MIDVALE - The podium stood empty, for a few silent moments, at the time designated for members of the congregation to speak. Perhaps everyone concluded Ty Johnson's father, siblings, wife and closest friends had already said it all.
    In any case, it was an appropriate turn of events. Johnson himself never said much. It was a quality that made him a good fishing partner.
    And it made the words he did share all the more important.
    At his funeral Wednesday, those who knew Johnson best shared their recollection s of moments they'd shared - many of them simple or quiet, but nonetheless meaningful - with the 28-year-old soldier before his deployment to Iraq.
    Johnson was killed April 4, in Kirkuk, in a roadside bomb attack on his Humvee. His wife and two children - one three years old, the other two - sat in the front row of the mortuary chapel, nearest his flag-draped coffin, as the slain soldier's father led the congregation through the service.
    Johnny Lee Johnson maintained a stoic presence as he welcomed the hundreds of mourners in the chapel. "I'm so proud of my son," he said. "I'm so proud of the service he gave. He was so happy doing what he did."
    So happy, in fact, that he'd recently reenlisted for another six years in the Army. Family members say he was excited to be experiencing history "as it happened." Following the most recent Iraqi election, he'd called several people to proudly recount moving 40,000 ballots from polling stations for counting by Iraqi officials.
    Johnson's twin brother Blake was just two minutes younger than Ty. "But ah, those two minutes were long," Blake Johnson said after his brother's remains were laid to rest at a nearby cemetery. "I think I was always in his shadow. He was such an amazing person."
    Blake Johnson said he tried to make up the difference in presence by being the louder of the two twins. His brother, on the other hand, never needed to shout.
    "Ty was very refined," he said. "When he spoke, his words were important and were worth listening to."
    That much was starkly clear as the Johnson boys' sister, Brook Barnes, recalled moments in which her brother bettered her life through simple but profound acts of kindness, and through simple but profound words.
    When Barnes' daughter, Madyson, was born more than two months premature, Ty Johnson had held his sister with one arm and stroked the soft skin of his tiny niece, cradled in a hospital incubator, with the other hand.
    "He said, 'Don't cry, Brook, you'll get to hold her soon,' " Barnes remembered.
    And when the tiny little girl passed away shortly thereafter, Ty Johnson held his sister again.
    "And he said, 'Don't cry, Brook, you'll get to hold her again soon,' " Barnes said.
    While even his closest friends, parents and siblings, knew Johnson as a quiet man, Lt. Col. Marty Holland knew the younger soldier as one who very much enjoyed speaking about his beautiful, red-headed children.
    Johnson was Holland's driver in Iraq and Holland figured he'd spent more time with Johnson than anyone else, over the past year.
    "He was my friend," Holland said, his booming voice cracking. "He will always be my hero."
    As other mourners departed the cemetery on the windy afternoon, Johnny Lee Johnson looked over his son's casket and spoke of better times.
    He recalled catching a 14-inch fish in Big Cottonwood Creek, letting it go and then bragging to his son about the fish's size and the place where he'd caught it.
    The next day, Ty Johnson called his father. "I got him and he's in the pan," the son simply said.
    Johnny Lee Johnson laughed at the recollection.
    "No, he didn't say much," the father said, "but he always said a lot."