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Stewart "Lloyd" JohnsonJune 2, 1916 ~ September 19, 2017 (age 101)
101 year old Stewart Sandidge “Lloyd” Johnson of Fruitland peacefully passed away at his home September 19, 2017, surrounded by loving family and friends. Lloyd was born on June 2, 1916, the sixth of eight children born to Benjamin and Stella Johnson. His parents were early McCall pioneers.
He graduated from McCall High School and attended the University of Utah and the University of Idaho. Lloyd was an avid outdoorsman, hunter, fisherman, skier and smokejumper. He loved telling stories of McCall, the mountains, the people and of his days leading search and rescue trips into Idaho’s primitive area.
When he was 7 years old Lloyd was proclaimed the “world’s smallest ski jumper” at the initial McCall Winter Carnival. He had a passion for skiing. He was an original member of the “Idaho Ski Team” who were instrumental in promoting Sun Valley and skiing in Idaho. After having helped develop the Little Ski Hill in McCall he taught skiing, formed the Mighty Mites and turned them into Olympic skiers. He was a key contributor to planning and establishing Brundage Mountain ski area and was an active skier until he was 90.
He worked for many years for the US Forest Service and became the original smokejumper on the Payette National Forest. Lloyd built the smokejumper base and was the Base Foreman when the McCall Smokejumpers formed in 1943 and he continued until 1953. He has been recognized nationally as the oldest living smokejumper and says, “We never lost a fire because we got on them early.”
In, 1954, he moved his family to Fruitland to begin his new career as owner of a Westcott Oil distributorship, a business he successfully operated until his retirement. After retiring, Lloyd managed the New Plymouth Cenex Farm Center for 10 years.
Lloyd was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Betty Gillespie Johnson, and by six of his siblings. He is survived by his daughter Judy (Wayne) Meyer and his son Jon, as well as 6 grandchildren – Brett (Kelly) Meyer, Denise (Chum) Sullivan, Tanya Meyer, Lisa (Bart) Veis, Ryan and Spencer Johnson and 8 great-grandchildren – Seda, Ashlin, Logan, Emily, Justin, Jared, Lucy and Maddie. He is also survived by his sister Ione (Bob) Gordon of Boise, sister-in-law Marion Johnson of McCall and many nieces and nephews.
Lloyd was a loved and cherished son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend. His favorite saying – “if you want to have a friend, you have to be a friend”.
He was a friend and supporter of Fruitland High School and the entire Fruitland community.
Lloyd Johnson embodied the ideals that have made this country great – hard work, love of family and generosity of spirit.
A graveside service will be held at 11:00 am, Saturday, September 30, 2017 at Rosedale Memorial Gardens, Payette, Idaho followed by a lunch and Celebration of Life at the Johnson home, 401 S. Colorado Avenue, Fruitland at 1:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers the family has suggested contributions to Fruitland High School Athletic Dept or Fruitland FFA, PO Box A, Fruitland ID 83619; or Smokejumpers Good Samaritan Fund, c/o Chuck Sheley, 10 Judy Lane, Chico CA 95926; or Heart ‘n Home Hospice (The OpAL Foundation) 1107 N W 11th St Fruitland ID 83619.