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Robert W. Johnson


1936 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Robert W. Johnson Obituary
Robert W. Johnson, 79, died Tuesday, January 19th at Memorial Hospital at Easton in Easton, Maryland, after a long illness. Bob leaves his wife, Sandra Johnson; his three daughters, Laurie A. Johnson Keller and her husband Scott of Harvard, MA., Leslie J. Johnson of Acton, MA., and Lisa M. Perkins and her husband Sheldon of North Yarmouth, Maine; his two step-sons Christopher F. Graves and his wife Jennifer of Sandy, Utah, and Jeremy C. Graves and his wife Rachel of North Grafton, MA., his brother, William Johnson and his wife Sheila of Fort Myers, Florida; six grandchildren, Emily and Christian, Libby, Maggie, Alison, Jackson; and a nephew, Todd Johnson and his wife Andree of Tewksbury, MA. Bob was born December 19, 1936, in Methuen, MA, and is predeceased by his parents, William and Gladys (Roberts) Johnson and his sister Donna Johnson Caffrey. Both sets of Bobs grandparents had emigrated from England and Sweden to work in the Lawrence Mills.. Bob attended Methuen schools where he led his graduation exercise as senior cadet. His interest in the military led to a four-year service in the United States Air Force. He served in such contrasting places as the tropical Eniwetok Atol, part of the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific, to frigid Presque Isle in the northernmost reaches of Maine. After military service, Bob worked as a technical writer first for Raytheon Corporation and then for Digital Equipment Corporation before retiring. In addition to his day job, Bob was a well-known and accomplished New England-based jazz guitarist and composer. His album, Musings, is enjoyed by people around the world. One of the highlights of Bobs musical career was playing with the Phill Argyris Quartet in Pont-Aven, France. In the Greater Boston area, Bob had the pleasure of playing with Herb Pomeroy, Peter Kontrimas, Joe Hunt, Peter Diodati, Jim Gebo, Phill Argyris, Gerry Wilfong, John Connolly, John Lockwood, Dennis Kistler, Bob McHenry, Bill Pierce, Stan Strickland, Ron Savage, Ron Mahdi, Phil Grenadier, Lance Bryant, Bill Johnson, Sheldon Perkins, Quique Arroyo, Gwenn Vivian, Ralph Deflorio, Rick Maida, Margot Law, Mark Jodice, Steve Kirby, and John Wilkins. During Bobs young adulthood, before dedicating his craft to jazz, Bob played with dance bands Jerry Bellanti and the Bell-Airs as well as Rico Barr and the Boston Barristers. Bob and Sandie lived in Stow, MA., for 22 years and were active members of the Stow Unitarian Universalist Church. In later years, they enjoyed the opportunity to live in Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, England, where they made many dear friends. While there, Bob connected with local musicians, performing a number of local concerts. The most formal of his appearances was an afternoon playing for and at the request of the Lord of the Manor in Chipping Campden. Returning from England, Bob and Sandie moved to warmer climes in Easton, Maryland, where Bob continued to play music until his recent illness. While in Maryland, he played jazz with bassists Joe Byrd and Dave Ross and pianists Jim Lester and Joe Holt. Bob was honored with the inclusion of his photograph in the book Faces of Jazz by Ruth Williams alongside Dizzie Gillespie, Rebecca Parris, Artie Shaw, and other widely notable jazz musicians. From childhood on, Bob was a lifelong supporter of the Boston Red Sox. At age 12, he wrote a letter to the Sox challenging the team to a sand lot game in Methuen, saying and if you dont show up, well know youre chicken. Years later, Johnny Pesky autographed his biographical book Mr. Red Sox with the note, To Bob, We were scared. Johnny Pesky. A celebration of Bobs life will be held at a later date. For online tributes, please visit www.fhnfuneralhome. com
Published in The Boxborough Beacon from Jan. 28 to Feb. 11, 2016
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