Cover photo for Gordon Verle Johnson's Obituary
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1933 Gordon Verle Johnson 2024

Gordon Verle Johnson

September 5, 1933 — March 17, 2024

Gordon Verle Johnson, born September 5, 1933, deceased March 17, 2024. He was preceded in death by his parents, Elvyn O. A. Johnson and Esther E. Johnson in Albuquerque, NM. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Barbara S. Johnson; four children, Steven Johnson (Janet Wright), Cara Gallegos (Jerry), Gail Camuglia (Johnny), and Lizabeth Johnson (Eric Heatwole); as well as six granddaughters, Robin Nolan (Gary Peterson), Gracie Abeyta, Yvette Johnson-Rodgers (John), Loretta Rose (Cole), Jessica Rodgers, and Kellie Nolan; and four great-grandchildren, Kitana Rodgers, Benjamin Rodgers, Avalyn Peterson, and Alice Peterson.

Gordon was born in Long Beach, California and attended Long Beach public schools and Long Beach City College (LBCC) before transferring to the University of California at Berkeley to earn a bachelor's degree in Soil Science in 1955. He took an academic deferment to serve in the California National Guard, receiving his National Guard basic training at Fort Ord, CA and training as a radio operator along with Morse Code at Fort Chafee, Arkansas. He returned to Berkeley to earn his master's degree in 1959. He then pursued his PhD in Agricultural Chemistry and Soils at the University of Arizona in Tucson while continuing service in the Arizona National Guard. In 1965 while working in a Post-doctoral position at Oregon State University in Corvallis, he received his PhD from Arizona. He was subsequently hired as Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where he taught classes and laboratories in Plant Physiology, Soil Ecosystems and Radio Biology as well as advanced and introductory classes and seminars from time to time. He published research and participated in symposia in the United States, Europe, the Near East and Asia and mentored many masters' and doctoral students in his 35 years of service. Professor Johnson retired in 2000.

As a youth, Gordon led an adventurous life in Long Beach with his friends at the seashore, playing in the surf and swimming in the lagoon. He had a sailboat that he kept at Alamitos Bay. He enjoyed camping and hiking in the mountains and he was an active Boy Scout, receiving five merit badges. Gordon loved animals and had several pets: Boots, a Cocker Spaniel; a rabbit named Hop, and Dora, a duck whose name was later changed to Donald! There were also parakeets, pigeons, and chickens, as well as tropical fish. Gordon also enjoyed school activities and sports. He played tennis and ran cross-country throughout his college years. All the while he found time to collect stamps and coins and work part-time jobs in the neighborhood, as well as at his uncle's chicken ranch. At LBCC he worked in the bookstore and at Berkeley he enriched his life by working as an usher for Broadway shows and musical theater in San Francisco.

Gordon loved teaching and mentoring students, as well as high school students in their individual science fair projects, volunteering as a judge for the science fairs held at New Mexico Tech for many years. He served his church in many ways and his community as a 4-H leader. He enjoyed raising and showing his bantam chickens in poultry shows. He also played tennis and enjoyed international travel after retirement. In later life he said his greatest reward was watching his children and grandchildren learn and excel in their own lives.

A Memorial Service will be held Monday, April 8, 2024, 1:00 p.m., at Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian Church, 1801 Montano Rd. NW, Albuquerque. 

To send flowers to the family in memory of Gordon Verle Johnson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Monday, April 8, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Mountain time)

Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian Church

1801 Montaño Road Northwest, Albuquerque, NM 87107

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