Roy M. Johnson

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Johnson, Roy M.
86, of Sun Lakes, Arizona passed away on July 21, 2013. Husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, veteran, professor, & world traveler, Roy began his next adventure last Sunday surrounded by many he loved. Carl & Ebba Johnson brought Roy into the world on September 8, 1926 in Chicago, where he grew up amid family and a wealth of friends. His passion for service and love for this country was demonstrated by his attainment of Eagle Scout status, and an active role in Jr ROTC in high school, leading to his enlisting as a 2nd LT in the army upon graduation. Roy was part of the Occupation forces of Japan, a duty that engaged his enthusiasm for travel, culture and learning, leading to several world tours in his retirement years, as well as numerous and varied travel opportunities during his professional life. Upon returning to Chicago after the war, he found true love with a bright, attractive nursing student named Betty Lou Schutt - and courtesy of the GI bill, further developed his early love of science and pharmacology into a fulfilling lifelong career as a microbiologist, receiving his Master's Degree from the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. in Microbiology from University of New Mexico. His early enthusiasm for Zane Grey novels and western movies prompted he & Betty Lou to make their home in the Arizona desert, a move he often said was the best in his life. He joined Arizona Teacher's College in 1952 as an instructor, returning post-doctorate in 1955 as an Assistant Professor. During his tenure, he was among the first to bring federal grants to the growing campus, watched the college develop into Arizona State University, and was instrumental in the development of the Department of Botany/Microbiology that exists today. He was an integral part of ASU since 1952, and served the university as a full Professor for over 20 years, earning Emeritus status upon his retirement. He was fully engaged in his profession as he published widely, and accepted research opportunities from a variety of organizations including NIH, NSF, Eli Lilly, Smithsonian & the Office of Naval Research. He was most proud of his mentoring role in the early career development of scientists and doctors who worked & learned as graduate students in his lab, and he followed & enjoyed their career and personal successes. He was active in those organizations that shared & encouraged the development of science, and earned Fellow status in several, including the American Society for Microbiology, American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The primary cornerstone of Roy's life however, was always family. He ensured that he was present, involved and committed to his wife Betty Lou, and his 4 girls. As more family members came west, that love and commitment expanded to included parents, siblings and in-laws. The family enjoyed camping, hiking and fishing, and later the hands-on construction of the family cabin up north, which became a summer refuge from the desert heat for Roy & Betty. Family time was filled with games, movies, swimming, travel, and always opportunities for learning something new. As the family expanded to include new sons-in-law and grandchildren, Roy easily absorbed them into his sphere of love & family. Commitment, steadfastness, honor, loyalty & love were not mere words to Roy, but the bedrock upon which he lived his life. His memory lives on in the hearts and lives of his family and friends. Roy was predeceased by his beloved wife of 42 years, Betty Lou; and his parents, Carl and Ebba Johnson He is survived by his loving companion Donna, sister Dorothy McWhirter, and daughters: Renee (Frank), Roberta, Rhonda (Don) and Regan (Carlos); his grandchildren, Brett, Cole, Elesha, Megan, Craig, Kristin and their spouses; his niece Joyce and nephews Ric and Larry; and his great grandchildren Caleb, Carter, Roman, Lily & Addison. A simple graveside service will take place at Green Acres Mortuary on Thursday, July 25th at 9:30 am. A Celebration of Roy's life is being planned for a time in late fall, and will be open to all who wish to remember him. Services by: Green Acres Mortuary 401 N Hayden Road Scottsdale, AZ 85257 In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to one of the following in his honor: Hospice of Arizona ( Arizona FoodBanks ( Salvation Army ( Neighbors Who Care (

Published in The Arizona Republic on July 24, 2013
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