Wayne Johnson (1921 - 2016)

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Wayne Dean Johnson
October 9, 1921 - July 17, 2016
Wayne Dean Johnson, 94, of Nampa, Idaho, passed away on July 17, 2016. He was born on October 9, 1921, in Nampa, Idaho. Wayne was the oldest child of Ambrose Wilford Johnson and Leta Fern Firkins. Wayne lived his entire life in Nampa except for a short time away at college and service in the Navy.
Wayne attended his early years of school in the Lower Fairview area. At age 13, the family purchased a farm on Franklin Road and he transferred to the Nampa School system. Wayne graduated from Nampa High School in 1939. Wayne grew up doing the usual farm chores in addition to raising Jersey cows and Poland China hogs to show at the Western Idaho Fair. The prize money earned, and sales of the livestock, would provide his initial money for college.
Wayne married Lela M. Seeger on October 17, 1939, in Moscow, Idaho. They spent 76 years together, for which they were admired. Wayne and Lela spent their early years in Moscow while Wayne attended the University of Idaho majoring in Animal Husbandry. During this time, their children Anita and Alan were born. They returned to Nampa in 1944 after Wayne was drafted. Their daughter Kay was born after the war in 1947.
While Wayne was waiting for basic training orders, he worked in the warehouse of a local seed company. During this time, he decided the seed business might be a good profession after his time in the Navy. Wayne completed basic training and then attended radio school in Chicago. Lela and the two kids joined him in Chicago for his six-week training course. Radio was not to his liking, so Wayne traveled to San Diego and boarded a ship on its way to the Philippines. His ship docked in Hawaii. At that time, the Commander of the Pacific Fleet was looking for office help. Since Wayne could type, he spent the remainder of his service time in Hawaii.
After Wayne completed his active duty, he returned home and went to work for Northrup King Seed Company in the office. He soon moved to garden seed production, became a field man, and finally garden seed Production Manager. Wayne was instrumental in developing many of the hybrid sweet corn varieties available. A summer night at the dinner table would include a new variety of corn under development, complete with code number. Wayne would explain to his family the characteristics of the male and female seed, and the desired result. In 1983, after 37 ½ years, Wayne retired from Northrup King Seed Company, later Agrigenetics Seed Company.
Wayne joined Toastmasters club to improve his communication skills. He continued to attend after retirement and was an active participant for over 50 years. After retirement, Wayne joined a barbershop quartet, which gave him much joy until his hearing prevented him from participating.
During the late 1950's, Wayne developed an interest in photography. He honed his skills at family gatherings and documenting he and Lela's travels. Northrup King published a company newsletter, sponsoring photo contests Wayne would enter, winning several awards. Wayne and Lela were able to travel to 49 states, 5 continents, cruise the Panama Canal, and spend a winter in Mexico and several in Arizona. They also belonged to a Good Sam club in the Nampa area and spent many weekends seeing southern Idaho attractions.
Wayne will be remembered for, his large garden, beautiful flowers, photography, dry sense of humor, and his regimented routine.
Wayne was preceded in death by his wife Lela, parents Ambrose and Leta, twin sister Wanda, brother Eugene, and daughter Kay Cox. Wayne is survived by his brother Sumner (Betty) Johnson and family of Nampa, daughter Anita (Larry) Laveroni of Belgrade, Montana; son Alan (Sharon) Johnson of Boise, Idaho; and son-in-law Al Cox of Bothell, Washington. 7 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren also survive Wayne.
The family would like to express their gratitude to the staff at Karcher Estates Assisted Care and Auburn Crest Hospice for their kind and gentle care.
A graveside service will be held on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 at 10 a.m. at Canyon Hill Cemetery, 2024 N. Illinois Avenue, Caldwell, Idaho. Arrangements are under the direction of the Nampa Funeral Home, Yraguen Chapel where an online guest book is available at www.nampafuneralhome.com
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Idaho Commission for the Blind.


Funeral Home
Nampa Funeral Home Yraguen Chapel
415 12th Avenue South
Nampa, ID 83651
(208) 442-8171
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Published in Idaho Press Tribune on July 24, 2016