Bernard F. Johnson(1932 - 2014)

Bernard ("Bernie") Franklin Johnson, 82, of Old Saybrook passed away August 8 at Middlesex Hospital. Bernie's life was remarkable for his 53-year marriage to wife Jane, strong relationships with his three daughters and eight grandchildren, and longtime relationships with friends across the country. A generous, benevolent, and unusually kind man, Bernie put family first throughout his life. His exemplary character and integrity remain an enduring, shining example for many. Born in Evanston, Illinois in 1932, Bernie grew up in nearby Park Ridge, Illinois, the son of Irma and Franklin Johnson. He earned an engineering degree from Northwestern University and an MBA from Butler University. Bernie served in the U.S. Navy and spent his entire career with commercial printer R.R. Donnelley & Sons. While working in Crawfordsville, Indiana, Bernie met Jane Williams. The couple married in 1960 and had their three daughters, before transferring to Old Saybrook. Singing in several choral organizations provided Bernie fulfillment and joy throughout his life. These included Cappella Cantorum and 35 years with his First Church of Christ choir. Other pastimes were golf, playing with his grandchildren, and traveling with Jane. Long-distance running was a passion discovered in Bernie's 40's. He ran the Boston Marathon at age 50. Bernie's fanaticism for sports was lifelong. He was most fanatic for his Northwestern University Wildcats, Chicago Cubs and Bears, and UConn basketball. Besides Jane, Bernie leaves behind daughters Julie Peterson (Winnetka, Illinois), Jennifer Sell (Powell, Ohio), and Angela Kulmann (Old Saybrook), sons-in-law John Peterson and Brian Sell, and eight grandchildren: Audrey, Lankston, Conner, Bennett, Trevor, Bradley, Nora and Drew. Bernie was preceded in death by his mother Irma, father Franklin, sister Lynn Johann and son-in-law Jaret Kulmann. The Johnson family wishes to express deep appreciation for the compassionate care and support provided by their excellent home caregiver team, as well as that of the Middlesex Hospital Hospice and Palliative Care staff. A memorial service will celebrate Bernie's life Saturday, August 30, at 11:00 a.m., at the Old Saybrook First Church of Christ. The Johnson family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations please be made to First Church of Christ in Saybrook, for special music programming. Checks can be sent to First Church of Christ, 366 Main Street, Old Saybrook, CT 06475, attention: Music Fund.

Published in The Hartford Courant on Aug. 12, 2014