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Dave Lee Johnson

- 06/24/2024
Service Date: 07/12/2024
Service Time: 10:00 am
Service Location: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 2228 E Brown Rd Mesa
Visitation Date: 07/12/2024
Visitation Time: 9:00 am
Visitation Location: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Interment: Mariposa Gardens

On June 24, 2024, Dave Lee Johnson at the age of 75 returned home to his Father in Heaven. While sudden and unanticipated, his manner of passing suited him in the sense that he was climbing on and off the skid steer just two days before, never limited for very long. We know he had a joyous reunion with his beloved mother, father, sister-Jan, and youngest son Davy. He exited as he lived, surrounded by people that loved him dearly, with music in his ears, looking towards Heavenly Father…alongside plenty of perhaps inappropriate humor, but what could he expect given the children he raised? We learned it from somewhere. Or maybe that was mom.

Born in 1948 in Phoenix, Arizona, Dave grew up surrounded by his clan of 7 siblings. With so many siblings, it goes without saying that the shenanigans featured in so many memories began early in life. In many ways he took after his father Chester Eugene Johnson, a brilliant man, a problem-solving man, but with a mildness that came from his mother, Bessie Hancock. From the beginning his gentle protectiveness, curiosity about the world, and desire to create shined through. He is survived by siblings Joy, Dan, Vi, Ann, Loa, and Evan.

He met the love of his life, Judy Thruston Jessie, at a church dance, and they kept dancing for decades to come. He’d dance with Judy in the kitchen while he sang in her ear, and then he’d plop his daughters on top of his feet and do the same with them. Judy and Dave are one of the few couples whose love persisted, grew, and blossomed despite the many trials they faced together. What a gift to their children and 31 grandchildren.

Admittedly, his sons and his daughters may have had two distinct experiences growing up with him as Dad. This is evident by his two favorite phrases for each: to the boys, “quit screwin’ around,” and to the girls, “hello, my lovely daughter.” He loved each and every one of his children deeply, and is survived by Heather, Eric, Charlene, Christy, Richard, Paul, Sheri, and Haylee.

Dave was an entrepreneur, although he’d probably never use that word to describe himself. His business efforts led to the creation of AZ Firebird Contractors, Inc, the company he owned and headed as a concrete contractor way longer than any of us wanted him to, but who could persuade Dave out of anything? He had high expectations for those that worked with him, but these expectations truly came from his belief in every individual’s capacity for even more than they thought themselves capable of achieving. His sons worked alongside him in several different capacities, over years that Dave cherished. Dave was an ox when it came to hard work. The day he passed in Phoenix,  Arizona, he actually had a concrete pour scheduled at the new home he had just built for himself and Judy in Saint Johns, AZ.

If Dave’s first loves were God and his family, shortly after that followed hot rods and motorcycles. His garage was the heaven of all of his grandsons. Every child and grandchild has a memory riding with Dave on one of his creations. Close to his heart was the ’32 Buick that carried him and Judy to and away from the temple grounds the day of their sealing, and later several children and grandchildren. Dave did the first burnout recorded (unofficially) at the Gilbert, AZ temple grounds.

Different people saw him in different ways…gentle and kind, or assertive and commanding. Above all this speaks to his humility, that capacity to meet the needs of a situation with the approach it needed and without performance.

Much to Dave’s displeasure, we are not burying him in a pine box built from 2×4’s in the yard.

Services will be held July 12, 2024 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints chapel located at 2228 E. Brown Rd. Mesa, Arizona 85213. The viewing will begin at 9 AM, followed by services at 10 AM.

Following the service, interment will take place at Dignity Mariposa Gardens Memorial Park located at 6747 E. Broadway Rd. Mesa, AZ 85206 (SE corner of Power and Broadway).

All are invited to come and celebrate his life with us.

Should you wish to send flowers in his honor, the funeral home is Bunker Family Funerals Garden Chapel located at 33 N. Centennial Way Mesa, AZ 85201, (480)-964-8686.


Arrangements by Bunker’s Garden Chapel, www.bunkerfuneral.com. Should this obituary appear anywhere but bunkerfuneral.com, please check our website for accurate details and service information.



  • Rhonda Martineau

    Prayers of comfort to Judy and His children. What a kind man and hard worker he was. Although I didn’t know him long, I could tell he was a very special child of God.

  • Larry Lundgren

    Dave is a remarkable man, his love is genuine, Vi used a picture of him posing with Charlene to paint the picture of Christ sitting surrounded by children that is in our family room. I can not think of a finer tribute to his character than his every day countenance that he wore though most days of his life. He is loved and will always be loved; my prayers are with you and your family that you will have the great peace and comfort that the Lord brings to us all.

  • Toni lutz-palmer

    Dave was my cousin close to my age. Tho we haven’t seen much of him over the years I always remember him fondly & I am sad for his family

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