Frank Johnson was born on April 13, 1931 in Miami, FL to Frank Johnson Senior, who died before he was born, and his mother Marjorie (Liggins) who then married his stepfather, Eugene Rundecker. Frank served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and was awarded two Bronze Star Metals. When Frank came out of the Army, he started working for Charlton Press Comics doing humor comic books, including "Lil Genius", "Lil Tomboy", "Rock and Rollo", "Double Trouble", "Lil Rascal Twins", and "My Little Margie's Boyfriends". Frank continued drawing comic books for Charlton Press including "The Flintstones", "The Jetsons", "Tiger", "Alley Oop", "Huckleberry Hound", "Yogi Bear", "Beetle Bailey", "Hi and Lois", Dudley Do Right", and "Underdog". He won awards in 1972 and 1978 for Best Comic Book Humor Cartoonist at the National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award dinner held at the Plaza Hotel, NYC. If an award were given out for the best husband, father, and friend he would have won it hands down. Frank created the newspaper gag comic "Beany" for the Chicago Tribune which was published in many Connecticut newspapers. Frank Johnson along with Gerald Gardner conceived a gag cartoon series named "Miss Caroline", about President Kennedy's daughter in the White House, which was a best-selling paperback comic book. He worked for Al Smith on "Mutt and Jeff"; he also did a cartoon for the Saturday Evening Post. In addition, he drew "Pee Wee Harris" for Boy's Life magazine.
Blackthorne Publishing released a book "Boner's Ark" with stories, art, and cover by Frank Johnson. Frank worked for Mort Walker on his "Beetle Bailey" comic strip doing the inking and lettering. Frank also worked for Dik Browne and then his son Bob on the "Hi and Lois" comic strip doing the inking and lettering and sometimes the penciling. Millie helped her husband on the comic strips, blacking in were needed, ruling up the pages, and erasing the finished strips. Her help allowed him more time to be with his family and friends. His last two King Feature worldwide syndicated strips were "Boner's Ark" originated by Mort Walker and "Bringing Up Father" originated by George McManus. Frank continued to work on "Hi and Lois" until he retired from cartooning in 2012, at the age of 81.
Frank also loved to golf. He was invited to play in Johnny Hart's B.C. Open PGA Pro/Am golf tournament multiple times. He and all the other golfers vied for the longest drive MCI trophy. Each golfer was allowed two drives. Everyone took two drives but Frank, he took one drive. Johnny told him he had one more drive coming to him, but he thanked him and said one was enough, he was so afraid of hitting the spectators that were lined up. Frank with his one and only drive won for Best Long Drive and Johnny was quite impressed. That is how Frank lived his life, always considerate of other people, in being a loving, kind person and friend. It showed when Frank insisted on taking Millie to her Senior Prom even though he had surgery the day before on his toe and the top half of his shoe removed. He was always thoughtful even when it hurt. He always enjoyed going to Fred Waring's Shawnee on the Delaware, where he oversaw the cartoonist's golf tournament. He enjoyed Sports Night dinner for the cartoonist held in New York City where famous sports figures would come and sign autographs, being invited to the circus with his family and eating with the clowns, going to the Daytona 500 for a cartoonist event, and bowling with his cartoonist friends once a week in the winter months. Frank loved to travel, we took our family to Rome, Italy, which was beyond belief. Also, to Miami, Florida for many years, Cancun, St. Thomas, the Bahamas, and some cruises. Frank and Millie went to London and Paris where they had such a wonderful time. They traveled in other places as well. They loved going to Foxwoods Casino. They very seldom lost - honest! He was a big Yankees fan and loved going to see the games with his family. He also coached his son's baseball team for many years.
Survived by his loving wife Millie Johnson, his sister Carol Gleason, his daughter Joni Kollar and partner Jim Bonfietti, son Frank A. Johnson Jr. and partner JoAnn Wojcik, son Charles P. Johnson and wife Mary Johnson, grandchildren Rachel Rose Kollar, Jamie Bonfietti, Kenny Bonfietti, Frank L. Johnson Jr. Kaitlyn Johnson, Brooke Peterson, Charles Johnson Jr., Marissa Johnson, Kristen Johnson, Anthony Johnson, and Isabella Johnson, many nieces and nephews including his favorite niece Karen Gantek. He was predeceased by his parents Frank Johnson Senior, Marjorie and Eugene Rundecker, in-laws Angelina and Charles Costa, sister Marge White and brothers Marty Johnson and George Rundecker, also niece Marybeth Clayborn and nephew Zachariah Gleason.
Published in Connecticut Post on May 13, 2020.