Rye Beach - Edmund Eugene Johnson Jr., 84, of Rye Beach died at home surrounded by his loving family on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013, after a full and generous life and a long struggle with breast cancer.
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He was born on Oct. 23, 1929, in Cambridge, Mass. He and his younger sister, Torvy, grew up as first-generation Americans with a strong sense of country and a firm understanding of the responsibilities of being good citizens. Hard, honest work, love of neighbor and the reliance on one's own abilities were values instilled in them during the difficult years of early childhood. No excuses. Life is what you make it.
Using this ethic earned Ed the rank of Eagle Scout and then entrance to Tufts University and a coveted place on the football team. Despite his comparatively short stature, no one wanted to be found staring at the team captain across the line of scrimmage. Ed was also known for his capabilities on the wrestling team, heavyweight division. After graduation, he joined the Marine Corps. He continued to excel at football and contributed to the team at Quantico before serving a tour of duty in Korea as a Marine infantry captain. A Silver Star and a Navy commendation recognized his selfless and devoted service to country and comrade. To many, he was ever after known as Captain Ed.
Following Korea, and after returning to Tufts to complete a master of educational administration degree, Ed married his sweetheart, Anne Patterson, beginning 57 happy years together. He worked for such fine firms as Nashua Corporation and United Shoe Machinery as vice president of human resources. He was a strong competitor, representing these companies in labor negotiations, and was once told by a union officer, "I must tell you that you are not well-liked, but you are respected."
In spite of long hours at his career, Ed's first love was always family. He and Anne raised three precious girls: Janice, Susan and Carole, who, along with their own families, remained his great joy. Family gatherings were times of sharing, laughter and reminiscing, with Ed reveling in his role as family patriarch.
Ed always had projects and activities both to challenge him and make the world a better place. He was several times the New Hampshire Handgun Sharpshooter Champion and was on the Hollis police force, serving as a lieutenant weapons instructor. He taught hunter safety to children and found great joy in helping young minds learn. Ed was a member of St. John's Lodge AF&AM and remained an active Mason for over 50 years, achieving Master Mason.
Ed was honored to be named Marine of the Year in 2007 and 2008 and was called to the Oval Office to receive a commendation from President Bush for his leadership role in founding the Pease Greeters. Ed served as president of this organization and grew participation dramatically during his five-year tenure.
In his typical, positive approach to life, Ed responded to his own medical diagnosis by doing his part to spread the word about breast cancer, especially in men. "Mr. Breast Cancer" came to us as "November" in the 2011 Breast Cancer Support calendar. With true comedic flare, he even participated in a fundraiser/awareness fashion show as the only male model.
As anyone who has been welcomed to their home can attest, Ed and Anne loved to work together in their yard, meticulously creating various types of gardens, stone walls, pathways and hedges. Their large lawn and diverse landscape brought many hours of pleasure - both in the creation and in the ever-evolving result.
Ed is survived by his wife, Anne; and three daughters: Janice Johnson and her daughter, Brittany Welton; Susan Beaman and spouse, John, and daughters Lauren Ward and spouse, Dustin, and Gwen Beaman; and Carole Johnson and spouse, Carol Murray. He also is survived by his sister, Torvy Hurd, and spouse, Albert, and their two sons, Jonathan Hurd and spouse, Tracy, and children, Roger Hurd and Keely Hurd; and Christopher Hurd and spouse, Erica, and daughter, Amelia Hurd.
Captain Ed, we will miss you dearly. You have indelibly shaped our lives with courage, excellence and love, and we are all better for it.
SERVICES: Visiting hours will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. with Masonic services to be held at 7:30 on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in the Remick & Gendron Funeral Home Crematory, 811 Lafayette Road, Hampton. A celebration of life will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 30, at the United Church of Christ, 295 Atlantic Ave., North Hampton, with full military honors immediately following the service. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited. Burial will be at a later date in the N.H. State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen.
In lieu of flowers and at Ed's request, donations may be mailed to My Breast Cancer Support, P.O. Box 1576, Portsmouth, NH 03802 or made online at www.mybreastcancersupport.org/support/donate.htm. Please visit www.RemickGendron.com to view Ed's memorial Website, sign the tribute wall or for directions.
Remick & Gendron Funeral Home
811 Lafayette Road Hampton, NH 03842
Published in Union Leader on Dec. 26, 2013