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Robert Reiner Johnson Ph.D.


1932 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Robert Reiner Johnson Ph.D. Obituary
Johnson, Robert Reiner Ph.D,

85, on the morning of August 18, 2017, Bob's brilliant flickering soul light left his body and joined the magnificent stars. He is off on his next great adventure, but oh how he will be missed.

Bob was born in 1932 in Chicago, Illinois to Carl A. Johnson, M.D. and Mary Johnson. He spent his early years learning all he could and making mischief with his siblings. He especially loved spending summers at the family's cabin on Elk Lake in northern Michigan.

Bob was always a hard worker and a lover of learning. He graduated with honors from Brown University, and then obtained his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Rice University, followed by post-doctoral studies at Johns Hopkins University.

In 1959, Bob moved to Louisville, where he later met his beloved wife, Mildred (Millie) Wallace Johnson, to whom he was married for 37 years until her passing in 2004. Bob was a devoted husband to Millie and an exceptionally engaged father to their only child, Julie, whom he continued to refer to as "the Varmint" until the end. Bob took great delight in being with his granddaughters and in the trips he took with them annually to Michigan.

Bob had a distinguished career, which included obtaining several patents, while working as a research chemist at Brown & Williamson from 1959 until his retirement in 1991. After retiring, Bob enjoyed traveling with friends and family. If Bob had a motto, it would be "Let's get out of this house and see something!" Bob was a regular at Milestone Fitness Center, which became a place of sanctuary for him after Millie's death.

In addition to Millie, Bob is preceded in death by his parents and his siblings, Lois Blake, Donald Johnson, M.D., and Beatrice Walter.

Bob is survived by his daughter, Julie Johnson (Gary Preece), and his granddaughters, Lilly Fulks, Isabel Fulks, Millie Fulks, Rachel Preece and Mariel Preece. He is also survived by his companion, Shirley Howard, who brought him much joy and comfort in the last 8 years. Bob's family would like to thank Hosparus for their support in the last month and Home Instead for providing wonderful caregivers to Bob for the last two years, with special thanks to Nancy Collins.

Bob's celebration of life will be at 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 2, 2017 at Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church, 4936 Brownsboro Road, Louisville, Kentucky 40222. Visitation will be from 1-3 p.m. that day, also at the church. Bob will be buried at Cave Hill Cemetery at a later date.

Bob lived simply, generously and without pretense. He was an optimist even in the face of adversity, and he took each day as it came. Whenever someone asked Bob how he was, he always responded, "Fantabulous, and I'm getting better every day." Bob got it right. Be like Bob.
Published in The Courier-Journal on Aug. 27, 2017
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