October 2, 1957 - April 18, 2014
Jay McDougall Johnson loved life and brought love into the lives of many. Born on October 2, 1957, he was the youngest of seven children born to Clara and Clement Johnson. He liked to joke that his mother was eighty years old when she bore him. In reality at age 45 she was much younger, but Clara and Clem had nearly finished raising their family by the time Jay came into their lives. Jay was a beloved child, and in addition to his actual mother, he was mothered by his older sisters, who adored him, and he was practically raised by his sister Dawn, who taught him to love reading and to cherish education. Jay loved learning, and he loved books. He found the ideal way to multitask when he discovered Audible downloadable books and searched the title options for fascinating choices. The non-fiction topics were the most interesting to him and he was always sharing his latest insights on history and science. Jay loved his friends and went out of his way to create opportunities to get people together. Frequently these gatherings centered around games. Jay was a lover of all games. One of his favorite activities in the world was to play board games with his family and friends, and his particular favorite was Risk. He often begged his children to play, but they were less than enthusiastic about the game of global domination as Jay’s desire to let others win sometimes led to unsolicited advice about the game play. Other favorites included Battleship, Monopoly, Crossbows and Catapults, Stratego, Acquire, and Ticket to Ride. His especially loved word games like Scrabble, Upwards, and Jotto. What could be better than an activity that combined his love for learning with his love for games? But most of all he loved games because it was an opportunity to spend quality time with friends or family. When Jay was young, his parents moved the family from Provo to Tropic. Jay struggled with asthma as a child and ranch life was physically difficult. But Jay learned to move sprinkler pipes (although admittedly he never learned to love that) and the daily repetition built his strength, endurance, and a work ethic that was to last his entire life. He was one of 13 students to graduate from Bryce Valley High School in 1975. He worked several summers as a cook at Bryce Canyon Lodge and attended Southern Utah State College for a year. Jay was pleased to receive a call to the Arizona Holbrook mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He came to love the Navajo people. He made life-long friends and strengthened his testimony of Jesus Christ. Especially sweet was the opportunity for his father to come and spend a week as his missionary companion. After his mission, Jay attended Brigham Young University. He majored in journalism and wrote many articles for The Daily Universe while at BYU. However, his love for technology redirected him into computer science, a subject that his teachers described as exciting, but not a field where you could expect to make very much money. Fortunately for Jay, this was an idea that soon proved to be incorrect, and his passion for technology and computer programming turned into a career he greatly enjoyed. Jay loved computers and always sought to stay on the cutting edge of computer technology. This drive to stay immersed in the most current skills and languages led him into many fascinating projects, including work on submarines and the Boeing 777. Favorite languages included Ada, Smalltalk, Python and Ruby. He was expert in Java. His love for technology extended to his cars. He was excited to be among the first to own a Honda Civic Hybrid. He also bought a Chevy Cavalier that ran on compressed natural gas. Best of all, he was able to finally get a totally electric car, the Nissan Leaf! This was a natural extension of his love for science. As a child he had loved making rockets and putting together model vehicles that ran on solar power. His desire to stay on the cutting edge provided opportunities to live in San Diego, Seattle, Phoenix, San Mateo, and Provo. Travel while at IBM enabled Jay to indulge in two of his other loves, art and theater. Jay would go to museums in each city he worked in, and while on a project in New York City he attended plays almost every evening. He loved these perks from travel, but hated leaving his family. The very best thing about travel was coming home. Theater was important to the family as well, and productions of Annie and Phantom of the Opera were treasured opportunities. Les Miserables became the family favorite, and everybody loved to sing along with the International Cast CD. Jay loved being a dad. He loved to spend time with his daughters Larissa, Karen, and Jana. When they were young, weekends always meant an excursion to the Seattle Science Center, time spent at the park exploring the woods behind the ball field, or possibly the opportunity to go and feed ducks. He told collaborative stories each night before they would go to sleep, incorporating at their requests for My Little Ponies, Sonic and Tails, Inspector Gadget, Barbie, and other characters in the plot of the continuing serials. Jay loved great movies and was able to attend several film festivals in the course of his travels. In a way, his love for movies was responsible for bringing Jay and Carol together. They were both in Brother Rigby’s English class at BYU, and one day the discussion centered around Alfred Hitchcock films. Their shared passion for classic movies was the beginning of an immediate connection, and they were married in the Salt Lake temple on April 25, 1981. Though he was never one to want to own a pet because of his asthma, Jay quickly learned to love the cats, rabbits, parakeets, and rats Carol and their daughters brought into their home. He had a particular bond during his last months with Middy the cat, with whom he would curl up on the couch for naps, and with his daughter Karen’s dog Louie who would keep him warm when chemotherapy left his nerves sensitive to the cold winter weather. Jay was happy and blessed to be able to spend the last several years of his life in Provo, Utah, where he could be close to his children. Members of the family liked getting together every week or so to watch movies, play board games, and have crazy dinner discussions, and Jay was always the light of these gatherings. When the unexpected diagnosis of colon cancer crept into Jay’s life, he sought comfort and joy in the company of his family and in his testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jay was blessed with many friends and family members who visited during his last days in the hospital. Jay firmly believed that life lasts beyond earthly death and that family relationships are eternal. Jay is now likely having a joyful reunion with his loving parents, his brother Howard, his sister Dawn, his nephew Cameron, and others who preceded him in passing. Jay is survived by his wife Carol (Westenskow) and his daughters Larissa (Brian) Norman, Karen (David) Bates and Jana Johnson. He is also survived by his brothers LaVon (Marlene) Johnson and Darrell (Marge) Johnson and sisters Lovisa (Don) Lyman and Martha (Kenn) Elliott, as well as many loving extended family and friends. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, April 26, 2014 at the Town Hall Ward Chapel, 835 South 500 West, Provo, Utah. Friends may call at the church from 9:30-10:45 a.m. prior to services. Interment, Provo City Cemetery. Condolences may be sent online at www.bergmortuary.com.
Jay McDougall Johnson loved life and brought love into the lives of many. Born on October 2, 1957, he was the youngest of seven children born to Clara and Clement Johnson. He liked to joke that his mother was eighty years old when she bore... View Obituary & Service Information
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