Dr. Franklyn Johnson

Dr. Franklyn A. Johnson Bonita Springs, FL

Dr. Franklyn A. Johnson, of Bonita Springs, passed away on July 24, 2013. Dr. Johnson was born November 6, 1921 to Robert B. and Olyve Eckler Johnson in Honeoye Falls, near Rochester, NY.

He leaves behind his beloved wife, Elena; devoted daughters, Terri A. Cochran and Sandra Cole Fox; three grandchildren, Elizabeth J. Stevens (and husband, Billy Stevens), Kevin F. Johnson, and Alexander F. Johnson; three greatgrandchildren, Trevin F. Stevens, Trinitee Stevens, and Tristan Johnson; and numerous cousins.

He was preceded in death by his son, Franklyn A. Johnson, Jr. (Chip).

Frank lived in Miami Beach and went to Miami Beach Elementary School. Then he attended Riverside Military Academy. Before volunteering for WW II, he attended Rutgers University and completed his education there following the war, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He was given a Fulbright Scholarship and went to the University of London in 1951 to 1952. He holds a Harvard Ph.D. and five honorary doctorate degrees as well as numerous other academic honors.

Most of his early life was spent in Florida where his father served as an immigration border patrol inspector. During WW II his mother was head of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. She flew bombers from Kansas to Newfoundland. She was not permitted to fly them to England because women were not allowed to combat zones. His father was commandant and head of the Military Science Department in Washington.

Frank Johnson's military career in WW II epitomized the motto of his first Infantry Division: 'No mission too difficult, No sacrifice too great, Duty First.' He was a first lieutenant in the 18th Regiment of the First Infantry Division. He made three invasions, fighting in North Africa, Sicily and Normandy, France. He was highly decorated: the Silver Star, three Bronze Stars, three Purple Hearts, and the Distinguished Service Medal. He received the Croix de Guerre from France and the Legion of Honor from the French Government. Ten days after landing in Normandy he was shot by a German sniper. He ordered his men back, saying 'I'm dying.' His family was informed that he was killed in action, which was a terrible blow to his parents. German doctors took out part of one lung without anesthesia at a POW camp. The Red Cross informed his parents that he had survived. Frank Johnson loved his division and his comrades, and until the day he died he mourned their loss. Very few men gave more to their country, their family and their comrades. In 1989 Frank Johnson wrote, 'I have tried to operate my life and career with a sense of personal responsibility.'

Frank Johnson was a great American, a great patriot, who devoted his life to his country and serving others. He was president of three universities; he was the first president of Jacksonville University, president of California State University in Los Angeles and president of Southwest Florida College in Naples. He was head of two major national foundations and head of the National Job Corps in Washington, DC under President Lyndon B. Johnson. He also worked for the CIA for two years. He was a prolific author. Johnson's earlier published books include the noted war volume, One More Hill, recently reissued by the First Infantry Division Foundation. He was asked by Lord Mountbatten of England to write his life story. Two more books of non-fiction were Defense by Committee and Defense by Ministry. After retirement Johnson wrote eight books of fiction and wrote over 50 short stories and scholarly articles.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be given to the Wounded Warrior Project.



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Published in Naples Daily News on July 25, 2013