Richard Norton Johnson

May 30, 1939 ~ February 2, 2022 (age 82)


Richard N. Johnson passed away Feb. 2, 2022, at home in Salcha surrounded by some family members and friends as he wished.

Dick was born May 30, 1939, in Jamestown, NY and moved with his parents to California in 1945. His school years were spent in several communities in California. Dick entered the US Navy following high school graduation where he started a career as an electronics technician/radioman. He had a wonderful 9-month cruise on the aircraft carrier USS Shangri-La touring the Pacific Ocean. Then his flying began with 17-month tour flying in recon planes during the cold war.

After discharge from the Navy Dick married KayD in North Hollywood, CA July 31, 1961. He then worked for Lockheed Aircraft building Navy planes. Dick and KayD moved to the High Sierra mountains for remote wilderness lifestyle, and he worked at China Lake, CA navy base doing research and development of naval warfare for 18 years. The long commute was getting harder in winter, so he learned to fly and used a Cessna 170 for daily travels. In 1979 he moved his family to the Salcha River for more remote living Alaskan style. Over the years building log house, shop, generator shed and even an airplane (Kitfox) in their shop. Dick was an instrument rated commercial pilot from age 34 and put several thousand hours in his own planes flying to work daily from the river gravel bar across from his home. Dick retired from the FAA in 1994 but continued to share his love of flying and boating with all who knew him and even strangers he met on the river.

Dick was a loving husband and father who showed his sons how to live a life of self-reliance and adventure with a smile and an always joking fun attitude. In 1997 he went on a 5-year journey sailing around the world in a 36-foot sailboat with his wife, returning twice to his loved Salcha home before settling down to more land travels with an RV.

He is survived by his wife of 60+ years, KayD; sons Robert (Tina), Jeffrey (Daniele) both from WA; grandchildren Jeffrey from NV, Crystalynn from CO, Amanda from AK and great-grandchildren Calista from CO, Jason and Tyler from AK; his sister Joyce from CO and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his father, mother, and eldest sister.

His sons shared with him beautiful poems telling him how important he was for the lifelong skills, adventures and memories that formed them into good men. Now he can rest in peace.

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