Life Summary of Viola Lauper Johnson
Originally dated, July 16, 1965 [some updates added later].
Born in Tremonton (Elwood), Box Elder County, Utah on April 12, 1913 to Emile Louis and Emma Vissing Lauper, I was number eight of their ten children. Both parents were born in Europe - and both immigrated to the US for the Gospel's sake. My father, in French-speaking Geneva, Switzerland, was a mature young man when he was contacted by the missionaries. He was converted and came to Utah. My mother came from Denmark as a child with her grandparents who were also converts to the church. They settled in the Danish community of Moroni, Sanpete County, Utah. My parents later met in Lehi, Utah where they began their married life.
When I was a little girl, I wore thick, long curls or braids. I was told that my hair was especially thick and long because I had been completely shaved of all hair when I was very, very young. This severe treatment was necessary in treatment of eczema. I was born with extreme allergies which has continued in various forms and degrees throughout my life. I also had lots of freckles on my face, which I hated.
I loved to play dolls, especially with my sister Alice. We enjoyed paper-doll cutting and playing; but anyone reading this would find it difficult to picture us cutting pictures from the Sears, Roebuck catalog - pictures of men, women, and children; and then cutting clothes - making our own tabs to be used on the cut-out figures from the catalog.
I attended grammar school and part of high school in a Southern Utah farming area called Delta. Then in May of 1929,1 was part of the 'move-down' from Delta to Southern California, driving down with my mother and brothers, Ivan, Dennis, and Ralph (Marc went on the freight train with our belongings). We joined other members of the family in Los Angeles, and subsequently settled in a citrus-growing area in Ventura County called Camarillo. Although my parents spent several years on that Camarillo acreage, I did not reside there very long, for I moved to nearby Oxnard where I finished high school. I then moved into Los Angeles where I sought lodging and work in order to continue my education at a community college. Upon finishing, I returned to the coastal town of Ventura where I started working in general office work and as a bookkeeper. I remained there until my father's death early on Jan. 1, 1936. I stayed, much alone, while continuing my job in Ventura, until December of that year when I joined my mother and other family members in Oakland, California. I worked at Breuners furniture until I met my husband, he having come from American Fork, Utah to Oakland about the same time as I. We were married in June 1940 in the Salt Lake Temple, but lived in Oakland until 1942 when the war made necessary a transfer to Chicago, Illinois. We returned to live in San Francisco at the close of the war in 1945, found a place to rent at 2195-43rd Ave. until the purchase of our home at 3030 Noriega St. in January of 1948.
Three children have been born to us: Linda, who spent her school days in San Francisco and then went to the University of California in Berkeley where she met and married David Peterson in the fall of 1961; JoAnn, and Joseph R. Jr., who are still in school - healthy, wonderful children all.
My testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has developed through the years, having received fundamental and exemplary teachings not only at home, but through the auxiliaries of the church. I attended religion classes and later graduated from Seminary, helped in the Primary organization as a very young girl, and later assisted in Y. W. M. I. A.
While living in Ventura, California (which was then a part of the California Mission Field), I worked as a Mission Aide for the M.I.A. and covered the Santa Barbara District of the California Mission. In Oakland Ward and Stake, my callings included Y.W.M.I.A. President, Ward and Stake Class Leader, Sunday School teacher, and Stake Relief Society worker. While in Chicago, I served in the Ward and Stake Primary. Assignments in the San Francisco Stake and Sunset Ward have included callings in the Relief Society, Ward and Stake Primary, having most recently served as a Counselor in the Stake Primary organization.
My husband, Joseph Richards Johnson, was taken by sudden death during the late summer of 1963, at which time it was necessary that I take a full time job in the business world. Since that time, I've worked for Cooper Bessemer Corporation in downtown San Francisco, doing secretarial work for some engineers at that firm and retiring in April 1978.
I call California my Home State, and more particularly, feel my home is San Francisco, having lived at this address and as a resident of Sunset Ward, San Francisco Stake for fifty years now, a much longer time than I've spent at any other location.
I thank my Heavenly Father, together with my goodly earthly parents, for my life here on earth. This great privilege of coming here, possessing a strong body, a healthy mind, is not by chance. I believe I chose to come; further, that I chose my special parents; and I am without adequate expression as to my gratitude to them for their tremendous love of me and the wonderful teachings given me by their words and actions.
I am a first-generation American, of which I am proud! Both my parents came from Europe. My mother's family gave up their homeland after her mother and grandmother were converted to the Gospel. My father was a convert, during young manhood, in his homeland of Switzerland; and he left his home, mother, and sister, to make his way in the strange new land. He often longed for his native, beautiful birthplace of Geneva. I can see his wet eyes as he confessed: "If it (meaning the Church) hadn't been true, I would have long ago gone back". I am, therefore, a second-generation Latter-day Saint, of which I am also very proud.
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