Ronald James "Ron" Johnson, of Kenai, went to the great parts house in the sky on Jan. 26, 2012 after a recent diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. In true RJ style, he left suddenly and without permission at his daughter's home in Anchorage.
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Services will take place over Father's Day weekend 2012 on a Kenai beach, to be announced. In tribute to his Norse roots, there will be food, drink and merriment. His ashes will be sent to Valhalla on a Viking ship set afire on the sea.
Ron's adventure started on Dec. 4, 1939. He grew up in Eastern Washington and graduated from Ephrata High School in 1957. He joined the Army National Guard and made his way to Alaska, tracing his father's footsteps. There he met Norma Wik, and they married in 1960. Their 29-year marriage included the births of two children and dabbled in both urban and sourdough lifestyles. Ron owned and operated a number of businesses, but the trade that finally stuck was real estate. He brokered several offices with the most recent being Real Estate Professionals and Kenai Property Management Company. He sat on Boards for the Real Estate Commission, Kenai Board of Realtors, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, and North Kenai Service Area.
To those unfamiliar, RJ's rough exterior sometimes hid the fact that he was a generous family man and entertaining host. There was always a warm bed, a heaping plate and full glass offered to everyone who visited. As a proud "full blooded Norwegian" he lived out loud with two speeds: charming and obnoxious. It was a delicate balance that won over the hearts of many who were lucky enough to share his world and his enthusiastic outlook on life, love, politics and the nature of the beast.
He was preceded in death by parents, Roy Johnson, Jewell (nee Toso) Grimm, "other mother" Lillian Will, and brother, Randall Johnson.
He is survived by his "No. 1 son" Rob Johnson (Kristiane Dambacher) of Nikiski; "darling daughter" Rona Johnson (John Ennenga) of Anchorage; grandchildren Rob Jr., Ryan James, and Randee Jewell; special friend and favorite go-to gal, Jeannie "Jean" Smith of Nikiski, Jeannie's children, Joleen White of Anchorage, Rick Smith of Nikiski and Mahle Smith of Grand Junction, Colo.; ex-wife Norma Johnson of Anchorage; "almost sisters" Mikel Reierson (Gene) of Gig Harbor, Wash., and Linda Lou Holzman (Michael) of Anchorage; "favorite cousin" Diane Johnson of Glendale, Ariz.; half brother Chuck Grimm (Kat) of Kenai; as well as many other dear friends (Joe Arness, Marty Radvansky, John Strachan, Jerry Rossi, Jeff Pasco and Shyamadeva Dandapani), cousins, family and pseudo-family.
Condolences and castigations may be sent in care of Rona Johnson, PO Box 90984, Anchorage, AK 99509 and will be shared during the celebration. In lieu of donations, the family requests those who are inclined to purchase a good bottle of bourbon and raise a glass to RJ. "With a hug and a kiss and a squeeze to our dad-Cheers! The world is a little less colorful without you."
Published in The Peninsula Clarion on Feb. 7, 2012