Saturday, July 16, 2011




John Thomas Houghton was born October 28, 1909 in Castle Gate, Utah.  His father Charles and his mother Catherine Burrows were born in England.  Charles Arthur also was born in England, but his parents immigrated to America while he was young.  John Thomas and Wilford ( better known as Bill ) were born in America.  Johnny was named after his maternal uncle John Thomas Burrows.

Johnny's father Charles went to work at the age of 9 to help support his three sisters because his father died when Charles was 3 years old.  Charles mother also died, leaving his older sister to raise the other children. 

Charles and Catherine were converts to the Church.  Charles was the only member of his family in England to join the Church.  When the family immigrated they settled in Castle Gate, Utah.  Charles drove a team of horses for the mine until they purchased some trucks.  The next 20 years he drove trucks.  Once in an accident he nearly lost his thumb.  Charles worked until ill health forced him into retirement. 

At the age of five Johnny was burned when some boys placed a gunny sack into a fire and then tired to use a stick to get it back out.  The sack was tossed into the air and as it fell back down the burning sack fell on Johnny's face.  He tried to remove the sack and his hand was burned.  The scars never did fade completely but he realized how luck he was when he was told about one of his sisters who died from burns she received when her nightgown caught fire. 

John was typical boy in school.  He and his friends played hookey at recess and put their sticks under the schoolhouse while other classes were in session.  Once he was the last one out and much to his surprize found himself pulled out by the feet by the principle Charles Madsen when he came to investigate the noise. 

Another time he found a bat but was accused of stealing it.  He had to stand in the corner as punishment.  Sense the real thief was never found he could not prove his innocence and this always bothered him. 

Johnny met Josephine when he was asked to dance for a Gold and Green Ball floor show, this was the beginning of their courtship.  Johnny was a very good dancer and they attended all the dances they could.  They loved to square dance and did so until Jo's arthritis became to painful. 

When Jo and Johnny decided to get married they did what so many others were doing, one Saturday after a dance they drove to Castle Dale and were married by a Justice of the Peace, with Dave and Lucille Griffiths as witnesses.  Eloping to Castle Dale was the "in thing to do" at that time.  Needless to say Jo's Mother was not to pleased and she would not speak to them for several days after this but she finally came around.  As years went by Johnny was always called when anything needed doing.  Even when Donald was old enough to take care of the furnace, she always called to see if Johnny was going to come up and see if he had done it right. 

John and Jo were married when he was working one day a week.  They found a lot of ways to fix a bag of onions, a bag of potatoes and tuna fish.  They pooled their resources with other neighbors in the terraces to have a change of diet.  Those who lived in the terrace became like family and shared many happy times together. 

Johnny's and Josephine's marriage was solemnized in the Salt Lake Temple, 2 April, 1936 when Joanne was two years old.  Joanne has never forgotten the occasion or the twin boy's from New York who shared the nursery while waiting for the time to be sealed to two special people while kneeling around a beautiful deep royal blue alter.  What happy memories for a two year old girl. 

Later two sons were born, Tommy was an invalid.  Tommy needed a lot of love, constant care, and attention but in return his love radiated from him and made all who came in touch with him better people for having known one of God's special spirits.  A few days after his 15th birthday he was called back to his heavenly home, leaving a big void in our hearts and in our home, and in our neighborhood friends, old and young, who came to love him too. 

Donald had a very rocky start in life.  Someone came to work sick with dysentery and all the babies and a lot of mother's became infected.  If it hadn't been for Mary (who was Dr. Long's nurse at the time) Donald would not be here today.  Her constant nursing care through the night is what saved his life that first night he came home from the hospital.  Donald grew up and served a mission in the North Carolina and Georgia area.  He and Jane were married while attending BYU.  He later joined the Air Force and served as a Security Policeman.  Jo and Johnny were proud of his accomplishments and were very willing to give their help and support when needed.  They enjoyed having Jane and Tommy stay with them while Jane was waiting to join Donald in England.

Bill, Charley and Johnny were always very close.  Bill loved raising pigeons and tinkering with cars, he was a good mechanic.  He had quite a sense of humor and a quick smile.  Even when he was so sick, when you visited Bill he'd smile and want to know how you were instead of complaining about his problems.  Bill's wife, Helen was one kind of a person, she was left with kids to raise alone.  It was not easy but she did it, she never stopped worrying about her kids and grandkids even when she had health problems herself. 

Charley and Mary were there for Helen and the kids just as they have been for Jo, Johnny and their kids.  Always asking what they can do for you or what you need.  With health problems of their own, they are ready to help if you need them.  They have worried about Johnny since he has been in the nursing home, they have visited him when they could and have been concerned because they haven't been able to see him lately as much as they would like to.  Marilyn, Donna and Bern and their families have always been close to Jo and Johnny.  Not everyone is fortunate to have special families on both sides who can get together and share the good and the bad, and be there if they were needed. 

Johnny has been a member of the U.M.W. of America for 56 years, he was young when he started working.  He remembers when the unions were organized and of the shootings and troubles.  He was a member of District 22, Local 1681.  He worked as a truck driver, car dropper, car repairman and welder.  He spent time both inside and outside the mine.  Joanne loved to take his lunch bucket to him because the guys would talk to her and tease her.  The shop gang were all a good bunch of guys and shared a close brotherhood with each other.  Everyone knew when Johnny was coming even the dogs would line the sidewalk for a pat.  He loved children and they were attracted to him, he teased and gave them whisker rubs. 

Johnny drove the Company Ambulance for many years.  He made trips from Castle Gate and Clear Creek to Saint Marks Hospital day or night, good or bad weather. 

Johnny was very active in Church, he served in the Sunday School, M.I.A., Stake Missionary, President of the Seventies, counselor in 3 bishoprics, Ward Clerk, Stake Clerk in Price North Stake and High Councilman in Price and Helper Stakes.  He loved his church work and was very faithful.  His last assignment were Stake Baptisms, Parkdale Nursing Home home evenings and Deseret Industries.  It was a sad day when he had to resign because of health. 

Johnny and Josephine celebrated their Golden Anniversary the July before Josephine died in 1983.  This was a very special event as so many friends and family came to share it with them. 

Josephine's sudden death from a heart attack was a great shock to Johnny and the family.  They had a great life together with children, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. 

Johnny gave a lot of help and service to widows and others who needed it.  He appreciates all the help, love. and care that was extended to him in the past 6 years he was in the Castle County Care Center. 

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