Russell Arthur Johnson, 91, passed away August 31, 2013 in Bend, Ore. His loving family was close by his side throughout his final weeks. He was a resident of the Bend/Redmond area since his retirement in 1984. Russ was born June 7, 1922, in Virginia, Minn. He was the only child of Arthur JH Johnson of Nashotah, Wis., and Irene Jenny Blanchard (Johnson) of Poy Sippi, Wis.
Russ moved with his parents to Duluth, Minn., in 1936, and graduated from Central High School in 1940. He joined the United States Naval Reserve in 1939. In May 1941 he was called to active duty when a national emergency was declared. Russ served throughout World War II in various roles, including early on as a gunner's mate aboard the USS Ellis and USS Herbert. In February 1943 he entered pilot training in Corpus Christi, Texas, and graduated as a naval aviator on February 23, 1944. Russ served aboard the USS Hancock carrier as a torpedo pilot with Air Group 7. His combat zone was in the western Pacific Ocean, where he participated in many battles. His most important combat missions took place attacking targets on both land and sea north of the equator, such as Hong Kong Harbor, Hiroshima, and sites in and around the Philippines. Russ also participated in anti-submarine warfare. He was released from active duty in August 1945 as a Lieutenant. Russ was awarded the Bronze Star, Air Medal, American Defense 1 Star, A.T.O., Asiatic Pacific 3 Stars, and Philippines Liberation 2 Stars. Russ also was an Ace pilot, having destroyed five enemy airplanes.
In 1946 he met the love of his life, Dorothy Margaret Schneller (Johnson). They were married in Laurium, Mich. on September 16, 1946. Their union lasted 62 years. After the war Russ attended the Michigan College of Mining and Technology, and in June 1949 he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry. In June 1956, he and his growing family moved to Medford, Ore., where Russ had a job waiting for him with the Bureau of Land Management. For 28 years Russ worked for the BLM as a Land/Timber Manager; he retired in 1982. Russ and Dorothy had seven children. At age 60 he became a born-again Christian.
Russ was always pleasant and easy going. He was regarded with great fondness by many, respected, and loved deeply by family and friends. Throughout his life he loved hunting, fishing and target shooting. Russ was an accomplished rifleman, earning many medals. He enjoyed air shows and traveling with Dorothy in their motor home.
Russ was preceded in death by Dorothy on November 21, 2008. He is survived by six of their seven children: Bruce in Olympia, Wash.; Eric in Hemet, Calif.; Carl in Scottsdale, Ariz.; Keith in Sacramento, Calif.; Karen in Bend, Ore.; and Deb in Eugene, Ore. His son, Roger, passed away June 10, 2012, in Bend, Ore.
A memorial service will be held September 12, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. at Redmond Memorial Chapel, 717 SW 6th Street, Redmond, OR. Burial services, with full military honors, will be held September 13, 2013, at 12:00 p.m. at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Ore.