Real Ogden

Your Town, Your Stories: Mary Johnstun

April 3, 2017

'There’s an incredible sense of community and connection'

Mary Johnstun stands in front of her Shadow Valley home in Ogden. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)
Mary Johnstun stands in front of her Shadow Valley home in Ogden. (BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner)

By CATHY MCKITRICK, Standard-Examiner Staff

Real.

In a nutshell, that’s how Mary Johnstun feels about Ogden.

The 39-year-old entrepreneur has lived in Ogden with her husband and son for the past three years. In a recent Standard-Examiner survey, Johnstun ranked Ogden as safe and said the best thing about it is “that it's not your typical snobby mountain town. Ogden is real — full of real people, great art and adventure right outside our door.”

“We’re big fans,” Johnstun said. “We love the size of the city, it’s right on the mountains. There’s an incredible sense of community and connection. If you want to find your people, you can just reach out. Everyone here has this Ogden authenticity.”

Johnstun grew up in Kansas, then met her husband, Kase, while doing an internship in Utah. The couple lived in Salt Lake City for about five years, moved to Illinois, then Tacoma. But Utah ultimately lured them back, this time to Ogden.

Both Mary and Kase Johnstun enjoy working from their Shadow Valley home as partners in Lexicon and Line, their research and technical communications company. At times, she said they miss their East Bench home above Ogden High School, but relocated several blocks south to have more home office space.

“The company is in its third year, and it’s been interesting. Right after graduate school, I landed in the recession and wanted new challenges,” Johnstun said. “Ogden feels like a great spot for entrepreneurs because you’re surrounded by people with ambition who think outside of the box.”

And when their work winds down, they often end up on Historic 25th Street, enjoying its unique restaurants. They also gravitate to Ogden’s arts community, and Kase, an avid runner, helped launch Ogden Pub Runners, a group devoted to life’s simple pleasures — namely running, eating and drinking beer with friends.

“In Ogden, you could buy an amazing house for a reasonable amount, you could live really well and have proximity to the mountains,” Johnstun said. “It’s blossoming, but not losing any of its community charm. It feels like a town, but a really cool town.”

Contact reporter Cathy McKitrick at 801-625-4214 or cmckitrick@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @catmck.