Salisbury - Gilbert Lee Johnson, 93, died Tuesday, October 16, at Port Healthcare Center in Newburyport.
Gil was born in Watertown, Michigan on May 19, 1925, to Ellen Sams Johnson and John A. Johnson of Michigan. He was preceded in death by his siblings John L. Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Robert Johnson, James Johnson, Vernita Nyland, Florence Livermore, Elaine Rumsey, Muriel Carlson, and Katie Newman. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Karlene Pettengill Johnson, and three children, Stephen Johnson and his wife Nancy, Kerry Johnson Oldiges and her husband Michael, and Erik Johnson. He has also left his grandchildren, Anthony Stevens, Annie Dutcher, Rickey Johnson, Bethany Johnson, Andrew Oldiges, Katherine Johnson, James Oldiges, and Jeffery Johnson, as well as one great-grandchild, Hans Dutcher and a loving foster child, Sheila Hambley and her son Jackson.
Gil lived his life in service of others. He served overseas in the US Navy during WWII and again in the Army in the Korean War. Stationed in Japan following the Korean War, he worked as a volunteer with war orphans. Following his military service he received a degree in education at the University of Kentucky and went on to pursue a Master and Doctorate degree at the University of Miami in Florida. He cherished his five years of teaching at Saint Andrew's School in Tennessee. Moving to Florida in 1959 he was deeply impacted by the Civil Rights movement and worked to integrate the Dade County School System. He was then recruited to develop English Studies curriculum and to teach in the newly established land grant college in Washington, D.C. One his best memories was being present at Martin Luther King Jr.ís ďI Have A DreamĒ speech.
Gil worked for the Kettering Foundation in curriculum development. He, with two of his colleagues, established their educational consulting company, IDEA.
He was an advocate for the rights of the mentally challenged, volunteered his time working with refugees and with tutoring inner city children. He treated everyone with dignity and as a friend, listening to all and offering help when able.
A celebration of Gilís life will be held at East Parish United Methodist Church in Salisbury on May 19, 2019.