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Obituary: Ted Johnson

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Gifted pianist and celebrated band leader, Ted Johnson, passed away January 19, 2002. He lost his wife, sweetheart, and lead vocalist, Merry Johnson, last October 26 and he just couldn't wait any longer to join her.

Born William Ted Johnson June 5, 1918, in Castle Dale, UT to Samuel Richard and Pearl Petersen Johnson, he was raised in Provo and Salt Lake City. He graduated from South High School and attended the U of U.

Ted fell in love with the piano when he was nine years old and began studying in earnest at the age of ten. His late teens found him playing summers at Bryce and Grand Canyon lodges. By his early 20's he was accompanying vaudeville acts at the old Lyric Theatre and had organized his own band. It was then he met Merry, his sparkling soul mate and best friend, and the fun began.

During the war, Ted toured for the armed forces performing classical concerts to raise war bonds for the county.

He returned to Salt Lake after the war and began teaching, sharing both his love and knowledge of music as well as his brilliant technique with countless aspiring pianists.

For 26 years, his band performed at the Hotel Utah's Roof Gardens. When the Hotel was closed, they played at the Ambassador Club and the Salt Lake Country Club. During those years, he was selected to accompany Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis and numerous other headliners. They also entertained a number of world leaders including John F. Kennedy.

For some years during the 60's, his was the band that was spotlighted on national broadcasts from the Hotel Utah, as the New Year was rung in, in each time zone from the east coast to the west. He was the consummate entertainer...always "on"!

Ted was an avid golfer and very proud of his hole-in-one! He loved a good party and he loved nothing better than getting together with a bunch of his musician friends and "jamming" long into the night.

Ted is survived by his three children, Katie McDaniel, Lyle (Bill) Wilson, Ted (Jan) Johnson; six grandchildren, Toby (Adam) Nash, Darin (Jennifer) McDan-iel, Billy Wilson, Suzanne (Jeff) Wilson, Jennifer (Cody) Davis, Amber (Aaron) Schierbaum; 10 treasured great-grandchildren, Orion, Sonja, Jeremiah, Sasha, Mallory, Elliot, Mor-gan, Sarah, Annalise, Madline; broth-er, S. Lyle Johnson; baby sister, Beth (Bill) Erickson; many nieces and nephews.

A special thank you to all the wonderful people at Willow Wood Care Center for the loving respectful care they gave him (and our Mom).

Friends and relatives are invited to join us for hugs and reminiscing between 1:30-2:30 p.m. Wed. Jan 23, Larkin Sunset Gardens Mortuary, 1950 E. 10600 S, Sandy. Services and a musical tribute will be 2:30 p.m. and graveside services will follow.

Goodbye, Dad. We were so proud of you and we loved you so much. You're both together now.