Donald Cargill Johnson
May 5, 1926 - May 23, 2009

Donald Cargill Johnson, 83, of Bryan, passed away on Saturday, May 23, 2009. A private family service was held on Sunday, May 24, 2009.

Don was born to Margaret and Carl Johnson on May 5, 1926. After graduating from Proviso High School, Chicago, Ill. in 1944, he was stationed at Fort Lowry U.S. Air Force Base in Colorado, where he proudly served his country until the end of World War II. Following the war, Don pursued his dreams of being a journalist, earning his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Northwestern University.

Don married his one true love, Maxine May Ward, on June 28, 1947. Together they raised three daughters, instilling in each one a love for music and arts. By those close to him, Don will be remembered as an accomplished violinist, frequently serenading friends and family when not performing with local symphonies . Don's career as a newspaper editor with the Gannet Co. spanned more than 30 years, impacting innumerable lives through his professional and personal endeavors in New York and New Jersey. He made the transition to educating future journalists when he accepted the position of Director of Student Publications at Texas A&M University in 1977. Affectionately known as DJ to his students, Don spent more than a decade sharing his passions for integrity and the free press with Aggies.

Upon his retirement Don relished in his life-long love of golf, and coordinated gatherings with his high school and college peers, until severe arthritis and a stroke limited his mobility. However, he maintained constancy with his intense love of learning, reading diverse publications, at amazing speeds, always sharing his immense knowledge with those around him.

Don was preceded in death by his daughter, Kimber Lee Prior, and sister Mary Lou Hirtle.

Survivors include his wife of nearly 62 years, Maxine "Micki" Johnson; daughters, Janelle Lou Johnson, of Rochester, N.Y. and daughter and son-in-law Lyneen Jill and Greg Osburne, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; twin grandsons, Zachary Lee and Colton Jack Osburne; son-in-law, Michael Prior, of Toledo, Ohio.

To honor Don's love of journalism and education, please send any memorial contributions in his name to, Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive, College Station, TX 77840 - contributions in his memory ultimately will benefit the Journalism program at Texas A&M University.
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by The Bryan-College Station Eagle on May 31, 2009.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
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8 Entries
These entries have brought back so many good memories of DJ. He was just the best. We were lucky to have him as a teacher, a mentor and a friend.
Denise Richter
June 30, 2009
I certainly hope DJ's family knows how much he was loved and respected by his students, especially The Battalion staff. What a wonderful journalist and teacher. Once you got him to laugh, you knew everything would be ok. One of my fondest memories was of DJ driving the van to the Southwest Journalism Convention -- he was just one of the gang and we had a blast! My heartfelt sympathy to the Johnson family. ##
Colette Dean
June 23, 2009
I second every word Loren wrote. I even still have one of those typed yellow memos framed on a wall at my house. It starts out something like this: "Last night was pretty much a total disaster..."

He was a good journalist, good teacher and a good man.

Rest in peace, DJ.
Scot Walker
June 4, 2009
My sympathy to Mr. Johnson's family. He was a great boss and friend, and I'm honored to have known him. He was a newsman through and through--looking at all sides of an issue--but that made him a good manager. His candid nature prevented staffers from veering too far off the path, but he gave them enough room to make mistakes so that lessons would be learned (earned?). He was a wonderful mentor to the J-students who were lucky enough to work with him, and I'm sad for the others who didn't get the chance. We will all miss him, but we'll smile when thinking of him. ###
Sandra Bragg
June 3, 2009
DJ taught me more about newspapering than anyone. As Batt editor, I'd arrive at my office in the morning to find his yellow memo, always folded in half, waiting on my desk. Often, it was a blistering review of everything that had gone wrong the day before, yet his criticism was always constructive (and always right). He was like our own Lou Grant, and I'm a better journalist for having known him. They don't make them like DJ anymore, and our industry is the worse for it. -30-
Loren Steffy
June 3, 2009
I am sorry to hear of Don's passing. The students, faculty and staff in the Journalism Dept. were lucky to have such a great leader and teacher.
Tina Urich Weido
June 1, 2009
To express our deep sympathy to you on your loss. We thank Mr. Johnson for serving our country in the U.S. Army Air Corps during WW II. You were a member of "the greatest generation". May God's Speed Be With You Airman.
The American Legion, Earl Graham Post 159
May 31, 2009

We were very sorry to hear of Don's passing. He was a great inspiration, teacher and friend. Hard to believe it's been more than 30 years since we met.

Lee and Beth Leschper
TAMU '79 and '80
Lee Leschper
May 31, 2009