Paul Lewis JOHNSON
1948 - 2020
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JOHNSON, Paul Lewis August 17, 1948 - November 14, 2020 (Age 72) Moscow, Idaho - Paul Lewis "PJ" Johnson was born in Fargo, North Dakota on August 17, 1948 to Robert Marshall and Elaine Barbara (Olson) Johnson. During his childhood, he found a love of archery shooting. This sport became a favorite activity in which Paul and his father would compete. The whole family, including his mother, older brother, Jim and younger sister, Barbara would travel around the United States to competitions. In 1960, at age 12, Paul became the National Junior Archery Champion. Paul graduated from Fargo North High School in 1966 and enrolled in the United States Marine Corps. Paul was a member of Second Platoon, India Company, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment during most of 1968 in Vietnam. He was the Squad Leader for the machine gun teams and served on Hill 881 South at Khe Sanh. F. Phil Torres, retired Colonel of Marines described the gun teams "like a security blanket. When we heard their sound, we felt everything was going to work out okay. [Paul] was special. What he and his Marines did for us was unique. [Their] guns were the trumpets that lifted our spirits and brought us all together as one fighting unit." Paul was honorably discharged on May 1st, 1970. After his service with the United States Marine Corps, Paul moved back to Fargo, North Dakota to attend North Dakota State University where he earned an Animal Science degree. Upon completion, he moved to Pullman, Washington to begin his career at Washington State University School of Veterinary Medicine. He spent the next 30 years as the Instructional Supervisor in the Veterinary and Comparative Anatomy, Pharmacology and Physiology department, now Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience. PJ was key in establishing and managing the Worthman Anatomy Museum and provided expert oversight of the veterinary anatomy area in McCoy Hall. During this time, almost every single vet student would pass through the lab. All who were lucky enough, had the occasion to write part of their story with PJ. He was just that type of person; always willing to lend a hand and share something to take along in life. He helped generations of students become veterinarians. Paul retired in 2010. Paul also had a passion for running and horses. Throughout his career, alongside colleagues and friends he completed thousands of miles on foot while training on the Pullman streets, country roads and Martin Stadium stairs to compete in road races, marathons and a 100 mile Western States race down in southern California. He also completed several races called Ride and Tie where he ran and rode horses with a human team member and horse team member over mountainous terrains for 30 miles or more. This became another event where family would join. On these trips, it was now Paul's family traveling around the western coast of the US and Canada. Once Paul retired, he appeared determined to become a reclusive mountain man and create a place where he could live off the grid. However, beneath his put-on crusty demeanor, he stayed active running into his 60s (logging his 60,000 mile on his 60th birthday), riding horses and "hogs" (motorcycles), and working to preserve the 25 acres where he resided. MOST OF ALL, Paul continued nourishing relationships with his family and all the people he met throughout his lifethe childhood friends, the old and new Marine Corps. jarheads, the vet school students and colleagues who became friends, the running friends and any others he met along the way including the medical treatment people that became friends even at the end. Paul could be mistaken as a quiet, humble man however, he always had a story to share from a past adventure as well as a prideful narrative about his son, daughter, son-in-law or most beloved grandchildren. Paul was diagnosed with Myoepithelial Carcinoma in March 2020. His treatment plan was aggressive in an effort to delay this rare and rapidly growing cancer however, after two surgeries and chemo and radiation treatments the cancer continued to spread to his chest and lungs ultimately sending him to rest peacefully and pain free at home on November 14th, 2020. He was in the care of hospice and surrounded by his daughter's family; Sara, husband John, and three grandchildren as well as close friends who are like family - just as he wished. Paul is survived by his son, Brent Johnson; daughter, Sara Eisenbarth (Johnson), son-in law, John Eisenbarth; and three grandchildren, Jared Eisenbarth, Gavin Eisenbarth and Ella Eisenbarth; sister, Barbara Douglas (Johnson), brother in law, David Douglas; and two nieces and their families, Miel Dotson (Silbernagel) and Coco Peterson (Silbernagel). He was preceded in death by his parents and older brother James Marshall Johnson. There will be a Celebration of Life for Paul scheduled for the Spring/Summer 2021 at his residence on Moscow Mountain. Plans for this celebration are underway. Arrangements have been entrusted to Short's Funeral Chapel of Moscow and condolences may be left at

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Published in Spokesman-Review from Nov. 24 to Nov. 25, 2020.
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4 entries
April 29, 2021

I met Paul at Camp Pendleton in 1969. We were both at Khe Sahn, him on hill 881S and me at the combat base. What a great guy. We along with Randy Shierman were the three sergeants. We stayed in touch over the years. I was his pit crew at one of the ride and ties, we visited his ranch and he visited me in Colorado a couple of times. We would call each other in between. I was shocked to hear of his passing. I sure am going to miss that Jarhead. Semper Fi my Brother.
Fred Swets
Served In Military Together
December 13, 2020
Paul's passing took me completely by surprise. I've run over 5,000 miles with Paul and I timed his 6:00 mile at 60 and he timed mine. Although I wished he would have reached out to me the past few months, I knew Paul well enough to know why he wouldn't as he didn't want to bother anyone. We knew each other when I was in grad school at U of I and when I came back to Pullman 14 years later, we started running with each other 3-4 times a week. We were both well past our running primes but the fact that we both had been excellent runners in our past allowed us to tell stories that we both could relate to. We also were both in the military, he a Marine and me just a mere "Fly-boy"! The greatest compliment Paul ever gave me was when he told me that I was just as tough as any Marine he'd ever known! It saddens me that Paul died without me being able to say goodbye but I'm sure he was surrounded by those who loved him even more than I did.........
Wade Hoiland
November 24, 2020
I'm so glad you were our friend. Thanks again for the birthday ride. Cynthia (and Howard)
Cynthia Hosick
November 24, 2020
Thank you for your service to our country. Rest In Peace.
Washington State
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