Obituary: Jerry R. Johnson

Child advocate, poet, logophile, Syracuse grad, great grandfather

Jerry R. Johnson, 81, died quietly on Monday, April 13. He was surrounded by both of his daughters and his only grandson.

Jerry earned his bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and attended the Claremont School of Theology. He spent his entire 27-year career with the Los Angeles County Department of Social Services as a Los Angeles County Child Protective Services agent, working from the Pomona office. He never lost a child in his case load.

After his retirement he was a foster parent for many years.

Mr. Johnson donated more than 25 gallons of blood over the course of his adult life. He was a nationally recognized poet and won many prestigious prizes for his poetry.

He was an avid bowler. He loved gardening, and woodworking was a beloved hobby. He was a tremendous Syracuse basketball fan.

Mr. Johnson had a love of words and their origins, and always had a dictionary close by. He loved Native American art, both collecting and sharing his knowledge of it with others. He played harmonica and sang in numerous choral groups over the course of his life. He loved his family.

He was preceded in death by his parents, George O. Johnson and Winnifred E. Johnson of upstate New York, and by his foster son, Gary Paulson.

Mr. Johnson leaves behind two daughters, Elizabeth Johnson of Canyon Lake, California and Stephanie Johnson Stiles of Essex County, Virginia; two grandchildren; one great grandchild; an older sister in upstate New York, and a younger sister in Pennsylvania; and nieces and nephews scattered all over the United States.

Memorial contributions may be made to Prevent Child Abuse America at


Submit a Comment

Share This