William Joseph Johnson

February 13, 1938March 11, 2018

William “Bill” Joseph Johnson, 80 passed away March 11. 2018, in Santa Monica, California.

Born in Chicago, Illinois on February 13, 1938. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1957 and was stationed at Camp Pendleton, California. He was honorably discharged in 1959 and returned home to Chicago. Bill spent one winter in Chicago before he moved to California for warmer weather.

Bill married his wife of 51 years, Margarita “Margie” (Martinez) Johnson in 1966. He loved to tell anyone who asked, that he met Margie in an alley ... a bowling alley, that is. It was a match made in heaven.

He spent 28 years as a master mechanic for Volkswagen of Santa Monica until 1996. He went on to do inspections on lease vehicle returns, fully retiring in 2002.

Bill was a car enthusiast. He raced stock cars across the country. He also built a dune buggy to participate in timed rallies in the California desert. Bill was a NASCAR fan and enjoyed watching all types of auto races. One of his biggest thrills came in 2012 when his children gave him the gift of a NASCAR Experience at Fontana Speedway. He was able to drive a NASCAR race car around the oval track.

He was also involved in coaching T-Ball and Baseball at Stoner Park. Bill coached many young boys, who now as adult men fondly remember him as Coach Johnson. Bill had a group of longtime friends with whom he golfed regularly and enjoyed meeting for breakfast once a month at Gilbert’s El Indio.

He is survived by his wife Margie and 3 children: 2 sons, Ernie and Eric and daughter, Christina Johnson. 4 grandchildren: Larissa (Deron) Scott, Ryan, Sean and Jaxon and 2 great grandsons, Gaven and Grady. He is also survived by his brother Edward (Betty) of Darien, Illinois and sister Mary Ellen (Tony) Gricus of Willowbrook, Illinois and several cousins also residing in Illinois.

Bill will always be remembered by his devotion to his faith, family and friends. He will be missed for his humor, passion for cars and generous nature. He was always there for any one who needed his help, whether it be fixing a leaky faucet or listening for knocks in a car.

He was described as a gentle soul and never spoke a bad word about anyone nor did anyone speak badly about him. Bill’s gracious spirit and outgoing personality touched many lives and he will be remembered for many years.

Funeral arrangements by Gates, Kingsley & Gates Smith Salsbury (Culver City, CA). For service information and/or to offer condolences, please visit


  • Visitation Monday, March 19, 2018
  • Funeral Service Monday, March 19, 2018
  • Graveside Service Monday, March 19, 2018

William Joseph Johnson

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