work as a bookkeeper for a variety of employers and eventually retired from a position as head bookkeeper at the Caldwell School District office in Idaho. Cleo was very proud of her career; she was a master with records and numbers and made sure her children knew how to meticulously balance their checkbooks (if you are a penny off, find it!).

Although not adventurous, Cleo was courageous. In the Fall of 1954, she decided to leave all she knew and followed her brother James 1600 miles and enroll in Northwestern Schools Bible College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The first of many, many moves. There she met a young man, Gerald Johnson, that would later come to her home as a missionary and teach Vacation Bible School. This was the beginning of the most enduring love story ever told. Gerry and Cleo traded graduation rings at Sunday School camp in the mountains above Ouray, Colorado, after knowing each other less than a month. They were married on December 23, 1955.

Cleo’s selfless love and perseverance were never more evident than when supporting her husband’s traveling feet. Throughout their marriage Cleo and Gerry moved dozens of times, from Colorado to Pennsylvania where their first son Michael was born (1956), to Minnesota, where their second son Kevin was born (1958), to Kansas City where their first daughter Mona was born (1962) and then to Colorado, where their second daughter, Theresa was born (1966). Always striking out on an adventure to find a better life, Gerry decided to pack up his family in 1967 and move to Juneau, Alaska. Cleo watched as all of the family goods were sold, said goodbye to her mom, siblings and friends, and settled into a 1956 Chevrolet pickup with her husband and four children, the one-year old Theresa on her lap as they traveled for twelve days. In all these moves she made it work by whatever means she could, just as long as she had her husband and children, she could be happy anywhere. After a few years in Alaska, the family moved again, this time to Nampa Idaho where Gerry enrolled in college to become a teacher. Finally, in 1972, Middleton, Idaho became her final home and resting place.

Cleo experienced a devastating loss when their oldest child, Michael, died in a car accident in 1975. This defining moment compelled her to love even more fiercely and demonstrate even more grace and mercy to anyone that entered her life. This is her legacy to her children and grandchildren, that they will always remember and try to model in their own lives.

In retirement Gerry and Cleo adopted the RV life in Arizona each winter, along with many of her siblings. Those precious years allowed Cleo to live next to her sisters and brothers she loved so dearly and had been unable to spend much time with in her younger life. Being a very social person, Cleo enjoyed the RV park living: booster breakfasts, bingo, dancing, attending flea markets, riding ATV’s and of course, endless rounds of her favorite pastime -- playing 42 with family and new friends. Her children and grandchildren loved to come and visit her there, where she was completely in her element.

Cleo was diagnosed with breast cancer more than 35 years before her passing and lived with the prospect of serious illness or death for the remainder of her life--from breast cancer to a diagnosis of major life threatening heart and pulmonary problems later, then a lung cancer diagnosis, a broken hip, followed by an unexpected crisis with low sodium, a fractured back and internal bleeding traumas. Through it all, she was amazingly consistent, resilient, upbeat, loving, cheerful and had a servant’s heart of gold. Her reward is having everyone that ever knew her love her back in abundance, especially her children and grandchildren.

“Well done, good and faithful servant” are the words she heard January 26th as God took her from her husband’s arms to His.

Cleo was preceded in death by her son, Michael, her brothers, John and Harold Glazner, and her sister Evelyn Johnson. Cleo is survived by her husband of 65 years, Gerry Johnson, her children, Kevin (Nancy) Johnson, Mona (Mike) Hirano, Theresa (Randy) Maves, nine grandchildren, Drew Maves, Ryan Hirano, Peter Johnson, Aaron Maves, Rachel Maves, Justin Hirano, Kimberly Johnson, Jill Johnson and Tiffany Hirano, and 14 great grandchildren.

I’ll See You Again

Little boy in the field, why do you weep,
For your mother is now up in Heaven?
On that bright golden shore,
Her Lord will keep.
Can’t you hear your mother say:

I’ll see you again, I’ll see you again,
I’ll see you in Glory someday.
For now it’s goodbye, don’t sorrow or sigh.
I’ll see you in Glory someday.

Men of God on the hill, why stand ye there
For your Lord has ascended to Heaven?
You must go to the world, His Word to share.
Can’t you hear your Savior say:

I’ll see you again, I’ll see you again,
I’ll see you in Glory someday.
For now it’s goodbye, don’t sorrow or sigh.
I’ll see you in Glory someday.

Oh, my friend, do you have ones close to you
Who have taken their journey to Heaven?
They are safe with the Lord,
God’s Word is true.
Can’t you hear Your loved ones say:

I’ll see you again, I’ll see you again,
I’ll see you in Glory someday.
For now it’s goodbye, don’t sorrow or sigh.
I’ll see you in Glory someday.

The Haining Family
Public Domain

*Special note of appreciation and gratitude to Dr. Jen Gooding, for going way beyond her professional responsibilities, showing a special love for our mother and spending countless hours to care for her along with the loving staff at Doctor’s.


January 31, 2020

2:00 PM
Middleton Baptist Church
108 W 1st St N,
Middleton, ID 83644


Middleton Cemetery
P.O. Box 338
Middleton, ID 83644

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