Born June 14th, 1934 – Died April 15th, 2013
Our Mother, Our Angel on earth and Our loving friend leaves behind a great legacy.
She is an icon and true American Hero gone but will never be forgotten.
We all love you and miss you Momma…
Until we meet again.
Born June 14th, 1934, Joanne Gloria Savenski, Hallock, Nielsen, famously and lovingly known simply as, “Johanna“, laid in a coma at her home for nearly a week. She miraculously woke up and opened her eyes on April 15th, 2013 at 7:10 pm with her family at her side; Johanna looked up and reached her hand towards heaven, then took her last breath and passed away.
Born on the South Side of Chicago to Joseph and Helen Savenski, Johanna grew up in the Big Windy City living in the back of the family owned Tavern. At age 16, she met 34 year old Carl Edward Hallock. Johanna, at a graceful 5’7 inches tall and with her magnetic personality, fibbed just a little bit, telling Carl she was 21 years old. The two fell in love and were married then moved to California to start a life. Johanna and Carl had 5 children all who were born in California named; Karlyanne, Scott, Helene, Steven and James.
Johanna enjoyed being a stay home Mom raising her 5 children and instilling in each of them courage, honesty, to be God fearing, to work hard and to have the belief and ambition that they could accomplish anything. She taught them to be tough and to never give up and if one child started to cry saying they bumped a head or hurt an arm, she would ask, “Are you bleeding?” and when the answer was “No”, then she would say, “Then you are fine, keep going”. If one child fell down and skinned a knee she’d say, “Put some spit on it and never give up”.
Johanna, throughout her young life, had to endure the struggles of Carl moving around the country so much as a result of his ‘Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome’ (PTSD) due to being in World War II. Carl would quit his jobs and move at a whim over 23 times living all over California, Washington, Colorado and then Utah. Carl’s PTSD and jobs continued to take him away moving him around the country, but Johanna had, had enough of up-rooting and moving her family so she firmly planted her feet in Utah and stayed.
Once being a stay home Mom, Johanna was now a single Mom of 5 children with not a dime of financial support and rather than give in, she “put some spit on it and never gave up” and went to work for the first time in her life to support her family.
Johanna found a job at the only thing she knew how to do best, food service, and she was very good at it. Of course, after taking care of and feeding her 5 kids, she earned the title to be called a master chef creating delicious meals sometimes out of very little. One favorite breakfast for all the kids was her famous “Teddy Bear Pancakes” and homemade “raspberry jam” on a scone, still made and served to this day.
After working hard for someone else, her mother one day told her, “why are you giving away your energy”, do something for Johanna”.
That inspired something big in Johanna and from that day forth she decided to step up and do something for herself.
It was quite a challenge back in the day for ALL women to succeed. Because of the time and era men were considered the only bread winners and women all over the world were still looked down upon as second class citizens and not recognized. But, Johanna decided she did not have time for that kind of nonsense or “stinkin thinkin” and with her head held high she moved forward and never looked back. Her dream was to own her restaurant business.
She recalls that she picked out two locations to open her business. One spot was located in busy Holiday City Utah hustling and bustling with lots of people and the other location was the complete opposite. It was in a lonely place that seemed to be at the end of the world called Sandy City Utah, in fact, the location was actually the farthest business south of anything in Salt Lake City, a small coffee shop with only 5 booths and 14 counter stools nestled in the corner half of a larger building.
Knowing what we all know today about Johanna, it would be correct to say, that it was almost like she felt that she had something in common with the Sandy City location and could at that time relate to that little lonely place, a place so far away from everyone, a place that seemed like no one wanted and no one recognized… just like she herself felt. However, with her magical personality, her energy and drive to make small things great, and with her positive thinking and ability to see the future, she envisioned that one day the little lonely place at 9725 South State Street would be crowded with people and lines of customers would be out the door waiting to come inside and enjoy her home cooking.
And so, her vision began to come true. On February 14th, 1971, she opened “Johann’s Kitchen”.
For the first 30 days she had to beg, borrow and smile to come up with enough money to purchase the food she would be serving for the day’s breakfast, lunches and dinners for the farmers, mink ranchers and cowboys. After working 20 hour days and ringing up only a grand total of a couple of hundred dollars for the day the restaurant began to actually turn a profit. Only a few short years later and with lots of love, dedication to customers and hard work, Johanna bought the entire building and the land next door to make a large parking lot for lots of customers to park.
Johanna continued to hold fast to her vision of a successful restaurant. It was no secret that she was a believer that “whatever you give out will always return to you many times fold”. So, Johanna gave and gave and gave and continued to give everywhere she could. She paid her employees more than the minimum wage and some of those employees stayed with her for over 30 years, she supported LDS Missionaries serving missions, kids and grandkids going to college, and she gave to multiple charities and would always feed anyone for FREE who could not pay for a hot meal. God Bless Johanna, forever.
To this day, Johanna’s Kitchen continues to be a thriving successful family restaurant and Johanna’s vision of lines of people out the door waiting to come inside and enjoy some of that good old fashion home style cooking lives on…
But, the good food was not all that came out of Johanna’s Kitchen … the story will continue forever… You see, Johann’s Kitchen was a magical place where several people not only ate and financially supported their families but met the loves of their lives and got married. From this, lots of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were born and blessed Johanna’s life so very much… all because of a dream and a little place called, Johann’s Kitchen.
In September of 2001, Johanna sold the restaurant… but her name continues to live on and the restaurant is still named and will forever be named, “Johanna’s Kitchen”.
Johanna lived life to its utmost fullest. She mostly enjoyed her family, her grand and great grandchildren. She traveled the world and continued her hobby and love of raising and racing horses.
In 2005 Johanna was diagnosed with breast and lymph node cancer and later on with emphysema due to second hand smoke working in the restaurant all those years. Cancer was spreading rapidly throughout her entire body, but she never gave up and was positive. Since “spit” wouldn’t work, Johanna underwent surgery for a mastectomy and then endured the rigorous treatment of chemo therapy. She lost all of her beautiful white hair and most of her teeth but to everyone she was so beautiful, just like an angel, inside and out.
As sick as she was everyday going to chemo therapy treatments, she would walk into the treatment center with her bald head and a toothless smile and hug, encourage and tell all the other patients how beautiful they were and that they were going to be alright. She would then stay by their side as they too would endure the treatment.
Johanna eventually survived cancer and continued to live a cancer free life. Afterwards, she lived life full of gratitude for every day that she was alive. She enjoyed her entire family all day long and especially her little dog scruffy, that smelly little animal who loved her more than anything.
She loved to play cards, Rummy was her game, and she could not be beat except by Gloria, her care taker and friend for many years. You would walk into the front door of the house and she’d say, “come on, let’s play a hand” as she would get up, walk to the kitchen table and start shuffling the cards. What we would not give to hear her say those words again, see her smiling face and hear her laugh, just one more time.
Johanna accomplished so much in her 78 years of life that it would be impossible to write down everything. It is best to say, that she was an amazing women full of courage to succeed against all odds. She had the ability to change anything and any situation for the better and she had a contagious smile and laugh that would make you forget any problems you ever thought you had. She was kind, loving, giving and deeply dedicated to all her friends and family, especially her children, her grand and great grandchildren.
She loved her friends, especially Von Vicchrilli, her lifelong friend and companion for over 30 years who was a true cowboy who was loving, supportive and always there for her.
Although her accomplishments were countless, some selective ones are as follows:
- · Single mother of 5 great children
- · Founder of “Johanna’s Kitchen” February 14th, 1971
- · City, State and World Famous “Successful Entrepreneur“.
- · Featured in countless “Success magazines, articles and newspapers”
- · Proud recipient of numerous “Successful Women and Business” awards for excellence.
- · The 2000 “George Baily Award for Life Service” award.
- · The 1999 “Salt Lake Magazine Utah Top 100, Best of the Beehive” award.
- · The 1998 “Distinguished Service” award.
- · The 1998 “City Weekly Best of Utah” award.
- · The 1997 Sandy City, “Women of the Year” award.
- · The 1996 “Sandy City Best Small Business” award.
- · The 1993 “Utah Chamber of Commerce ASSO. And Total Citizen” award.
- · Master Chef of “Good Old Fashion Home and Country Style Cooking”
- · God Fearing, Teacher, Positive Thinker, Giver and loyal Friend to countless people all over the world.
- · And needless to say, her greatest accomplishments ever… Mother, Momma, Grandma, Great Grandma, Oma and Big Oma.
Rest in Peace Johanna