Thursday, 20 February 2020

John W. Johnson

John W. Johnson. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – John W. Johnson was born March 23, 1939, on the Hoopa reservation, near Table Bluff, California.

John’s father, Ralph, passed away the same year of his birth. His mother, Ruby, was his first example of kindness, generosity, warmth and compassion for all living things.

He grew up in a large loving family with his sister, Beverly, and his older brothers: Roland, Walter and Robert. Ruby married Axel Stout and they were blessed with his three younger brothers: Oscar, Sid and Jack.

Hunting, fishing, carving and drawing were activities John enjoyed throughout his youth. He and his friends often came home with salmon, venison, and duck. They were assisted by his favorite cocker spaniel, Dooney, who proved to be a great retriever.

John grew up learning about the importance of education from his mother and sister, who tutored him through his youth.

After graduating from Fortuna High School, he enlisted in the US Army. He served much of his tenure in Germany, in the Machine Records Unit. Upon receiving an honorable discharge, John continued his education. He graduated from Humboldt State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in business administration.

A proud member of the Wiyot Tribe, his mission in life was to promote health, education, unity and wellness among tribal and non-tribal people.

John was committed to bringing prosperity to tribal people in his work throughout California. He achieved this by fighting for recognition for those tribes that had lost their status. He wrote grants and ran programs for health and education. He never missed an opportunity to bring tribal leaders and members of the whole community together to work toward a common goal.

John had a vision that tribal and non-tribal people will prosper together and that the diversity seen around the table will make us stronger in our leadership and more compassionate in the process.

John joins his parents and each of his siblings in the Spirit World. He is deeply missed by his loving wife Amanda, and his son, Kevin, who made him proud to be his Dad.

His love for his tribe and his family was strong, and he spoke fondly of them. John’s family includes his nephews, Albert Jr. and Jerry; great-nieces, Anita and Gail; goddaughter, Lena; numerous cousins; and far too many loved ones to list, including Lynette, Renee, Sonia and Turtle.

Many of his friendships lasted a lifetime. Longtime friends include Deni Leonard, Lilian Hoikka, Dale Risling, Thomas Leon Brown and Les Miller.

John's recent work includes the Native American Community Education Center, the Circle of Native Minds wellness center and the Historic Courthouse Museum in Lakeport, California. His co-workers were close friends. They shared his passion for their work and his enthusiasm for helping others achieve their goals. He will be greatly missed by all of us.

A memorial service will be held at Chapel of the Lakes Mortuary on Nov. 30, at 11 a.m. Also, a celebration of John's life will take place at a later date near Table Bluff.

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