Loved ones hold vigil for Utah father-to-be who died on way to job interview

Posted at 9:24 PM, Feb 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-04 23:51:37-05

GRANTSVILLE, Utah -- Family and friends remembered a Grantsville teenager and father-to-be who was found dead in the snow in a rural area of Tooele County this past week.

A candlelight vigil was held for Johnny Doerr at Grantsville Reservoir Saturday night.

The typically dark, desolate park was illuminated by hundreds of people holding candles in remembrance of Doerr. The reservoir was one of his favorite places.

"One of the things he loved most was fishing, and I know throughout our childhood we spent most of our days out here just swimming and fishing,” said Kristin Odom, one of Doerr's cousins.

However, the swimming and fishing all took a back seat once Doerr found out he was going to be a dad.

"That's all he ever talked about right when they found out they were expecting, you could just tell a change in him," Odom said. "He was so happy and so excited for all of it."

The family said Johnny was determined to provide for his girlfriend Mickey and their unborn daughter.

He was on his way to a job interview at Energy Solutions in Clive on January 26 when his car broke down in a rural area. In frigid conditions, he started walking to find help. He was found dead five days later. The family said he just couldn’t survive the weather.

"My son got lost and he was going to be a dad, and that's all he wanted," Christopher Doerr said of his son.

Christopher Doerr said he's not surprised that most of Grantsville came out to the vigil. His son seemed to have made an impact on everyone in the tight-knit community.

"He would give the shirt off his back for anybody in this place right now," Doerr said.

Hunter Doerr, Johnny's brother, remembered the way his sibling looked out for him.

"I remember I was scared to get on the bus in the morning, and he'd walk me to the bus and tell me everything would be alright,” Hunter Doerr said. "He was my brother. Me and him were together every day. It's going to be rough.”

Hunter Doerr said it helps to know that, even though his big brother may be gone, his spirit will live on.

"He's got a beautiful baby girl on the way, and I'm glad that he put good into the world," he said. "He continues to put good into the world by leaving us something we can remember him by."

Before Johnny passed away, he and Mickey decided to name their daughter Breklee. She is due on February 28. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Mickey and Breklee at Johnny Doerr Funeral & Baby Fund.