Obituary: Roy Johnson


 Roy Johnson

May 15, 1926 – March 15, 2017

Roy Johnson, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend moved
to Heaven on March 15, 2017.


He was born in 1926 in rural Westmorland, California. His parents, Frank and Alice Johnson, were an early Valley pioneer farming family.


He attended Trifolium School, for grades 1-6 and Westmorland Grammar School for grades
7-8. As a Brawley Union High School senior, Roy played Varsity quarterback and punter
for the Wildcats. He proudly recalled the game against Central where BUHS made
a touchdown in the fourth quarter and he kicked the winning point with a final score of

Roy graduated from BUHS on May 31, 1944. Six days after high school graduation, Roy
was in the US Navy. He was slated to go to Radio Operators School at the Great Lakes
Naval Training Center.


After the Battle of Midway, World War ll was beginning to turn the tide in favor of the Allies. Every able-bodied soldier was ordered to the Philippines for the invasion of Leyte. Roy served on the USS Herald of the Morning, a troop transport ship. He was a crewman whose responsibilities included delivering troops to the beach. He witnessed General MacArthur wading through the surf to go onto the beach, where he set up a portable shortwave radio and made his famous announcement to the people of the Philippines,“I have returned”.


After the invasion of Leyte, Roy participated in the invasions of Mindoro and Luzon. His ship was also at Iwo Jima when the American flag was raised, though he did not witness it.


After his honorable discharge from the US Navy, Roy studied at the University of
California, Davis where he played football for the Aggies. He returned home to Imperial
Valley and operated a successful farming partnership with his brother, Charles. Roy
married Mary Bowie on September 5, 1953 and they were happily married for thirty one
years. After Mary’s death on November 23, 1984, Roy married Sally Lesicka on March
17, 1984 and enjoyed thirty three years of marriage until his death.


Roy was a lifelong member of the Westmorland Community Presbyterian Church, where he served as a Session member, Sunday School Superintendent, Sunday School teacher and Choir member. He dedicated endless hours to civic service as a school board trustee,
Delegate Assembly for California School Boards Association, Red Cross Board
member, and a Lion’s Club member and leader.


Roy was preceded in death by his first wife, Mary. He is survived by his wife Sally and
children Nancy Johnson – grandchildren Anthony Nilson (Janice), Allison, Mariann, Ellie
Himaya(Paul), and Hanna Wagner(Josh) – great grandchildren Austin, J. Roy and Lexie.
He is also survived by sons David Johnson, Frank Johnson and daughter Anne Mallory
(Vance) as well as grandsons Evan, Rob Overstreet (Jen) and great granddaughter


Roy’s marriage to Sally increased his family by four adult children Rex (Nancy), Bonnie Milam (David), Tom and Mike (Dawn) along with six grandchildren
Denise Goldberg (Greg), Andy (Carissa), Scott (Hillary), Karen Feret (Tyler), Nathan
(Jean), Peter and Katy as well as nine great-grandchildren Joaquin, Charlotte, Finley,
Benjamin, Lucy, Emily, David, Alexandra and Grant.

In lieu of flowers, family suggests donations to the Westmorland Community Presbyterian Church.


A chapel service will be held for Roy on Saturday, March 25 at Frye Chapel and Mortuary at 9:00 a.m. with Pastor Elizabeth Crews officiating. Burial will be at Riverview Cemetery following the service.