Let the memory of Art be with us forever
  • 83 years old
  • Born on June 30, 1932 in Glendale, California, United States.
  • Passed away on June 2, 2016 in San Diego, California, United States.

Arthur Lars Ephriam Johnson passed away unexpectedly on June 2, 2016, at the age of 83, due to a heart attack following a lung biopsy.  Among others, he leaves behind his wife of 60 years, Devona Johnson.

 Art was born in Glendale, California on June 30, 1932 to his parents Alma (Lindbom) and Frank Johnson.  Art was raised during the time of the depression and learned the value of hard work and a compassion for others, which he carried throughout his lifetime.

 Returning from Korea after having served in the United States Army as an infantryman, 2nd Infantry Division during the Korean War, Art traveled to Oregon.  In 1955, Art met Devona Modrell in Corvallis, Oregon while she was working at the local movie theater.  Art swept Devona off her feet and they were married April 21, 1956; just recently celebrating their 60th Wedding Anniversary.  Not long after, Art and Devona moved to Sun Valley, California.  Art worked in the grocery business for Shopping Bag Markets, starting as a clerk.  In 1960, after having two children, Art and Devona decided to relocate to Palmdale in the Antelope Valley to give their children a good quality of life.  Art became the youngest supervisor at that time for Shopping Bag.  He was given the nickname “Lean and Mean,” probably a bit tongue-in-cheek, but he was known for getting the job done while garnering respect from his employees.

 In 1967, Art and Devona decided to relocate to Northern California for a more promising job opportunity with Purity Markets.  This did not play out as expected.  They decided to move back to the Antelope Valley but not before having a daughter to complete their family.

 Coming back to the Antelope Valley was a good decision.  A wonderful business opportunity came along for Art to buy his own small grocery store in Rosamond, California, with the help of a local banker who gave Art a business loan, based on faith alone.  In the small town of Rosamond, Art created a unique niche for himself and, in the words of many, was a mentor, friend, and valuable asset to the community and its residents. 

Art turned a small-time grocery store into a larger, full-service store, even incorporating a bank into his business; the first bank in the State of California that was inside of a grocery store, a concept which has become a standard practice.  Art offered the community friendship, supporting all community and service events, helping residents with groceries when they were struggling, and giving many of the younger people their first job in a town that had minimal opportunities for employment.

 In 1995, when the time of the mom and pop stores was being taken over by the “corporate giants,” Art sold his beloved market and decided to retire to Oceanside, California.  Retirement was not a time of idleness for this man who had worked 10- to 12-hour days for most of his life.  He became somewhat of a handyman, doing repair work for a property management company and interacting with people on a daily basis, sharing his stories and wisdom of life.

 Art loved his family immensely and enjoyed spending as much time with them as he could.  You could always go to him with any problem or worry and he would give you the insight to solve it yourself or he would take care of it.  Being with his family was the most important thing to him and that is what brought a sense of peace and joy to his heart.  It didn’t matter what we did, as long as we were all together as a family. 

 Art and Devona’s family grew to include their three children Kellene (Chuck) Richards, Rick (Linda) Johnson, and Denise Johnson; his six grandchildren Amber (Dan) Morales, Brieanna (Dylan) Shaw, Kelsey (Zack) Gowing, CJ Richards, Cierra Souflis, and Aeris Souflis; and his three great grandchildren Everly Shaw, Violet Shaw, and Macyrae Richards.  Art was preceded in death by his parents Alma and Frank Johnson, his sister Greta Johnson, and his brother Bob Johnson, along with several half-brothers and half-sisters.  Art also leaves behind many nieces and nephews that were dear to his heart. 

 Art will be greatly missed by his wife’s family, Joyce and Dave Gambee of Portland, Oregon, Ronald Modrell of Washington State, and Linda and Bob Buchanan of Oceanside, California, along with the many, many other family members and friends that he has touched along the way during his time on this earth.

 The family is planning a Celebration of Life, per Art’s request, at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, the family knows that Art would want you to Pay It Forward, be kind to others, and help those you find in need.  In reading many tributes and stories about Art, the family realizes the impact he has made on so many, and we wish for you to carry his philosophy of life with you.

 To the Husband, Father, Grandpa, and GGpa….we will miss your guidance, we will miss your wisdom, we will miss our talks, we will miss your hugs, we will miss your laughter with the twinkle in your eye, and we will forever miss the love you expressed for each of us.  Although a branch has fallen from our family tree, your legacy lives on through all of us.  We know you will be guiding us, loving us, and protecting us as you take your place next to the Big Man.  See you on the other side…  

Posted by Kellene Richards on 23rd December 2018
Thinking of you dad on this Christmas and missing you so much. This was always your favorite time of year. I am grateful for the traditions that you started in our family and that I have passed on to my kids and they onto their children. We all love you so much and miss you. Enjoy this Heavenly Christmas with your family and friends that were there to meet you on your journey.
Posted by Amber Morales on 18th October 2016
Thank you again everyone for coming, and for those who were there in spirit. It was a very special and memorable day for all. If you would like a program from the service, or would like an extra program, let me know and I can mail it to you. I have extras to share.
Posted by Verna Turner on 8th October 2016
Art I went to your Celebration of Life today and what a wonderful service your family gave you. Thank you for giving me a job at a time when I needed it so badly and thank you for giving me a second chance when it didn't look like I was learning things as fast as I should have. Thank you for all the times you made me laugh with the jokes you loved to play on people, including me. I will always remember your wonderful sense of humor and your kind heart and will never forget all the times I saw you help people, including me and my family. Working at Johnson's Market taught me so much and I wish every business had an owner who cared about their customer's the way you did and I wish they would expect their employee's to treat their customers with the same respect that you always expected us, as your employee's, to treat every customer, no matter who they were. I have so many memories from my years at Johnson's Market and could write on and on and on, but what it all comes down to is thank you for everything! Thank you for every lesson you helped me learn, no matter how hard it got sometimes. Thank you for showing me that it is always important to help people when they are in need and thank you for showing me that a true job consists not only of the hard times but also the good times. Thank you for eleven years at a job that I will always remember and cherish in my heart forever! Rest In Peace Art and I'll see you again someday when it's time!
Posted by Amber Morales on 2nd October 2016
Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to change the venue of Art's Celebration of Life Memorial. The memorial will now be held at the VFW in Granada Hills, CA at 17522 Chatsworth St. Granada Hills 91344. The memorial service will start at 11:00 a.m. with a reception immediately following at the same location. The family is looking forward to seeing family and friends, sharing stories, and remembering Art. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me or call me at 661-878-3691 or AmberK411@aol.com
Posted by Amber Morales on 9th September 2016
PLEASE READ UPDATE ABOVE Come join us to Celebrate the Life of Arthur Johnson, the rock of our family, who passed away June 2, 2016. There will be a memorial service at the cemetery and then an Open House immediately following at Amber's house, his granddaughter, in Sunland. The address for the Open House will be given out at the Memorial Service. Friday, October 7, 2016 Grand View Memorial Park 1341 Glenwood Rd. Glendale, CA 91201 If you have any questions, you can contact Amber Morales via email, or text. Email: Amberk411@aol.com Phone No: 661-878-3691
Posted by Kellene Richards on 30th June 2016
Happy 84th Birthday, Dad. We miss you so much and are thinking of you on this day, as we do everyday.
Posted by Jack Seefus on 26th June 2016
I was very sorry to read today's Valley Press and observe the passing of another friend who was an important part of my life. It was Art and I who got together and established Antelope Valley Bank in his market. We had a vision and it was a first in addition to being very successful for both of us. Sincerely, Jack Seefus, AVBank Pres. CEO, Retired.
Posted by Tammy Reynolds on 23rd June 2016
You were the nicest, kindest, funny at times man always helping someone in need. My son's father, Jose Tamayo worked at your store for the longest time and I remember how much he enjoyed it. Wish it could go back to those good ol days. Rest in peace but not forgotten
Posted by Julee Hendricks on 23rd June 2016
I clearly remember Art from my childhood (over 30+ years ago)! Nothing but fond memories of him and Johnson's Market! My Dad, Gary, was employed there for years and it was a place us kids spent many days! One memory that always sticks out is Art and his slot machines.... He was such an incredible man! So sad to hear of his passing.... Xoxo Sincerely Julee Hendricks (Grieco)
Posted by Judy Quinton-Roberts on 21st June 2016
Art I don't have one certain memory of you..but I will always thank you for giving Verna a job at a time she really needed one, an then trusting her to finally manage your store..You will always have a special place in my heart..I have missed you and the store for many years..RIP Art and hope to see you again one day..

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