Max Keele Johnson

June 1, 1931 ~ November 19, 2020

Max Johnson returned home peacefully on Thursday, November 19 due to complications of the COVID-19 virus. His nurses remarked that he was “such a sweet man” and they all loved him.

He passed with his dignity intact and was able to call his beloved wife, Charlene to tell her goodbye just before he left. Although Max was 89 years old, his passing was far too soon for the many family and friends who loved him.

Max was born at the Horsehead homestead (Eastland), and was the youngest of six boys who lived and farmed in Eastland. His sister, Faye, married a rancher and lived in Emery. Being the youngest, he worked with his father, Arile to help on his land while starting his own farm.

He married Charlene Richey from Monticello, and together they scratched out a living. He eventually became a successful, respected farmer, receiving the 2008 San Juan County Farmer of the Year award. Max farmed beans, wheat, and alfalfa and raised outstanding purebred Hereford bulls and quality Arabian, Fox Trotter, and Quarter horses.

He attended workshops with the original “Horse Whisperer,” and soon became the local “Horse Whisperer.” He believed in gentling horses rather than breaking them. His farm was one of the best in the County and he took pride in his work.

Max believed in having fun. He and Charlene promptly bought a boat when Lake Powell was filling. Max taught his children, grandchildren, and numerous friends how to waterski. Many happy days were spent at the lake.

Charlene loves to dance and he was always willing to oblige. This handsome couple could really “cut a rug.” Max loved to hunt and has the distinction of shooting the world record mule deer, scoring 228 5/8, on his farm in October 1968.

He also loved to camp, play cards, and tell jokes. Max was good-natured and generous to a fault; everyone was his friend. He was the man who always picked up the check at a restaurant. His funny laugh and easy temperament will be missed.

Max deeply loved his children and grandchildren. Each of them believes they have a special relationship with him. They all remember him getting up early and cooking pancakes. His home was a welcoming place for everyone who wanted to visit or even to live for a while.

Max was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He had a strong testimony of the gospel and believed in his Savior’s redeeming sacrifice.

He served in many callings, including Branch President of the Eastland branch and was always a faithful home teacher. He was non-judgmental and believed in others’ higher nature.

Max is preceded in death by his parents, Arile and Beata Johnson; brothers Forrest, Travis, Cloyd, Eldon, and sister Faye Jensen of Emery. He is survived by his brother Rex; his wife Charlene (married 70 years); and children: Max “Keele” Johnson, Jr. (Lynnette), Tanis Johnson (Steve), Terry Johnson, Kristina McFarland (Michael), and Suzanne Tidwell.

He has 14 grandchildren and six step grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren (ten step great-grandchildren), and two great-great-grandchildren.

There will be a graveside service for Max Keele Johnson Saturday, November 28 at 11 a.m. at the Eastland Cemetery. Please dress warmly, bring a lawn chair, and plan on social distancing. A Memorial, Celebration of Life will be held on his birthday, June 1, 2021.

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday

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