Richard A. Johnson

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Dover-Foxcroft - Dover-Foxcroft - Richard A. "Dick" Johnson, 89, passed away peacefully from Alzheimer's disease on June 22, 2019, with his family by his side at Hibbard Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. He was born in Caribou, Maine, the son of O. Gunnar and Winnie (Erickson) Johnson. Richard was married to Sylvia (Dixon) Johnson for 61 years. He was a father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, with many friendships in Maine and beyond.
Richard attended Caribou schools until his family moved to LaGrange in 1944, and subsequently graduated from LaGrange High School in 1947. After high school he served in the United States Navy. Later he served in the U.S. Naval Air Reserve and the Maine Air National Guard.
His post-secondary education included obtaining both his Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy and Master of Science degree in Horticulture, from the University of Maine at Orono. Richard's career included work at the Maine Agricultural Experiment Station, Soil Conservation Service, Maine Potato Council, and the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Maine. After retiring from the Extension Service, he worked on projects for the Maine Forest Service, the Maine Potato Commission, and Federal Crop Insurance. His career concluded as a local real estate broker. In addition, Richard pursued numerous interests, including involvement in local politics.
Richard had a love of foreign travel and volunteered his agricultural expertise to help others around the globe. He spent a summer in Sweden working on a relative's dairy farm, inspiring him to seek additional overseas agricultural opportunities. In 1983, he organized a People to People International agricultural delegation to the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. In 1987, he organized a similar delegation to Scandinavia. Other volunteer projects included trips to Haiti, Egypt, Poland, and Bolivia. Travel for personal interest included Iceland, Mexico, Canada and various countries throughout Europe, with several trips to Sweden.
In the late 60's, Richard and his family bought farmland in Sebec, upon which they later built a home. The property included a small heirloom apple orchard and a woodlot, which allowed him to pursue his agricultural interests and forest management practices. Richard developed the property into a working agricultural educational model, emphasizing wildlife habitat, forest management, and conservation practices, featuring vernal pools and experimental fruit crops. In 2011, Richard's efforts were recognized by the Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District when he and Sylvia were presented with the Conservation District's 2011 Outstanding Cooperator's award for Excellent Forestry Management.
Richard also had a life-long interest in aviation, demonstrated through his involvement in Maine Civil Air Patrol, Maine Air National Guard, and the Maine Aviation Museum. At 24 he obtained his private pilot's license, and flew as a hobby. He co-owned a Luscombe 8A, two-seater, with skies for winter landings. His children will long remember his story of learning to fly "loopty-loops" from his long-time friend, "Houle."
Richard relished his walks through his woods, often accompanied by his children or grandchildren, but most often with one of his dogs. As his memory slipped away, his connection to family, planes, pets, and his newborn great-granddaughter, Stella, provided ways to relate to him.
Richard was proud of his Swedish heritage. His maternal great-grand parents, and their daughters, emigrated from Sweden in 1871, as a result of the state inviting Swedes to settle in northern Maine, eventually founding New Sweden. His grandmother married a Swedish immigrant and gave birth to Richard's mother Winnie. Richard's father, Gunnar, emigrated from Sweden after fulfilling his enlistment in the King's Royal Guard. Richard's parents married and settled in Caribou. Much of Richard's extended family remained in Sweden or emigrated to Canada, which provided him reasons to travel to meet relatives and gather genealogy. Richard enhanced his connection to his Swedish heritage with many trips to New Sweden for the Swedish midsommar festival; renewing friendships and visiting his hometown of Caribou.
Richard was pre-deceased by his parents and his brother, Robert. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Sylvia; daughter, Karen Johnson and her husband Scott Hughes; son, Andy Johnson; daughter, Laurie Muzzy and her husband Luke; and daughter, Amy Johnson. Grandchildren include, Susan Martin and her husband Todd, and their daughter Stella; John Muzzy and his wife Ali; and Matthew Johnson. Also surviving Richard, are his sister-in-law, Phyllis Johnson and her son, Rick Johnson; cousins Loueen Davenport; Bonnie Wilcox and husband Carl; and Gilman Erickson and his wife Marge. He is also survived by sisters-in-law Carolyn Gilbert, Joan Gustafson, Shirley Foss, Diane Patterson, and brothers-in-law Alden Dixon and Robert Dixon.
Family and friends are invited to Lary Funeral Home, 62 Summer St., Dover-Foxcroft on Wednesday, June 26. Visiting will start at 10 a.m. followed by a funeral service at 11 a.m. A reception will immediately follow at St. Thomas Aquinas Church Hall, 43 High St., Dover-Foxcroft, ME. Private committal will be at the Orono-Old Town Cemetery on Thursday, June 27. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the New Sweden Historical Society, P.O. Box 33, New Sweden, Maine 04762, the Maine Air Museum, 98 Maine Ave., Bangor, Maine 04401 (www.maineairmuseum.com), or an organization of your choice. Messages of condolence and memories may be expressed at www.laryfuneralhome.com.
Published on June 26, 2019
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Jun 24, 2019