Life History of Viola Lauper Johnson

Viola, 1939
Viola, 1939

This history is essentially a "collaboration", written, compiled and edited across the years:

  • Viola Lauper Johnson - the writer of the most of the words, begun in 1997, with updates in 2005.
  • Linda Johnson Peterson - the "source" of the questions and compiler/typist of the first version in 2001.
  • David Peterson, Jr. - web editor and collector of additional stories, in 2004, 2005 and 2010
With the passing of dear Grandma on February 5, 2010, we came to realize what we already knew would happen: we miss her sorely. However, we are consoled by her having the opportunity to cast off a troubled body and re-unite with loved ones that have gone before.

I have included some materials from the Memorial Service, held at the Danville, California, LDS chapel on February 13, 2010. We tried to follow most of the instructions that Grandma had left for that occasion. I was asked to provide what was essentially the Eulogy. It was a daunting task that I wrestled with for a week. It was even harder to deliver. However, judging from the requests that I have received to make text available, it was well received. Obviously, many of the anecdotes were drawn from Grandma's own personal history, but I guess I sprinkled in my own observations and perspective.

Susan Rush Johnson, JR's wife and daughter-in-law to Viola, was inspired to write a lovely poem, Mother's Heart. We gave copies to those in attendance at the service. Susan writes of the experience: Some time ago, I awoke in the early morning with these lines going through my head. They left such a strong impresson on my mind that I had to write them down. I'm not a writer of poems or anything else for that matter, but I was strongly impressed to capture the effect these thoughts had on me.

The printed program for the service had the photograph that was taken at the same time as the one found on this site's dedicatory page. (I will eventually get a copy of the original photo.)

Table of Contents

See also Viola's 1989 oral interview.

A life summary, written by Viola, July 16, 1965.

Introduction to the Main History
Editor's Remarks for the various "Editions"
  1. Parents and Family
  2. Ancestors and Relatives
  3. Growing Up
  4. Education and Employment
  5. Gospel and Church
  6. Arts, Sports, Personal Activities, Adult Life
  7. Spouse and Family
  8. Medicine and Health
  9. Travel
  10. At Home
  11. World Outlook
  12. Personal Values and Preferences
Concluding Remarks to Main History
The Life and Legacy of Viola Lauper Johnson - a Eulogy
Mother's Heart - poem by Susan Rush Johnson
Memorial Service Program

Introduction to the "First Edition", November 1999

These writings, which were begun in May, 1997, resulted from something that my daughter Linda instigated several years ago when she "gifted" me with a large, two-quart jar containing small slips of paper. Each slip showed a question for me to answer concerning my personal life --- happenings, situations, feelings, reports, statistical facts, etc. etc.

My commission from daughter dear was to take these slips, one by one, and write my answers or descriptions of subjects referred to. With several stops and starts, I have pecked away at this assignment. Now, as Linda is returning from her second foreign mission, I have completed the task and will return the emptied jar to her.

I took the slips as they fell out; therefore, there isn't any continuity nor connection to the subjects.

Viola Lauper Johnson

Editor's Note to the "First Edition", December, 2001

As I retyped Momma's writings, I did rearrange some of the sections; thus, there is a bit more continuity in her writings than she previously thought there would be.

Linda J. Peterson

Editor's Note to the "Second Edition", August, 2004

As I have scanned and transcribed these writings for the web, I decided that I wanted to provide a "chapter-based" structure, so I further rearranged the sections. I was impressed by the use of these questions as an outline for writing a personal history, so I have also provided a page with just the questions, divided into the same chapters.
Grandma has always been more than willing to encourage her family to write their personal history, but she was less eager when it came to writing about herself. I think that she found the step-by-step approach of answering these individual questions more "palatable" than facing the enormity of writing an autobiography.
Since some topics could span various chapters and/or jump around chronologically, the divisions are sometimes just a judgement-call on my part. In some cases, I have provided links between related topics.

David Peterson

Editor's Note to the "Third Edition", February, 2010

Back in 2005, I recognized that, from my point of view, there were several "holes" in Grandma's personal history, items and events that the answering of the questions did not prompt her to reveal. Consequently, I sent her a "list of subjects" asking if she would not comment on them. She took it as a "command performance" and feverishly worked on typing them out, in spite of struggles with the computer. The result were several more entries and stories, some of which I knew about and some not. I have now endeavored to insert these additions, in places which seemed appropriate. As a result, they are spread throughout the chapters, but in each case, I have added a note to indicate that it is an addition from "2005". Of particular note are her discussion of the Vissing/Wissing ancestry of her mother (Chapter 2, and her talking about friends and activities from her adult life (Chapter 6).

David Peterson

Concluding Remarks, November, 1999

I seem to have come to the last slip in the large jug of question slips which Linda gave me a few years ago, asking that I ANSWER them for her. Well, now it is November 13, 1999. My Linda Luv and husband David are winding up their third, back-to-back service as missionaries together. They will be heading for the U.S. within days from Santiago Chile, disembarking at Miami, Florida. From there they will fly directly to Mesa, Arizona where their youngest son, Douglas Richards Peterson will be married and sealed to Summer Lyn Forte in the Mesa Temple. This will be a very happy occasion-an eventful one to see this fine young couple start their eternal lives together; moreover, to have a family reunion with my children and their children again. JR and Susan will be coming from Denver; Paul, JoAnn, Erik, Steven, Matthew and Ashli as well as Brooke Newton (Erik's betrothed) will fly from Salt Lake City; Kurt, Elisa and their 4 children from Kansas. They will join Lanae, Steve & their 4 children who reside in Mesa and Johnnie and Paige with their 2 who also live in Mesa. What a GRAND reunion!!

Viola Lauper Johnson

Come Again!

Please return to this site for regular updates and more items of family interest.

Upcoming items will include:

  • more reunion schedule details
  • more and better pictures
  • more items of family history
  • registration to attend the reunion
Check the What's New page for a listing of what has changed.