Service Date: 04/16/2018 at 11:30 AM
Messiah Lutheran Church in Auburn 410 H St NE, Auburn, WA 98002
Donald Curtis Johnson passed away April 11, 2018, at Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Washington, after an off and on battle with cancer over the last nine years. He was born March 21, 1935, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
He was an honor student and graduate of Wilson High, Class of 1953. He graduated cum laude with a B.S. in chemistry at Hamline University where he also acted in several plays including starring in the first off Broadway production of the Arthur Miller play The Crucible in the role of John Proctor. During his senior year of college, on October 27, 1956, he married his high school sweetheart, Lois Benson. He then went on to the University of Minnesota pursuing a doctorate in organic chemistry.
Don and Lois began their family in st. Paul and then moved to Appleton, Wisconsin in 1961 where Don both took a job teaching at the Institute of Paper Chemistry and finished completing his thesis to earn his Ph. D in March of 1962. He taught graduate students for 15 years and earned his first patent.
The family grew to include three children and they remained there until 1977 when the family moved to Auburn, Washington. There Don began his new job with Weyerhaeuser rising to the title of Senior Scientific Adviser in Fiber Chemistry before retiring in 1997. At this point he had earned six additional patents and was a well-respected scientist in his field. He was recently recognized for 60 years of membership in the American Chemical Society.
Don's outgoing, community-minded spirit kept him involved and contributing to the enrichment of others throughout his life. He loved sports and was an enthusiastic Seattle sports fan. Don's drama talents served him well as a frequent lecturer at church, and church council utilized his leadership skills. During retirement he became a volunteer with the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library for the Blind, and he served 20 years as a volunteer at Green River College in the Court Reporting and Captioning Program, portraying lawyers, expert witnesses, and judges.
Don was a beloved son, brother, father, and grandfather. He cared for his bride Lois during her journey with Alzheimer's for many years while also battling hard against his cancer. He so enjoyed being a grandfather and was proud of all of them. Don kept busy caring for the many birds in his yard. Taking his family on trips to the ocean was an annual event. He also enjoyed crossword puzzles and was an avid reader. Don didn't let cancer stop him from living and loving, and his faith kept him strong till the end.
Don was preceded in death by his mother and father, Frieda and Virgil Johnson, and his wife Lois. He is survived by his three children, Steven, Susan Martin (Dan), and Karen Marez; his grandchildren, Kate Neale (Daniel), Trey Marez, and Kahlee and Taylor Martin; his sister Diane Nichols of Everett, Washington, and many cherished nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at 11 :30 AM on Monday, April 16, 2018, at Messiah Lutheran Church in Auburn preceded by visitation at 11 AM. A reception will immediately follow the service in the Gathering Hall. Donations in Don's name can be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the American Heart Association, the Alzheimer's Association, or Messiah Lutheran Church.