español English

Obituary for Charles Norman John

Charles Norman John thumbnail

Charles Norman John

June 14, 1947 - August 13, 2017

It’s been said that the “dash” between birth and death is what counts. Charles began and finished his race in Ogden, Utah, where he was born to Norman and Betty John and preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Colleen, and brother, Rick.

The family lived briefly in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, where boyhood memories were formed. Charles often described how families were drawn to the town by the natural hot springs, especially on summer weekends. Cars often drove bumper-to-bumper up and down Main Street. With no air-conditioning, their windows were down. “Charlie” and some of the boys would catch blow snakes. Though harmless, they act much like rattlesnakes, especially to unsuspecting tourists. After tossing one in a car, the boys would run just far enough to watch families scramble out of their cars screaming. Valerie’s family could have been one of them.

Though the family moved back to Ogden, the kids spent summers at their grandma and grandpas in Pocatello where they worked to earn money for school clothes and books. Sometimes, they were able to visit their uncle’s cabin in Island Park. Charles left Ogden High School at 17 to join the United States Marine Corps. He knew he was going to Vietnam. He served on gun number 2, 155mm Howitzer, in Mike Battery, 4th Battalion, 12th Marines from August 1965 to November 1969. He toured Vietnam from January 1966 to February 1967.

While in Vietnam, Mike Battery was assaulted and outflanked by North Vietnamese forces only to realize that the village to their rear was also infiltrated by Viet Cong. The battery was surrounded. This and other battles traumatized Charles for life. This would weigh on Charles. Kissing the ground upon his return to the States, Charles struggled with the justness of the conflict refusing a purple heart and discarding other medals. He rarely spoke of his experiences. Later in life, however, he allowed small peaks into the pride he felt at having served his country in the Marines.

Not long after his discharge, Charles married Vicki Thompson with whom he had two daughters, Jennifer Tina Grunst of Windom, Minnesota, and Kristina Karen Hasenyager of Kent, Ohio. Charles always said that his daughters were beautiful and his pride and joy and he loved them very much. Jennifer has two daughters, Cynthia May Martin and Elizabeth Courtney Martin. Charles cherished his granddaughters.

Although Charles completed his GED in the service, he also completed high school after his discharge so that his girls would know he had graduated. He then studied art for two years at Weber State College while working two jobs. Charles and Vicki divorced. Charles then worked in various areas of construction but eventually resolved to become a carpenter, as Jesus had been. Along the way, Charles earned a degree in drafting. Charles’ father expressed that Charles should enjoy the work he chose and always do the best he could. In that vein, Charles applied his artistic talents to his work and especially enjoyed remodeling.

In September 1985, God brought Valerie Butler and Charles together. Charles took his nephew to speech therapy. Valerie, the therapist, opened the door and leaned against it. Charles took a long look from toes to head and would later say he knew he was going to marry her. When Valerie saw that look, she told herself, “Oh, no, he wants to ask me out.” Charles had just come from camping. After the session, Charles asked Valerie what she liked to do. Valerie thought she would test him by telling the truth: she enjoyed Bible research and fellowship. To Valerie’s amazement, Charles enthusiastically replied, “Me too!” They entered into a covenant with God and married on May 24, 1986. Charles called Valerie his soulmate.

They enjoyed their families, including many dogs and cats, traveling and camping. Most binding was their common belief in God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible. Eventually, Charles was compelled to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ including numerous mission trips to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Charles and a pastor from Uganda were the first to share the Gospel with certain Pygmy Peoples in the Congo. Through their ministry of Matthew 10:7-8, Charles and Valerie served schools, prisons, orphans, and widows.

Charles’ favorite verses were Romans 10:9-10, “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth, one confesses and is saved.” Charles committed to and shared this. He knew that God is faithful to His promises and that his Savior and Lord was Jesus Christ. This afforded him total peace as he finished his race. He knew that after he died, “when the Lord descends from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God,” the next face he would see would be that of Jesus.

A memorial service and military honors will commence at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 26, at Leavitt’s Mortuary, 836 36th Street, Ogden, UT 84403. The family will receive visitors beginning at 10:00 a.m. Attendees should arrive no later than 10:45. A luncheon will follow.

Donations toward Charles and Valerie’s ministry will be accepted at the mortuary. Checks may be made payable to “Valerie John.” Charles would also want you to consider becoming an organ donor. Thank you to all of Charles and Valerie’s care providers, neighbors, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ and everyone else who cared.


Leave a Condolence

Service Schedule

Service Information

Date: Saturday, August 26, 2017

Time: 10:00 am -

Leavitt's Mortuary


836 36th Street , , Ogden, UT, 84403

A memorial service and military honors will commence at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 26, at Leavitt’s Mortuary, 836 36th Street, Ogden, UT 84403. The family will receive visitors beginning at 10:00 a.m. Attendees should arrive no later than 10:45. A luncheon will follow.


Life Event Timeline

Help tell the story of Charles by contributing to the Life Event Timeline. Upload the photo of an event...

Post an Event

Timeline for Charles Norman John

Born: June 14, 1947
Died: August 13, 2017

Condolences for Charles Norman John

Jeanette loucel posted on 2/9/18

I still have the heater he and valerie gave me when mine was tagged not to use by pge . He took it from his prayer room and told me God had put it on his heart to help me.I will miss him. I know he is with the Lord and we will meet again someday.