OBITUARY

Gregory Alan Johnson

July 12, 1954March 10, 2018

Gregory A. Johnson, P.E.

Greg Johnson was born July 12, 1954 in Cincinnati, OH, the first child of Robert E. Johnson of Columbus, OH, and Joan M. Johnson of Cincinnati. He died peacefully in his sleep on March 10 after a courageous battle against the rare disease of Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), a progressive and incurable neurological disease. Greg was grateful for the limited time he had to prepare himself and family and remind everyone not to take life for granted but rather focus on what’s really important – family and friends, good works and one’s profession. Greg was a loving and devoted husband, father, brother, uncle and son. He is survived by his mother, Joan, of Houston, who retired as a RN; his wife Kathryn and daughter Sarah Johnson and husband Diasuke Yamagami of Yokosuka, Japan, and son Stephen of Harrisburg, NC. He is also survived by sisters Terri Shannon (Randy) of Fort Worth, Suzanne Nesmith (Doug) of Crawford, TX; Nanette Yeager (Mark) of Coppell, TX; brother Jeffery (Sonia) of Glendale, AZ; and nieces and nephews Kristin, Brenton, Matthew, Timothy, Amy, Heather, Haley, Sam and Caroline. He was predeceased in 1999 by his father, a retired petroleum engineer, and a niece Rebecca Johnson in 2009.

Greg attended Catholic grade school in Houston TX through fourth grade, then moved to Midland TX for the rest of his primary and secondary education. During junior high, he loved to play baseball and collect stamps, and excelled in spelling, math, and history. At Midland High he excelled on the debate team, in math and sciences, served on the yearbook staff, graduating in 1972.

A National Merit Scholarship finalist, he received an award sponsored by the Shell Oil Company Foundation enabling him to attend Texas A&M University. Majoring in mechanical engineering, he achieved many academic honors and while serving in the Student Senate, he spearheaded a change in how Texas A&M used energy!

Greg graduated summa cum laude in December 1976, and began his professional career at ARCO Oil and Gas in the summer of 1977. While at ARCO, he applied for graduate schools and was accepted at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. A National Science Foundation fellowship allowed him to pursue his academic interest in the area of energy systems design as part of the Herrick Labs. He wrote his Master’s thesis on the measurement of efficiency for gas water heating systems. Completing his degree requirements in 1979, he then accepted employment with YORK Air Conditioning in York, PA.

While living in York, he developed a life-long interest in residential real estate and bought his first house, a fixer-upper 1910-era row house which was divided into two apartments. York is also where he met his future wife, Kathryn, who was working at IBM in nearby Mechanicsburg. They married in April 1984 and soon after both transferred to Charlotte, NC with their respective companies. They settled in the nearby suburb of Harrisburg, where they raised their children.

In 1992, Greg left York and began a successful 25-year career with Piedmont Natural Gas (now a part of Duke Energy), where he focused on technology development, sales and marketing management, and new business development such as adapting natural gas – the “clean” fuel - for commercial transportation use. His professional vision come true to see natural gas being used in many company and municipal fleets of cars, trucks and buses throughout our region. With his vision fulfilled, he retired from Piedmont in 2016 due to the disabling effects of his disease.

Greg was dedicated to serving the broader community – through education, fundraising, and industry partnerships. In 1990 he began a part-time role as an instructor for the Professional Engineering Review Course at UNCC where he taught graduate engineers in the areas of thermodynamics and heat transfer, enabling them to complete their requirements for the PE license. At CPCC, he served on the HVAC and Hospitality Program Advisory Committees, where he worked to fund and develop laboratories to support the education of HVAC technicians and culinary professionals on natural gas use. He also taught Junior Achievement classes in elementary and middle schools. Greg was the past chair of the Commercial/Industrial Marketing Committee and the A&E Conference of the Southern Gas Association, and past president of the Southern Piedmont Chapter of the American Society of Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Engineers (ASHRAE). He helped found and served as a long-time stakeholder of the Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition, an organization focused on advancing the use of alternative vehicle fuels throughout the region. He also helped establish and then became VP of the Charlotte chapter of the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII).

For many years, Greg was an active member in the Charlotte-South Rotary Club, Greg led his club’s signature educational service project (Beach Blast) for several years. He was grateful for the help and encouragement his Rotary family provided throughout his illness.

Greg was a Professional Engineer (P.E.) in North Carolina and Pennsylvania prior to retirement. He had a life-long passion for understanding how energy works and harnessing technology for more efficient ways to use it. Greg realized a personal dream come true by walking his daughter Sarah down the aisle at her wedding in this church last August, surrounded by extended family and friends and new son-in-law’s family from Japan.

Greg wanted to acknowledge and thank the members of his medical and home care teams and also ask for continued prayers and encouragement for his immediate family.

Visitation will be from 6 to 9 pm Thursday, March 15, 2018 at McEwen Derita Chapel, 6300 Mallard Creek Road, Charlotte, NC 28262. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 am Friday, March 16, 2018 at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 1400 Suther Road, Charlotte, NC.

Burial will take place in St. James Catholic Church Cemetery, Concord, NC.

Memorials in Greg’s name may made be made to the MSA Coalition®, 9935-D Rea Road, Suite # 212, Charlotte NC 28277; and to the Charlotte-South Rotary Foundation, 7804-C Fairview Road, PMB 188, Charlotte, NC 28226.

  • FAMILY

  • Kathryn Karlovich Johnson, Spouse
  • Sarah Johnson Yamagami, Daughter
  • Diasuke Yamagami, Son-in-law
  • Stephen Johnson, Son
  • Joan Miller Johnson, Mother
  • Robert E. Johnson, Father
  • Terri Shannon, Sister
  • Randy Shannon, Brother-in-law
  • Suzanne Nesmith, Sister
  • Doug Nesmith, Brother-in-law
  • Nanette Yeager, Sister
  • Mark Yeager, Brother-in-law
  • J.R. Johnson, Brother
  • Sonia Johnson, Sister-in-law
  • Mr. Johnson leaves behind to cherish his memory his nieces and nephews, Kristin, Brenton, Matthew, Timothy, Amy, Heather, Haley, Sam and Caroline. A niece, Rebecca Johnson, preceded him in death in 2009.

Services

  • Visitation Thursday, March 15, 2018
  • Mass of Christian Burial Friday, March 16, 2018
  • Committal Service Friday, March 16, 2018
REMEMBERING

Gregory Alan Johnson

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Xiaoqang Ren

March 15, 2018

I have known Greg since 2008 when I first joined Piedmont Natural Gas in the sales and marketing group.
At that time, he was Manager of Commercial Market and a very busy person that worked from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm most of time.

He arranged a training session for sales reps and included me in so that I could learn some skills in sale.
When I started to develop the commercial marketing report I received a lot of help from him, such as how to identify a customer’s industry code and how to group customers so that we deal with the franchise headquarter.

In past years, CNG vehicles and CNG stations are growing fast in the service territory through his power of persuasion. His professional knowledge and willingness to educate attracted many people in and out of company. Whenever there was a need, he always contributed to things like American Heart Walk, Arts and Science, etc.

In May of 2017, Greg retired due to sickness and I attended the party that the company hold for him. He shared some old work related stuff and I learned how many successes he had achieved besides CNG.

He is one of my most respected persons and I wish for him to rest in peace.

Tarun Malik

March 15, 2018

On behalf of Johnson & Wales University Charlotte, our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Greg Johnson. Greg was a frequent visitor to the campus and an enthusiastic supporter of our mission and purpose.
Greg's convivial demeanor and gregarious personality will be missed. Like his family each of us will find comfort and solace in fond memories of time spent together.

Mike Weiner

March 14, 2018

My family has enjoyed our friendship with Greg's family for decades as we shared our faith at St Thomas Aquinas Church in Charlotte. In the last 6 months I've gotten to know Greg much better during our visits as he struggled with MSA. I was impressed with so many things during my visits. Greg had an indomitable spirit as he dealt with this. He didn't want to focus on his own difficulties. Instead, he talked about how his family would get along as he counted his remaining days, discussing his hopes for their walk with God, and their future without him. Being the planner and engineer, he wanted as much as possible worked out.

I was especially impressed with the effort his family took to allow him to stay home until the end. Stephen especially was dedicated to taking care of his dad, doing many of the difficult tasks needed when Greg had lost all ability to take care of himself. I've heard love is spelled "time" and Stephen spent many hours, days, weeks, and months dedicated to him. Stephen - Greg loves you immensely and has many hopes and dreams for you.

Greg was overjoyed to be able to walk Sarah down the aisle this fall. He was worried he would not make it, but you can see by the picture, this was such a highlight in his life. Sarah came home from Japan at Christmas and again the last weeks before Greg passed from this life to the next. Your time and love in these visits meant more to Greg than you can imagine Sarah.

Please keep the faith and know that Greg will be with you always in heaven. When you need a prayer, he is there at your asking to pray for you.

And Kathy - you made it - and made sure Greg had what he needed to stay comfortable at home. He told me his stories of dating and how much he was "madly in love". Love is also spelled "commitment" and you "stayed for sickness and in health until death do you part". Your care and commitment has and will bring many blessings to your family.

Ken Valentine

March 14, 2018

My prayers and thoughts for Greg's family. Greg was one of the smartest and most giving people I ever met. He was passionate about anything he did, and I was fortunate to be able to work with him on his last passion, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as a transportation fuel. Due primarily to Greg's efforts and determination, Piedmont Natural Gas has built a large and growing CNG business serving dozens of trucking fleets, and Greg of course brought in the biggest customers through his perseverance. He touched many in his lifetime and has more than earned his eternal rest.

Nate Hargrove

March 14, 2018

My sincerest condolonces to the family and friends of Greg Johnson. I had the pleasure of working with Greg for many years at Piedmont Natural gas. We had friendly competition between his school (Texas A & M) and my school (Univ of Texas-Austin) and bonded over our love of Texas bbq. Greg was also my partner for our company sponsored weight loss competition. Rest well my Aggie friend.

Sonia Johnson

March 13, 2018


For our wedding in El Salvador JR (Greg’s brother) and my dad went to pick up Greg, Mom and Dad at the airport. JR was worried about the language barrier between my dad and his family. Greg exited the airport and immediately started talking to my dad in Spanish. No language barrier there.
For our church wedding Greg was asked to do one of the readings in Spanish. He immediately agreed and when the time came he went up to the podium and read the reading. To this day my mother still remembers him fondly how he didn’t hesitate to get up in front of all the guest and read in Spanish. May he Rest In Peace, now he is in heaven with his dad and with Becca.

Nanette Yeager

March 13, 2018

All my love to my big brother Greg!! May you Rest In Peace. Go Aggies👍🏻
❤️Nanette

Jon Dressler

March 13, 2018

I am so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful, Sweet and loving man. My condolences from all of us at Rare Roots Hospitality and our restaurants.

God bless

Lee McElrath

March 13, 2018

I had the privilege of working with Greg on a number of gas industry committees and enjoyed his friendship and passion for selling natural gas. The Southern Gas Association A & E Conferences were great events and I enjoyed discussing with Greg what our respective companies were doing to make sure our guests had a memorable experience. Many other good times over our long relationship. To Kathy and family, it is my hope that the good memories will flood your heart and mind and overcome the ache of loss. Jesus is caring for him now and he is perfect again in his light with no pain.

FROM THE FAMILY