Obituary: Kelly Faye Johnson
July 18, 1970 – April 24, 2021
Kelly Faye Johnson, born into this world on July 18, 1970, in Denver, Colorado, to Joyce and Jim Johnson was unapologetically a force to be reckoned with. Kelly knew who she was and was brave enough to live up to it. Kelly could do anything with a little profanity and sarcasm. Okay, a lot of profanity! Kelly was a salty one with a snappy sense of humor, a quick temper, and a love for all things rejected, twisted and dark. Kelly recognized early on that being normal was not necessarily a virtue but rather a lack of courage.
Kelly and her puff of soft brown hair with a mind of it’s own, brown eyes with stories to tell, worrisome little hands always fidgeting, was a day dreamer and a night thinker. Kelly believed that if the tables didn’t turn, it was her place to flip them over. Kelly’s favorite feature was her tongue. Sticking it out for pictures, that is. When she was really being silly, her nose wrinkled up and her eyes almost closed when she laughed. And she laughed a lot.
Tough but filled with compassion, Kelly cried her eyes out at the drive-in movie as a little kid when King Kong was getting shot down by helicopters. Kelly was never one to fuss over clothes or hair. She was simple but complicated. Kelly was a talented student academically, she excelled in sports, she loved playing softball, swimming, and track. Kelly graduated from Moffat County High School in 1989 with friends that became friends for life.
After high school Kelly earned a degree in criminal justice. She worked as a 911 dispatcher and eventually poured her compassion into a career as a youth services director where she cared for young people who struggled to fit into a society that could be cruel to an underdog. She was a fierce advocate.
Kelly was a momma first and foremost. She brought Justin Dale Updike into the world and later, Jordan Tate Goodwin. Her grandbabies, Paisley, Oakleigh and Jameson were showered with love and will be beyond this life. Kelly loved her nieces and nephews, too. She was always one of the “kids” and appreciated mischievous shenanigans.
Kelly lived most of her life in Craig Colorado but she had an intense burning to be where she wasn’t. Sometimes the place a person is used to is not the place they belong. In 2015 Kelly packed herself up in a Ryder truck and made the nearly 700 mile trek to Montana to start writing a new chapter.
Landon Padgett, the man who made Kelly’s eyes shine with so much love, is her partner now and forever. Landon and Kelly spent the best years of her life together. Montana became the home where Kelly was accepted and loved unconditionally in a place where she could feel the sun from the inside out. Kelly found peace on the back of their Harley and her biker bandanas and boots were as much of a part of her as her tattoos. Second only to biker boots were Kelly’s flip flops. She loved her flips! Some of Kelly’s other favorite things, no filter-Fridays, wind, sun, water, breakfast tacos, rock and roll, the bird, the shocker, and some Atlanta Rythym Section in the smoking lounge.
Kelly was a firecracker in a world of sparklers. Ask for a match and Kelly would bring a wildfire. She didn’t know how to love small. Kelly was not a girl made of sugar and spice. Kelly was made of witchcraft, wolves and raw emotion. Kelly is a brilliant star that didn’t fit into society’s beige boxes. Kelly embraced her ridiculous awesomeness and will now forever shine like the supernova she was meant to be.
Kelly is preceded in death by her father Jim and survived by her partner Landon, her children, Justin and Jordan, her mother Joyce, her sister Misty and brothers, Matthew and Martin, and three grandchildren.
A Celebration of Kelly’s Life will be held on Saturday, May 8, 2021, 12 noon, at the Luttrell Barn in Craig, Colorado.
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