Harold “Hal” Edwin Johnson passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 17, 2013, at the age of 93 in Aberdeen, Washington, after a brief illness. He was born July 1, 1919, in Galesburg, Illinois, the second of three children born to Ed and Marie Johnson. His family moved to Sacramento, California when Hal was three years old, where he grew up with his sisters, Louise (Cullivan) and Margaret (Whitfield).
After high school, in 1938, he joined the California National Guard 184th Infantry Division achieving the rank of transportation Sergeant. In 1943, he transferred to the U.S. Army Air Corps, was promoted to Second Lieutenant and received his pilot’s wings. In 1944, he flew his B17 Flying Fortress bomber “Little Patches” on 35 missions over Germany with many a close call. After World War II he graduated from Armstrong Business College with a degree in Business Administration.
After the war he met the love of his life, Phyllis Everhardt, and they were married on August 23, 1947. They established their home in Stockton, California, where they raised two daughters, Carol and Patty. Hal worked as a tax auditor for the State of California until his retirement in 1980. He continued his military duties in the U.S. Air Force Reserve for over 40 years until retiring in 1979 with the rank of Lt. Colonel.
Even in retirement Hal stayed active in many leadership roles, including president of the California State Employees Association and president of the California State Employees Credit Union #6. He was a member of the 91st Bomb Group Veterans Association and served a term as president. His leadership abilities, knowledge, and sunny disposition served him well throughout his life of professional and personal service. He was an active member of Presentation Catholic Church throughout the more than 60 years that he and Phyllis lived in Stockton. In 2011, he and Phyllis moved to Aberdeen to be closer to his daughter, Carol and her husband, Bob Kegel.
As important as his civil, professional, and military service was to him, he took great joy in his family. He is survived by his wife, Phyllis; daughters, Carol (Bob) Kegel of Aberdeen and Patty (Jon) Gorski of Colorado Springs, Colo.; grandchildren, Jenny, Michael (and wife, Jennifer), and Kathryn Kegel, and Joe, Annie, Steven (and wife, Christa), Patrick, and Matt Gorski. He is also survived by his sisters, Louise and Margaret.
Hal and Phyllis enjoyed their retirement years traveling the world and visiting their grandchildren. He will long be remembered by his family and friends as a man with a warm heart and ready smile, who loved to tell a good joke.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 22, 2013, at St. Mary Catholic Church in Aberdeen. A rosary will be recited at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, March 22, 2013, at St. Mary Catholic Church. Memorial donations may be made to Catholic Charities.
An inurnment service with military honors accorded by the McChord Field Honor Guard will be held at 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26, 2013, at the Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, Washington.
Funeral arrangements are through Coleman Mortuary, 422 – 5th Street in Hoquiam, WA.
A message of condolence or of a memory can be left for the family at www.colemanmorturay.net.