El Cajon Mortuary and Cremation Service

684 South Mollison Ave., El Cajon, CA


Michael Charles JOHNSON

February 9, 1953February 11, 2020

Michael C. Johnson, age 67, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones the morning of February 11, 2020.

He was born to LaNelle (Renfroe) and James Michael (Mickey) Johnson on February 9, 1953 in Park Falls, Wisconsin.

His early life was spent among family in Mississippi , while moving to Virginia/Pennsylvania in his early teens. He attended Falls Church High School in Virginia, and graduated from Great Valley High School, Malvern, PA in 1971. He was an alumni and lifelong fan of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia graduating from the School of Architecture in 1977. He met and married his beloved wife, Mary Ann (Harris) there. They married in the campus chapel in 1976 a year prior to his graduation . Michael began his highly successful 33 years as an award winning architect in 1977, shortly after graduation. Michael spent time practicing architecture in New Jersey, Wisconsin, Washington D.C., and Colorado before settling into San Diego in 1986. It was in 1986 that he and Gordon R. Carrier, FAIA, partnered to form Carrier Johnson + Culture, a global San Diego based architectural firm with offices in Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York. The award winning firm via Michaels’s leadership has designed 250+ projects, shaping the San Diego skyline while completing numerable works across the United States and around the World.

Michael was passionately active with many community, regional, and national, organizations. For more than 20 years, Michael held leadership roles in San Diego’s evolution, offering a particular passion for Downtown San Diego. As such, Michael served on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Downtown San Diego Partnership - a leading force in the dramatic development of San Diego’s downtown.

Michael was a founding member and first Chairman of the Board of Directors of the University of California San Diego’s Center for Real Estate Development. On a National level, Michael was instrumental in the continued review of the practice of architecture through his commitment and service to the American Institute of Architect’s National Contracts and Rules Committee. He and architectural partner Gordon, remained lifelong professional colleagues, but more importantly, they were close friends, with Gordon being able to fill the role of the brother Michael never had.

Personally, Michael cherished his life with Mary Ann in Jamul, California and his role as patriarch of a loving family. He famously raised the loves of his life, sons Ryan, Brett, Christopher (Sarah Gosewisch) and daughter, Whitney (Tom St Hilaire) along with grandsons, Liam and Conor and newly arrived granddaughter, Parker.

Michael is survived by his parents and 4 sisters, Michaele (Alan) Moore, Melanie Johnson, Mary (Tony) Medina, and Meg (Carlos) Gomez along with many treasured nieces, nephews, and a large and loving extended family.

Michael loved sports of all types, both playing and spectating. From skiing to hiking, he loved them all but he was an especially avid golfer, loving time on the links both in San Diego and in the desert.

He loved reading and took special joy from listening to music of all types. He also loved the ocean; spending many hours on and in the water. Travel was always at the top of his list of enjoyments, and as a result, he managed many family focused adventure trips in recent years.

He took particular solace at his home, a self-designed Jamul haven in the foothills, spending time playing games and relaxing under the backyard palapa or in the pool or jacuzzi with his family.

Michael loved talking and telling stories and took pleasure in socializing with his friends and the many, many coworkers that he loved and respected.

Friends, colleagues, and others whose lives were touched by Michael C. Johnson AIA are invited to join his family to celebrate his life at a Funeral Mass at the Church of St Luke, 1980 Hillsdale Road, El Cajon, CA 92019 on Saturday, February 29th, 2020 at 11:00am. This will be followed by a reception in the church hall.

There will also be a rosary said for him at the church on Friday evening, February 28th at 6:30pm.

In Lieu of Flowers, please consider a donation (dear to our hearts) to the El Nido program (transitional housing for domestic abuse survivors and their children) through the Interfaith Shelter Network at interfaithshelter.org - scroll to hit the donation button and designate El Nido OR the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation at netrf.org.

While we have lost the physical presence of this caring man, heaven has welcomed a good and kind soul to the Kingdom. God Bless him and keep him always.


28 February


6:30 pm

St. Lukes Catholic Church

1980 Hillsdale Road
El Cajon, CA 92019

29 February

Mass of Christian Burial

11:00 am

St. Luke's Catholic Church

1980 Hillsdale Road
El Cajon, CA 92019


Michael Charles JOHNSON

have a memory or condolence to add?

Michaele Moore

February 18, 2020

Dearest Brother and Friend, until we meet again. I will continue to listen, as you sing with the angels in heaven. I can hear you now teaching Maw Maw and Paw Paw how to whistle to an Elvis song. I will always hold you close to my heart, and enjoy and appreciate life, like you Always wanted me to. Rest In Peace, Dear Brother.

Donna Gates-Kelly

February 18, 2020

God just got a great Angel to join him in heaven. I have never known a more gentle, kind soul than Michael Johnson. He will be missed by all of us who were lucky enough to know him and call him our friend. In peace he came into this world and in peace he departed. His work on earth is done but oh the jubilation going on in heaven upon his arrival. To his wife Mare and family may your peace come in knowing he left his footprints here on earth.

Leonard Kady

February 17, 2020

What a privilege it was to know Michael. Thank you to the Johnson family for sharing Michael with us while he traveled for AIA committee meetings. Brimming with energy, larger than life, Michael would roll up his sleeves and generously share his expert professional experience with our committee group. Michael’s charisma was always a delight and we enjoyed his stories, good humor and wonderful smile. Michael was magnanimous in his joyful description of all those who were part of his life. He lovingly told us about his family, firm “culture” and faith. He showed us pictures of and described his warm home, with generations under one roof. I will miss our dinners, long walks, chats, Michael’s passionate descriptions of architecture and good cheer in fun places, like Little Havana. Michael joined our group, made very meaningful impact and will be missed by all.

Leonard Kady

Michael Koger

February 17, 2020

I knew Michael from his work on the AIA Contract Documents committee over the last few years. He brought an incredible amount of passion and knowledge to our group, right from the start. He has been, and will continued to be, missed by all of the people on our committee.

I still smile every time I think about him pulling an all-nighter to take a red eye flight to Miami to join us a day early to do some last-minute work on a few contracts. I kept thinking, here's a guy who is one of the top architects in San Diego, owns his own firm, has nothing to prove, and he's going to take a miserable flight just to do volunteer work. It was an incredible display of dedication that left a lasting impression. And he pulled through that day with the added difficulty of having the rest of us rib him about trying to pull an architecture student stunt.

To Michael's family - thank you for sharing him with us over the past few years. I am truly sorry for your loss. It's difficult to lose anyone close to you, but it's so much worse when that person is as vibrant and magnetic as Michael was.