Emilee Ann Gessel JohnsonApril 24, 1986 - December 10, 2016
Funeral Service December 16, 2016 at 11:00 AM
2969 East 9800 South, Sandy, Utah
Service Directions: click HERE
Emilee Ann Gessel Johnson
Our sweet Emilee Ann Gessel Johnson, age 30, returned to the loving arms of her Father and Mother in Heaven on December 10, 2016. Although a virulent form of cancer took her life, it did not diminish her spirit, her faith, or the beautiful smile she had for everyone.
Emilee brightened the lives of all who knew her because she shone with the light of Christ. Throughout her life, Emilee radiated love, kindness, courage, compassion, humor, and optimism. She had a gift for making others feel loved and appreciated. She taught us what faith looks like in the fire of adversity, what gratitude looks like even for the smallest of things, and what peace looks like in the most difficult of circumstances.
Emilee was born on April 24, 1986, in Sandy, Utah, to Mark Gardner and Debra Lyn Darger Gessel. She had a special place in the family as the third child but only daughter. Emilee grew up in a lovely, peaceful home nestled at the base of the magnificent granite mountains in Little Cottonwood Canyon. There she grew from a blond-haired freckle-faced little girl into a beautiful and accomplished young woman. She spent many happy times every summer at Bear Lake, camping and enjoying water activities with her extended Gessel family. She loved spending Thanksgiving and vacations in Arizona with her extended Darger family. She especially enjoyed 4-H cooking and sewing clubs with her cousins.
Emilee attended Granite Elementary School, Albion Middle School, and Brighton High School where she graduated in 2004. At Brighton, Emilee more fully developed her academic and artistic talents and ran cross country. Her compassion and desire to serve others led her to the nursing profession. She graduated from Dixie State University School of Nursing magna cum laude in 2008 and worked at Primary Children’s Hospital in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Emilee met her best friend, high school sweetheart, and the love of her life, Bradley Benjamin Johnson (“BJ”) at Brighton High School. She loved that BJ always made her laugh. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on May 8, 2009, and Emilee added all the members of the wonderful Johnson family to her life. Two adorable, happy boys, Myles and Emerson, blessed their eternal family and became the center of Emilee’s world. Emilee was very ill during both of her pregnancies but was sustained through these challenges by BJ, her parents, her extended family, and her special friends in Baltimore, Maryland. When Emilee faced her cancer diagnosis shortly after Emerson was born, her parents returned home early from their LDS mission in New Zealand and welcomed her back to her childhood home. Together with BJ, they took loving care of her and her boys through the difficult season of Emilee’s final journey home.
Emilee was a devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She had a powerful testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Lord’s plan of happiness for her. Her gentle spirit was buoyed up by a well of inner strength flowing from the promises of the Savior Jesus Christ. She spoke often of the angels that attended her and knew that she was under the watchful care not only of her husband and her parents but also many on the other side of the veil. In the last few months of her life, she was still attending the temple when she could.
Emilee loved the word of God found in the scriptures. She followed the council of Elder Devin Durrant (October 2015 General Conference) to “ponderize” favorite scriptures and sayings. The last one she posted on her kitchen cabinet was: “Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismayed; For I am Thy God and will still give thee aid; I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand; Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand” (see Isaiah 41:10; Hymn “How Firm a Foundation,” page 85).
Emilee’s family would like to thank her extended families; her Little Cottonwood Ward; her Jones Fall Ward in Maryland; her many special friends; her doctors at Huntsman Cancer Institute, especially her oncologist Dr. Saundra Buys; her nurses at Huntsman, Sharon Starkie, Chanteel Ballard, and Anne Brinkerhoff; and Rachael Kendrick, her caring hospice nurse, for all they did to make her life as comfortable and happy as possible. Emilee’s family is also grateful for all those who so willingly helped care for Myles and Emerson and for all the cards and packages which were the highlight of her day.
Emilee will be greatly missed by her loving husband and her two special boys, Myles, 5, and Emerson, 18 months. She is survived by her parents, Mark and Debbie Gessel, her brothers, Greg (Sarah), Gary (Lindsay), and Chad, and one niece and two nephews, as well as her grandfather, Darryl Darger. Emilee was preceded in death by BJ’s mother Julie Ann Johnson, her Grandpa and Grandma Gessel, her Grandma Darger, and her cousins Ever Velora Darger and Marshall Gaufin, all of whom had a joyous reunion with her.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am on Friday, December 16, 2016, at the Little Cottonwood Ward, 9880 South 3100 East, Sandy, Utah. A celebration of Emilee’s life will be held at the Little Cottonwood Ward on Thursday, December 15, 2016, from 6-8 pm and on Friday, December 16, from 9:30-10:45 am. Interment will be at the historic Granite Cemetery, 2969 East 9800 South, Sandy, Utah, which has a panoramic view of the mountains Emilee loved. In lieu of flowers, please do an act of loving service in Emilee’s name.
And as her dad would say, “See you soon, Emilee baby.” And as Emilee would say to BJ and her boys, “Remember always that families are forever, and I will be watching over you ‘til we meet again.”
For more information, see www.caringbridge.org, affordablefandc.com, and legacy.com.