Dr. Richard Alan “Dick” Johnson, 88, died on July 4, 2021 in Jacksonville He was born on December 22, 1932 in Pittsburgh, Pa. to the late Virginia Elizabeth and Baxter Edwin Johnson and graduated from Peters Township High School with the Class of 1950. He attended a number of class reunions that became yearly luncheons, sometimes planned around Dick’s trips to Pittsburgh. He thought highly of his classmates and kept in touch with them throughout his life. After high school, Dick attended and graduated from Muskingham College in New Concord, Ohio majoring in chemistry. Life became an adventure for a while when he joined the Army rather than waiting to be drafted. He was assigned to language school in Monterey, California and became an interpreter in the Army intelligence. He was then sent to Germany where he had shipped his car, an old Cadillac formerly owned by his dad. This was a rare possession for an enlisted man. He and his buddies went on sight-seeking trips across Europe when they were able to get passes. Before being shipped home, Dick traded the Cadillac for a flashy black Volkswagen. He said six family members commuted to school or work in that car in Pittsburgh. Another side of his Army time in Germany was spent playing basketball for the Northern Area Command. In 1957 the team won the championship and evidently Dick won the heart of a beautiful Fraulein, Ursula Kuhlwetter who along with her girlfriends followed the Army basketball team. She followed him all the way to Pittsburgh and they married. After his stint in Germany, Dick returned to Pittsburgh and worked as a chemist for Heinz Foods. Finding testing baby foods less than rewarding, he entered the University of Pittsburgh Dental School. He and his brother Ed both graduated in the class of 1962. Along with Ursula and new daughter Christina, Dick moved to Macclenny. He was recruited by the Northeast Florida State Hospital as a dentist in residence. Later he established his own practice in Baker County and two more girls were added to the family, Susan and Betsy. Driving on the spur of the moment, vacation outings in the family boat, trips back to Germany to visit with Ursula’s family, tennis games and skiing trips were some of the family’s favorite activities. Dick also went into politics, becoming a Macclenny city commissioner and serving faithfully for more than 20 years.
In December of 1990, Dick’s beloved Ursula died, and in 1992, he married Carmean Tribble Furr, a widow who was a close friend of both he and Ursula. Together they traveled to many places, beginning with a honeymoon in San Francisco. Other trips were taken with family and friends, some to Wisconsin, some to D.C, several to Europe, one to New Zealand and one to China. Their last together was this year to the Keys with all his girls and other family members. It was a good last trip and he enjoyed it so; boating, seeing the sunsets and eating great food. Following that, Dick also made a trip to Treasure Island where he visited with siblings Ed and Sue and other family members. He lived a full life.
Other than his wife, Dr. Johnson is survived by daughters Christina Kienitz (Paul), Susan Pontigas (George) and Betsy Johnson; step-daughters Nancy McGovern (Doug), Lauren Furr Vancini (Jeff) and Julie Hubbard; brother Baxter Edwin Johnson (Bobbie) and sister Sue (Len); grandchildren, Ashley, Austin, Morgan, Mitchell, McKenna, Lauren, Kristina, Charlie, Sam, Abbie, Jessalyn and Joseph and one great-grandson. He was also pre-deceased by sister Jane.
A funeral service to honor the life of Dr. Johnson will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, July 9, at the First United Methodist Church in Macclenny, Florida with Pastor Bryan Simpson officiating, assisted by Rev. Dr. Laurie Furr-Vancini (his step-daughter) of the Palms Presbyterian Church of Jacksonville Beach. Interment will be at Woodlawn Cemetery in Macclenny. Visitation and gathering with the family will begin an hour before the service at the church. Guerry Funeral Home of Macclenny is in charge of arrangements.
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