John Henry Meng born November 15, 1938, to Paul Meng and Emma Sterzer in Tooele, Utah. He left this earthly life to join his parents, sisters: Evelyn, Ruth, Louise, Beatrice, Delia, and his brother David on February 10, 2023.
Here are some memories of him from his nieces and nephews:
Everyone has an Uncle John story. Mine might be just a bit different.
He was a horse wrangler at the Boy Scout camp at East Canyon. When we got our horse Cocoa, we tried to ride double. Bad Idea. Just as I got on the rodeo started. It didn’t last long as we both went flying. He broke his arm and I made a three point landing, knees and nose.
We hauled hay in his blue Dodge power wagon down Parley’s canyon. Of course, we were overloaded. What a ride.
He keeps in touch with everyone by calling them on their Birthdays, Sundays and always Christmas.
He called me Tommy until I turned 50. So many more memories.
Uncle John would call me every Sunday. It was right after he had talked with Carol for 30 to 45 minutes. That meant we spoke for about 3 to 5 minutes. But he did call!
After Loren was left alone, John and him started to go to Dee’s restaurant for breakfast on Sundays. After they were through they would visit for a while at Loren’s, and I would join them at times.
My earliest memories of Uncle John involve our family pilling into the station wagon to go visit Grandma Meng on G Street up in the Avenues.
Also his cowboy phase, he and Tom riding Cocoa in the corral out in Holladay. I may just be remembering the stories, but I do remember him hitting the dirt and being a bit worse for wear.
Heading west of Salt Lake City to a firing range to fire a couple of his pistols.
The two of us visiting Yellowstone National Park. It was post the Tally-Ho era, so we stayed with the Holbrooks at Old Faithful. The highlight was an epic day of fishing on Yellowstone Lake with Uncle Sam in his boat. I don't recall ever catching so many big fish at one time.
In later years, it was weekend breakfasts when I was visiting Salt Lake. All of us sitting around mom and dad's kitchen table. Then, it was just John and dad.
Over the years he regularly visited all of his sisters, and later he kept tabs on all of us cousins via the phone. The phone rang every birthday and major holiday.
Going to miss that.
Uncle John was always there. He loved his family and always wanted to be there with them for their special times. He was always there quietly supporting me, never missing my family birthdays with a phone call. He called us every day to make sure we knew he was still alive. He was the first to come to family dinners and also the first to leave.
When I was driving him around Salt Lake City for his various appointments, he was amazed that I didn’t use the GPS and he always pointed out what was new. He couldn’t believe all the changes that were happening there. He always pointed out where the old Auerbach’s department store was where he used to work when he was young. He always called me at or around 9 am to tell me he was still alive and to complain about life, his favorite pastime.
John loved coming to Yellowstone and spending time with Dee. He looked forward to it every year and talked of it throughout the year. He also loved fishing on Yellowstone Lake, and it was something I loved as well, so I made it a point to always take him out in the boat when he came to visit. He always had a great time.
I actually met John before I married Maureen. He taught swimming and lifesaving at the Deseret gym. As a young teen working towards my Eagle in Boy Scouts, I took lifesaving from him. Thanks to him I earned that merit badge. It was not an easy one, but I must say John made sure we knew our stuff. He taught it the right way.
I have a lot of memories of Uncle John. I have great memories of him always at our home for every Sunday dinner as well as his visits to see us in Yellowstone. I think that my favorite memory of him is that every Christmas Eve we would invite him out to the house for our Christmas Eve program. We would start and end with a prayer, sing carols and dad would read the Christmas story from the bible and mom would recite Twas the Night Before Christmas. We all had to do something to participate and bless Uncle John's heart, he would be asked to give a prayer and he always participated. I know family was important to him because he always came every Christmas Eve, year after year. I will miss seeing him at Sunday dinners and I will miss his phone calls. I love you Uncle John.
I don't have a specific memory but the thing I remember the best about Uncle John is how good natured he was. We could tease him about Murder She Wrote or eating broccoli and he would just laugh right along with us. He was a kind and loving soul and always loved a good joke and a good laugh!
I can't think of a specific memory that stands out, but what I will always remember about Uncle John was his genuine interest and care for each member of the family. Whenever I saw him at Sunday dinner, holidays, or the event that is New Year's Bingo, he would take the time to ask me about my life and make sure that I was doing good. Even while I was away at dental school Uncle John would call every so often to check in on me. His family mattered to him and he made sure that we knew that he cared. He was a good man and I will miss having him here with us.
Uncle John was consistent. For as long as I can remember, he would always come to Sunday Dinner at my parents’ house. He wouldn’t stay long and was not much for deep conversation, but he was always cheerful and happy to see us. He would arrive a little early, so that he could read the comics in the Sunday paper and could typically be counted on for a chuckle or two at something he’d find humorous. He’d leave right after dinner, and for years he just had to get back to his place so he could watch and record “Murder, She Wrote.”
There were his annual trips to Yellowstone, and Uncle John would help my dad and I carry the boat from the road down to the lake and enjoy a morning trolling for trout. Sometimes when the fishing was slow, I would discretely bump the bottom of his rod to mimic a fish bumping his hook, and he would get so excited and start to reel in his line! However, it was way more fun to see his enjoyment when he actually did reel a fish into the boat.
Speaking of fish, Uncle John taught me how to swim, and he could swim like a fish. He was so patient with me getting used to the water and going over the whole breathing while swimming technique again and again. Thanks Uncle John!
For many years, Uncle John would join my dad and I on deer hunting trips. It is ironic, because he did not like the taste of deer meat. On one hunting trip, unbeknownst to him, he ate a bowl or two of chili made from deer meat and commented on how good it was. When it was revealed to him that it was made of deer meat, he instantly turned green and got sick!
Uncle John spent several years of his youth in the Boy Scouts, and perhaps that is where he gained a fondness for Native American artifacts, clothing, and accessories. Many of these things were very special to him, and I know he truly appreciated Native American craftsmanship and style.
For many summers, he took care of our pets at our home in Bountiful while the family was in Yellowstone. Now maybe he liked staying there because we had air-conditioning, but he not only took care of the animals, he also watered and maintained the lawn. Thank you, Uncle John!
The last several years, Uncle John would call on family birthdays and holidays to say hi. It was always nice to hear from him, and I will miss our conversations.
Looking back, I can honestly say I don’t think there was a mean bone in Uncle John’s body. He never spoke ill of anyone, and was one of the kindest people I have ever known. Godspeed, Uncle John. Say hi to the family for us. We’ll all be joining you soon! -Love to all, Mike.
Some of my favorite memories with Uncle John were the yearly treks to Tooele to visit Aunt Ruth. I would drive to his apartment from Kaysville and get in his Honda with all the bells and whistles. He would turn on his GPS with a lady's voice directing us through his parking lot to Iceberg at the end of his complex for a hamburger and a raspberry shake. He loved his GPS--that thing was always on.
On the drive out to Tooele he would tell me stories about his life. I enjoyed listening to these stories with the occasional "It's hard" thrown in.
I am going to miss the phone messages, "Dyan, this is your Uncle John." I love you Uncle John.
I have a couple of good memories of Uncle John. John took me to YMCA camp Rodgers in the Uintahs. He was a wrangler there.
He would take us up Settlement Canyon in Tooele inner tubing.
He would bring Grandma Meng and we would go pine nut and choke cherry hunting.
Uncle John’s favorite saying was “The Cardnal Rule of the Forest.” He was very good to Mom.
Kathryn (Anderson) Nunley:
I remember Uncle John taking us out by the Tooele Army Depot where they had horses you could rent, and he took us horse riding.
He was good to us, and my Mom loved him dearly.
Some of my favorite memories of Uncle John were when he would take us for rides up Middle Canyon to the Bingham Copper Mine overlook in his beloved Toyota Land Cruiser. I remember him driving so close to the edge of the very narrow road with my Mom in the front seat and she would swear at John and tell him to knock it off! John loved to tease Mom and she always got angry with him. Of course it never stopped him from teasing her.
I also remember the times in the mountains when we would camp and he always made us obey the "cardinal rules of the forest" - Leave your campsite better than you found it, enjoy the wildlife at a distance, stay on the trails, etc. He taught us to love the world around us and to care for it.
I remember him being dressed in his full outfit to go do an Arrow of Light
ceremony (at least I think that was what he was doing) and wanting to wear the eagle feather headdress he had. It was pretty amazing! He was pretty proud of that uniform! Being kids, we always tried to get a hold of it to dress up, but he never let us touch it!
John was always at every important event in our family life. He has attended all of my children's weddings! Pretty amazing for a bachelor of many years. He always told us he loved us and showed it by being there.
I regret not spending more time with Uncle John. I am sure he had some pretty amazing stories to share. Until we meet again, rest in peace and enjoy the family on the other side of the veil. I am sure they have welcomed you with open arms and much rejoicing that you have finished your sojourn on the earth!
There are people who you meet in life that have a profound impact on your life’s destiny. John Meng is one of those people. My uncle John was only 7 years older than I was and I had the good fortune to have had many enjoyable memories of him – here are a few of them that I would like to share.
When I attended the University of Utah, My Grandmother Emma, my aunt Louise, and Uncle John were living at 280 G Street in Salt Lake City. They will always have a fond spot in my heart for the goodness they extended to me during my studies there. I shared a room in the basement of their home with my Uncle John. He would often talk in his sleep and would sometimes wake me up but I was never able to understand fully what he was talking about during those lectures. Still it is a fond memory of him.
Uncle John worked for many years at Auerbach’s Department store in downtown Salt Lake. He participated in the Boy Scouts of America programs as a youth and also in the Order of the Arrow. While employed at Auerbach’s, he was able to talk the furrier there into using scrap pieces of mink fur to make him a headdress for his Native American Regale as a medicine man.
He used this attire for Order of the Arrow ceremonies and I nicknamed him “Watashe” and would often call him by that nickname rather than Uncle John.
John and I would often play racquetball for fun and we also took Judo lessons. It was at these lessons that we learned how to fall properly without injuring ourselves. The mats also helped a lot with that experience. Although neither one of us ever received a black belt, it still is a fond memory.
John loved to visit Yellowstone National Park and enjoy the wildlife and outdoors there. He always had his cardinal rules of camping that he would share with me and my siblings whenever we traveled to the park. I don’t know whether it was the training from his service in the US army, or his earlier boy scout training, or whether he just made up some rules on his own, but he had a lot of cardinal rules that he loved to share.
During my studies at the University of Utah, I was able to obtain employment at Luigi’s House of Pizza. It was located on the corner of 9th east and 21st South in Salt Lake City. I would often bring pizza home after work and when I would turn on the lights I would sometimes see cockroaches running for cover. The cockroaches always annoyed my Grandmother and she continually fought them.
John lent me his car one night to get to work and after finishing up it was about 2am in the morning. I was anxious to get home to bed so I was driving down 9th east and suddenly could not remember what I had done with my wallet. So I flipped and U-turn and sped back to Luigi’s. In my panic to find my wallet, I also ran about 3 red lights – no big deal since no one was on the street at the time – however when the police pulled me over and I told them what had happened. I must have sounded rather suspicious as I was driving a car that didn’t belong to me and I had no valid ID. The police followed me back to Luigi’s but the place was locked up and everyone had gone home. I was given a traffic ticket and required to attend traffic court bringing proper Identification. It was an interesting experience and John and I often laughed about it together. It really was his fault for lending me his car in the first place.
During the time I was living with John, my brother Raymond had purchased a Harley Davidson motorcycle and I had asked John if he wanted to go for a ride on it. He did and so even though I hadn’t really ridden it much at that time, we saddled up and went downtown to get on the freeway. I had to stop at a stoplight and there was a semitrailer truck in front of us. When the light turned green, I started up the motorcycle and it accelerated much fast that I would have imagined. We almost ran into the back to the semitrailer truck and had to lean over to go around it. I think John may have aged a bit from that experience – I know l did.
My grandparents and John once lived in a town called Garfield which was adjacent to the Kennecott Copper Smelter. I was about 12 years old at the time and remember seeing my first television show at one of their neighbor’s home with my Uncle John. There were about 20 of us staring at an old black and white television set that was a real big deal back then. The program was the Lone Ranger and was sponsored by Cheerios Cereal Company. So that was another adventure I was able to share with my Uncle John.
While I was still living with John, he bought a Toyota off road vehicle that we used to ride around in. We would often go off-road onto the mountains near where the University of Utah had its big letter U on the mountain. I was amazed at the places it could go without a road. We would often go for adventures in that vehicle and I miss those times.
I want to thank Kathy Andersen for all her care and assistance given to John during his final years. She has been a great blessing in his life. She arranged for my Brother Richard, Sister Kathryn, and I to visit with him on Thursday night just prior to his death on Sunday. John was very week at the time but was able to respond somewhat to our conversations with him. We will always remember that final visit.
Uncle John would often call members of our family on a regular basis just to say hello and that he was still alive and doing well. Over the course of these many years, he has lost many of his friends and all of his close family members. He would often say it’s hard and I would agree with him. I know that his family members will welcome him with open arms as he is reunited with them.
So in closing, Uncle John may I conclude with “God speed Watashe!” and thanks for the memories. Your favorite nephew – at least I hope – Dana Anderson
Special thanks to Dignity Home Health ● Hospice for their loving care. Special thanks to Sharlene and Jerley.
Thanks to Truewood for their care of John Meng.
A graveside service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 14, 2023, at the Memorial Lakeview Cemetery, 1640 E. Lakeview Drive, Bountiful, Utah.