Debra, age 71, passed away November 4, 2023 at her home in Sandy Utah with her husband and children at her side. She fought with cancer during 2022 and won the first battle, but the cancer came back more aggressively in Fall 2023 and in just a few weeks took her life.
She was born December 2, 1951 to Paul Palur and Genevieve Bywater Palur in Salt Lake City. Debra grew up in South Salt Lake and graduated from Granite High School in 1970, where she enjoyed the opportunity to sing in choirs and music groups. After high school she went on to the University of Utah where she graduated in 1974 as a Registered Nurse with a Bachelors degree.
Debra and Tony Johnson got married on September 23, 1975. After a year of marriage, they moved into their Sandy home on Ida Lane where they've lived together for 47 years. It was here they raised their four children – Emily (Nathan) Helgren, Spencer, Danielle, and Katelyn.
Debra was always proud of her Hungarian ancestry on her father's side. She loved music and singing and learned to play the guitar in her youth. Debra continued to play throughout her life and sought opportunities to share her music. As a life-long active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she served in multiple Church organizations. Her favorite calling was working with the children in Primary, both as a music leader and a teacher. Debra retired from active full-time nursing to raise her children but continued as a loving caregiver to those around her. She loved the Christmas season and winter with its pure white newly fallen snow. She was a “dog person” and had a dog in the home most of her life. She loved and enjoyed many old movies, particularly those from the era of Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, and Doris Day.
Debra is survived by her husband, all four children, twin grandsons Magnus & Ragnar Helgren, and sister Pam (Duane) Derfler. Preceded in death by her parents.
Funeral services will be held on November 9th at 11:00am, LDS Stake Center 1850 East 8600 South, Sandy Utah. Visitation at the Stake Center 9:45 – 10:45 prior to the funeral. There will also be visitation 6:00 – 8:00pm Wednesday November 8th at Memorial Mortuary, 5850 South 900 East, Murray Utah. Interment will follow after the service at the Elysian Burial Gardens, located on 1075 East 4580 South, Millcreek, Utah 84117. The Funeral service will be broadcasted and will begin at the time of the service.
In lieu of flowers, we suggest a donation to your favorite charity or perhaps Huntsman Cancer Institute.