Lyons Parks & Recreation department, Parks Commission
LaVern Johnson was on the Parks Commission (currently honorary position) for 49 years, since 1973
I am deeply saddened by the passing of Mrs. LaVern. She was the embodiment of community spirit. Her passion for parks is inspiring and her key involvement in securing much of Lyons original park land, funding for several of its initial crucial park projects and a 1% sales tax to ensure the future funding of parks and recreation was visionary. Lyons park system would not be what it is today without Mrs. LaVern. Her countless hours on the Parks and Recreation Commission, writing endless grants, and working on special events and programs is unmatched. She will be missed by so many, in so many ways.
……………………Dave Cosgrove, Parks & Recreation department director for 21 years
Wow what a Legacy Lavern has left us with and what an amazing example she set on how to create and protect a Community, the Parks and Open Spaces, and be engaged with people in a genuine and edifying manner. My time working for Lyons brings back some of my favorite memories. Laverne Johnson you will be missed , R.I.P.
……………………Pete Ditmon, past Lyons Recreation Coordinator (1998-2000); Grant Coordinator (2015)
Lavern was a force of nature with a progressive commitment to improve the town of Lyons for her entire lifespan. I was fortunate to have her support and guidance in numerous projects with Park and Rec Commission, especially the original whitewater park which at the time was a transformational project that was not possible without her support.
……………………Arn Hayden, White Water Park Project Director 2000-2002
Lavern was the best cheerleader ever! She showed up to everything. Any time I organized a community event, I always asked myself “where will Lavern sit?
…………………..Tanya Daty, Board of Trustees 2022-23
Lavern Johnson set the bar for all women leaders and advocates. She dedicated her whole life to making Lyons the best place in the world to live. We are all lucky to have known her. THANK YOU Lavern! May we all live by your example.
…………………..Jocelyn Farrell, Board of Trustees 2022-23
Lyons Redstone Museum
==Member, and then President of the Lyons Historical Society since 1976; (which was formed to save the Depot in 1973, and then went on to save the “1881 schoolhouse” in 1975)
==director of the Lyons Redstone Museum since 1979 (when it was officially dedicated)
————Lyons Redstone Museum————-
When I think of the Museum, I always remember LaVern and her original offer to me to join the Board.
I had known the Johnson Family since attending Junior High school with sons Jerry and Ron.
LaVern was always supportive, pleasant and energetic to me and my classmates through all of our high school years.
I returned to Lyons in the early 1980’s after graduation, military and college, and on occasion spoke with LaVern around town. On one instance she stopped to asked if I would like to become a Museum Board member since I had an interest in history. I said I didn’t think I had any experience or qualifications for the Museum or to be a Board member to which she responded, “qualification don’t really matter since at this point, I am willing take just about anyone I can get!!” She didn’t mean it in the way it come out, but we both laughed as I am sure she had asked many others before me without success, she was always looking for any help. Her voice and laugh were so distinctive, it is one of the many things I will always remember.
After signing on as a board member I found she was right about qualifications, board membership meant carpenter, plumber, and on occasion lawn mower for the museum.
She was a wonderful person and I feel like someone has pulled out a foundation stone.
………………..Calvin Schilling, Lyons Historical Society board member, since the mid-1980s
What a life she had. No one will come close to filling her shoes. Give my best to Jerry and his brother’s family.
She will be missed and in our thoughts and prayers.
She was a tree that stood solid in our midst.
She was a river that flowed by and through, accepting many changes.
She was a flower that bloomed with ideas.
She was a rock that was hard to crush.
She was Lyons – old and new.
She was a friend to many
She will be missed but will remain a part of Lyons forever.
…………..Denise V. Berg
Denise Berg and Ed (Denise did Lyons two history books, and they lived in Welch Resort/Kumferberg)
—————-Lyons Community Church———
She was our oldest living member of the church until her death. She helped compile the church history. She taught Sunday School at the church for 30 years, when she was young. She was instrumental in clarifying details about our November anti-racism event. We loved having her at church, and she did many things for children and people of all ages throughout the years as a wonderful community member and church matriarch.
……………….Pastor Emily Hagan, Lyons Community Church
Lavern was a treasured friend of my beloved Oma, Franzisca Stein, who was the original owner of The Black Bear Inn. My Oma fondly remembered her time here in Lyons and her friendship with Lavern (and Laverne!). After my Oma moved back to the USA (Virginia) following 2 decades in Germany, she rekindled her friendship with Lavern and they corresponded until Oma passed away this past December. I was thrilled to have them both attend one of the Lyons Band Concerts several years ago and we all laughed at how they were shrinking at the same rate of speed.
Lavern was an ardent supporter of the music program at Lyons. During my 21 years here, the only time she ever missed a concert was when she had a conflict with Town Hall meetings – and oh boy, she let me know that she was unhappy that I scheduled a concert that was during that meeting. For many years now, I have made an effort to keep our concerts off Town Hall meeting nights, as I know that she hated to miss the music events at Lyons. She was able to watch the May 4th Fine Arts Festival from her nursing care room, and she called me afterwards to chat about the performance. Through her final breaths, she made it known that one of her great joys was celebrating the successes of the students at Lyons schools.
I am deeply grateful to be able to live and work in the amazing community of Lyons. If I had not been lucky enough to secure this job at Lyons Middle Senior High School, I would have never been able to bask in the rays of Lavern’s shine. She will be missed, and forever celebrated.
……………….Karen Gregg, director of bands, Lyons Middle/High School
Mr & Mrs LaVern were the first people we met when we came to Lyons, and they became like family. When I wanted to start a botanic garden, LaVern offered to have our group be under the umbrella of one of the Town nonprofits that was used for the parks. That allowed us to apply for grants from the LCF. LaVern did all the paperwork, and helped us in every way to do fundraising.
She also told me that I needed to be on one of the Town boards in order to start this botanic garden, so I joined the Ecology Board, and served on that for several years. We talked about the botanic garden often, and how all we needed was the land. She encouraged me repeatedly to go look at different parcels around Lyons that might work. One time she told me to go look at some land “by the bridge that washed out in 1969.” Well, since I didn’t live in Colorado then, and the bridge was missing,….. I had to ask for directions.
Finally when the 2013 flood left Lyons with several buyout properties where nothing could be built again, LaVern encouraged us to be the first to submit a proposal for one of the lots. When the Foothills Mobile Home Park site became available, we asked the Town Board in December 2018 if we could lease it, and they voted in favor on the spot. LaVern shared our joy every step of the way, and also donated money to our plant fund.
LaVern seemed to have a knack for seeing what is possible, and persevering, never getting discouraged. And she motivated us to do the same!
Now we have a gorgeous native plant botanic garden to share with our community, and LaVern is very much a part of its formation.
……………………Garmina Fairfax, director of the Rocky Mountain Botanic Gardens – Lyons
——————–Lyons Film Festival (8 years)—————-
LaVern and Jerry came to film festivals and she always offered observations and had questions and was very supportive of the Lyons Film Festival. Many hugs and warmth to La Vern’s son Jerry who lovingly was always by his Mom’s side so that she could and did attend so many town events and concerts and openings and festivals and was a strong and involved person in Lyons and its growth. She was and is an amazing image who brought so much spirit and spunk to our town . She will be missed
………………….Jackie Brennan, director, Lyons International Film Festival (2014-22)