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John William Guthrie

02/12/1948 - 12/31/2015
Service Date: 01/15/2016
Service Time: 11:00 AM
Service Location: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 933 E. Brown Road, Mesa, Arizona

Johnny William Guthrie passed away on New Year’s Eve 12/31/2015. He was born to Vaughn and Leona Guthrie on February 12th 1948 in Astoria Oregon. He is survived by his wife Susan, his children, Vaughn, Abby, Beaux, Jason, and Kristen, his grandchildren, Owen, Sadie, Tatum, Hayden, Carter, Sasha, Cody, and JJ, and his siblings Richard, Vonda Norris, and Maxine Buchanan.

Johnny graduated from Arcadia High School as well as Cal Western School of Law. His passion, as his friends and colleagues would know, was first and foremost music. Not too long after practicing on his first set of drums at age five (made by his father Vaughn out of pickle barrels and old tires) did Johnny begin being referred to as a musical prodigy. By the age of fourteen he was already playing professionally, opening for Ray Charles with Floyd and Jerry and the Counterpoints, as well as spending his school nights at the Playboy Club in Phoenix as part of their jazz trio. After High School Johnny moved to California to become a session musician at RCA studios in California. This gave him multiple opportunities to perform with Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, Sammy Davis Jr., and countless others.

A true renaissance man, he was also a police officer for 20 years, and ended his career as a prosecutor for the state of Arizona, serving in various counties throughout the state. Johnny touched the lives of many with his kindness and humor, making friends wherever he went. He was a loving husband, a hero of a dad, and a wonderful grandpa.

His viewing will be held on Thursday January 14th from 6-8 PM at Bunker’s Garden Chapel at 33 N Centennial Way in Mesa, Arizona. His funeral service will be held on Friday January 15th at 11AM at the LDS North Stake Church Building located at 933 E Brown Rd in Mesa, Arizona.




  • I had the pleasure of being Johnny’s friend from age 13 or 14 and was a member of the bands; The Counterpoints, Myrth and various other ensembles with Johnny. He was a true friend and a gentleman and fantastic musician.

  • Johnny Guthrie and I worked together at the Apache County Attorneys Office. We kept in touch as our careers took separate paths. He will be greatly missed.

  • I Absolutely loved Jonny! Such a musician and always a joker. So blessed to have gotten to know him. Love you Susan! My prayers are with you and your family!

  • I am so very sad to hear this news! Please accept my condolences. I know how awful it is to lose someone so dear. Love to you all.

  • Greg and Myrtle Scott

    So sorry to hear of Johnny’s passing. Our prayers and thoughts are with you and your family!

  • Johnny was a great man and a true friend. Accomplished, tough and strong when he had to be, kind and loving all the time. He will be greatly missed.

  • I am very sorry to hear of Johnny’s passing. I knew him as a joker long before I knew him as a musician and even did not believe him, that was until I heard him play. We had common friends from when he lived in Western Colorado. It was far too long since I last saw him and my thoughts and prayers go out to Sue and his kids. “Teeth are optional at Wal-Mart”. That one is for you, Johnny.

  • John (I knew him as Johnny) was always positive, open, fun, and creative. I first remember him as my classmate at Ingleside Elementary School where we shared experiences for a number of years, and then again at Arcadia High School. Many years passed and we lost contact. My best memory of Johnny was one of the first ones – we were in 5th grade or so at Ingelside and in the same class. As our group was led to lunch by our teacher, we were walking more or less in single file. Johnny and I happened to be at the end of the line. Going down the open breezeway to the cafeteria, the wide sidewalk angled downward a bit, and Johnny hung back then took a few steps and did a forward, leaping somersault, landing on his feet without missing a step! It was a magical feat, and one the teacher never saw, but we did! That was Johnny! A great guy who will be missed.

  • roman and nancy darien

    Sue and Family,

    We loved Jonny as a Gospel Doctine teacher in the Mesa 28th Ward!!! He was so eager and well prepared to discuss the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Also, we remember with fondness the talent show at Mendoza Elementary that he and Roman and a few others performed at on an early spring evening. He truly is Jonny be good

  • To Mr. Guthrie’s family, I’m very sorry for your loss. It’s my hope that Jehovah God’s promises in the Bible. At Revelation 21:3,4 he promises there will soon be a time when there will be no more pain, sickness, or death, and we can see the loved ones we have lost again. Please accept my deepest condolences.

  • Gup, man johnny bud. I think about u and our times together. We became best friend’s brothers even. Miss u dude.. Truly

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