December 6, 1947 – April 26, 2021 (age 73)
My friend, Dorothy Jane “Janie” Johnson, was born on December 6, 1947, in Los Angeles, California. She is the daughter of Joseph Ray Johnson and Hattie Vilate Rigby. When she was very young she moved to Preston, Idaho to live on the family farm with her mom, her sister, Anna May, her brother, Keith, and their grandmother, May Harris Rigby.
When Dorothy was about 13, her mother married Glen Keith Pitcher. Dorothy loved her stepfather and his family and was so grateful they came into her life. She remembered doing lots of fishing in Logan Canyon with her stepfather.
Dorothy was one of seven children born to her mother. Three of them died very young, and Dorothy outlived them all.
She attended Logan High School and LDS Seminary, and graduated from both in 1966. After that, she served for almost two years in the Job Corps in Cleveland, Ohio, where she met Dr. Martin Luther King and heard him speak. For many years she lived in her mobile home, just off Main Street in Logan, where she cared for a long line of beloved cats and dogs, like Terry, and Max, and Pugsy, and Snowball. That’s where I first met Dorothy. She was my neighbor and my friend. She loved watching my little ones learn and grow.
Dorothy was fiercely independent and diligently worked to provide for herself. She had a job at Presto Products in Lewiston and worked there for 26 years, until she became disabled with Reynaud’s Disease. She kept us supplied with sandwich bags from the company store for several years!
Dorothy was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She loved the prophet and she loved listening to General Conference and reading the conference reports. Two of her most treasured possessions were her scriptures, with her name “Jane” embossed on the front, and her picture of Christ on her wall. She prepared herself and was able to serve in the Logan Temple with some of her special neighbor friends. And she loved having her name on the prayer roll there.
She loved Maple Nut ice cream and Diet Coke; Look, Big Hunk, and Idaho Spud candy bars; Kentucky Fried chicken, and Chicken Fajitas. She enjoyed crocheting, and crafting colorful beaded watchbands. She loved the friends who taught her these skills. She loved word search puzzles, writing cards and letters to friends, and having lots of extra napkins on hand. She hated big spoons and big changes in life, like having to leave her beloved trailer when the mobile home court sold out.
Dorothy loved to tell me about her family; grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, and cousins. She loved belonging to them. She told me names, dates, and details of their lives and deaths. I could feel her pain and sorrow at the many losses she had endured through her life. She felt each loss greatly and was pretty alone after so many of her family had suffered and passed on.
She would tell me all about some of you too; her many friends, her landlords, her neighbors, and beloved coworkers. She would tell me about your children and grandchildren, when they were going to college, on missions, getting married, or having babies. She loved you all. She lived through you. You were her world.
I want to thank all of you who helped and served her in the community. Thank you to her doctor, she liked and respected you. Thank you to Shane, Amy, Emily, Jamie, Ola, Chae, and all the nurses and staff members at the care centers where she lived. (Especially the hair stylist at the care center; Dorothy knew she made her look beautiful again.) And to Terry, the head cook at Williamsburg, who was also Dorothy’s former coworker; she was sure proud of your skills and your friendship.)
Thank you to the staff at her bank, who kindly took extra special care of her. Thank you to her favorite Dollar Store, where she loved to stock up on boxes of tissues and other little necessities. Thank you to Carl’s Jr, Olive Garden, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and El Toro Viejo. Dorothy was one of your regulars and she felt special when she was out to eat at her favorite places.
Thank you to her neighbors and church leaders, who served her great needs with love and patience and diligence. Thank you to her home teacher, who fixed what needed fixing when it needed fixing; serving her faithfully for many years. Thank you to her great friend, who smiled at her and helped her feel accepted in high school, and then later became a neighbor and continued to help her feel important and loved throughout the rest of her life. Thank you to the Pitchers for welcoming her into your family.
Thank you to another friend who went to great lengths to find her a new home and make the move into a place that would fit her needs when she had to leave the trailer. And another thank you; to her brave neighbor who stepped in to rescue her when things got really bad and she just couldn’t take care of herself any more.
Life was not easy for Dorothy Jane Johnson. But she valiantly did her very best to thrive. She spent the last months of her life at Williamsburg Retirement Community and Rocky Mountain Care in Logan, Utah. She passed away early in the morning on April 26, 2021.
There will be a memorial service for her on Sunday, May 23, at 4pm at the Willow Valley Ward Chapel (800 North 200 West) in Logan, Utah.
She will be buried in the Logan City Cemetery near her family. We are grateful to Cache Valley Mortuary for their services on her behalf.
If you would like to help cover costs for her services, please make your donation to Cache Valley Mortuary in Dorothy’s name. Thank you.
Here’s one thing I learned from Dorothy: That sometimes, when we are hurting and in an unhealthy state, we push away the very people and things that we need the most. I think that’s what Dorothy did. She really needed us, but her life experiences had taught her that she needed to be focused on caring for herself by herself, so she pushed us all away. In the end, she didn’t want to need my help; but I’m grateful I was allowed to help her along her way. I learned a lot from my friend, Dorothy Jane.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at Cache Valley Mortuary.