JOHNSON, Gerald R. "Jerry" born in 1936 during the Great Depression to Swedish immigrants (Hildur and John), in Minneapolis, MN, died Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, at his home in Tarpon Springs, after a brief struggle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 77. Jerry lost his father at age 16, worked his way through college by playing trumpet in the Denny Murphy Dance Band and working summers for the Minnesota Highway Department building bridges. In 1958, he met the love of his life, Marcia (married 53 years). He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Electrical Engineering and secured a job with A T & T, where he began a 30-year career, which sent him all over the United States. He made unique contributions to the divestiture of the Bell Telephone System. He became Chairman and CEO of the A T & T Development Corp. After retiring he founded MJL, consulting for companies involved in the telecommunications industry. Marcia and Jerry retired to Florida. He was a lover of history and politics, an avid photographer and an active church member, serving on various church boards. His favorite endeavor was keeping up with his 8 grandchildren and he enjoyed telling others about their latest achievements. Jerry was quick with a joke and could make conversation with anyone he met. Jerry will be remembered as a patriarch of a family that is rooted in faith in God, education and family. He is survived by his wife, Marcia; daughters, Shelly (Jamestown, RI), Susan (Dallax,TX); sons, Stephen (Westfield, NJ), Scott (Marin County, CA); and their spouses, Peter, Sean, Leslie and Carolyn; eight grandchildren, Cassandra, Zachary, Joshua, Danielle, Ella, Beckett, Grayson and Chase. A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be on Saturday, March 1, 1 pm, at the Presbyterian Church of Palm Harbor. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Presbyterian Church of Palm Harbor or to Suncoast Hospice.
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Published in the Tampa Bay Times on Feb. 26, 2014