Benjamin Brock Johnson
April 13, 1989 – April 17, 2021
Beloved Son, Brother and Friend
Our Beloved Ben, returned to his gracious Lord and Savior as he was surrounded by his family's love and care on April 17, 2021, in Portland, Oregon. He was 32 years of age. He was born April 13, 1989 in Sacramento, California to Eric H. and Susan (Brock) Johnson.
A celebration of Life service will be held 2 pm, Saturday, May 8th at Grace Community Church, 800 SE Hogan Rd, Gresham, OR 97080
Ben was universally described as “good hearted.” Which was the ultimate irony, since Ben was born with a heart defect so complicated and severe that he was only expected to join us here on Earth for a few days. His physical heart was patched and cobbled together in the most crazy of ways. The imperfect heart inside his chest was always eclipsed by the wonderful heart and spirit Ben radiated to everyone who met him.
He was born in Sacramento, California where his father was finishing up his medical training as a neonatologist. The family moved to Anchorage, Alaska when Ben was two and he spent his entire childhood there. He graduated from Grace Christian High School in 2007 and in 2014, moved to Gresham, Oregon where he enjoyed the rest of his life with old and new friends and family.
He was born with a complex congenital heart defect, leaving him with basically half a heart and the likelihood of living only two days to two weeks. But after three months with minimal oxygen in his blood, being held by family 24 hours a day, an experimental procedure became available in Boston, and thus began the wild ride of medical miracles.
That surgery was one of many newly developed and experimental procedures Ben received that allowed us all to share three decades on this planet with him. Truly unbelievable. He had a lifetime marked by extreme health complications and many near death experiences. There were three times when his heart stopped completely and he needed prolonged CPR. One of which occurred when he was 11 years old when was stomped by a moose in the yard, and found pulseless with no signs of life. On top of all his other medical struggles, he endured that random and horrific event. It took a year for him to recover. But he did. The last 10 months were especially difficult as his heart condition caused liver disease, blood platelet issues, and then vessels began bleeding into different parts of his brain. Ben endured so many events and hospitalizations, but always walked away nearly unscathed. However the last bleed was into his brain stem which was not survivable.
His life was one miraculous survival after another. The fingerprints of God were all over Ben. He was gifted with an unbelievable fearlessness of death. He was always looking to a bright future. Many talented medical professionals and loving family members and friends pulled him through so many terrifying moments. He endeared himself to every doctor and nurse who cared for him. Each time someone left his hospital room, even after inflicting a painful procedure or a dire prognosis, he would thank them.
Not only was he relentlessly resilient, he was empathetic, hilarious, witty, and never had a bad thing to say about anybody. He could tell you any actor’s name from any obscure film or TV show, and was an avid Trekkie. You’ve never met a person who lived life more in the present moment and had the uncanny ability to make people value his personality and simple wisdom.
His physical heart was his biggest health problem. But it was his spiritual heart that was his greatest asset and brought us all to our sincere love for him. His heart…broken and beautiful all at the same time.
There is a Ben-sized hole left in this world, but we are all so blessed to have shared this God-ordained journey with him. Ben had a wildly successful Away Mission and now….on to the final frontier. Engage!”
Celebration of Life Gathering
Saturday, May 8, 2021
Benjamin Brock Johnson
May 9, 2021
May 3, 2021
I will greatly miss Ben! I had the privilege of being one of his teachers. The class I taught with Ben as a student was called Life Skills. The ironic thing is I am convinced that I learned just as much about Life from Ben as he learned from the class! He knew the secret of how to make the most of every moment. He possessed a gentleness co-mingled with a great sense of humor! He knew how to make a stranger feel at ease. I do appreciated how he lived life. I will never forget the sparkle in his eyes! God’s Blessings on you Johnson family as you grieve the beaming up of your beloved Ben!
May 2, 2021
Ben. I heard stories about him before we actually met. Heroic and crazy stories! You mom and dad were great fans! How they loved you. Admired you. Wanted whatever was best for you. They fought for you. And prayed for you-always.
Two things I remember most about you-that mane of lovely auburn hair and your laugh!
Two events in your life that I remember well were your 16th birthday party and your graduation from Hight School.
Too many attributes to name but I’ll list a few: kindness, witty, courageous, crazy resilience and enduring faith.
Ben. He gifted all who knew him. Thank you for the honor of knowing you. Your heart was amazing! As were you, sweet Ben.
April 28, 2021
A life well lived is a precious gift, of hope and strength and grace, from someone who has made our world a brighter, better place.
It's filled with moments, sweet and sad and smiles and sometimes tears, with friendships formed and good times shared, and laughter through the years. A life well lived is a legacy, of joy and pride and pleasure, a living lasting memory our grateful heart's will treasure.
'Live now, Make now always the most precious time, Now will never come again" - Captain Jean-Luc Picard
April 22, 2021
Whenever I'm having a bad day, or my back hurts, or my stomach is upset, or I'm just tired of the daily human condition I need only remind myself of Ben's life-long human condition. The health challenges he faced every day of his life. And if he can battle through the big things that he endured for 32 years, then I can endure whatever temporary little bother for this one day. Thank you, Ben, for showing us how to live boldly and courageously, with humor, grace and perserverance. Ya done good!
'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.' 2 Timothy 4:7-8
April 22, 2021
Ben, thank you for your time helping others at our dinners at Celebrate Recovery. You brought joy and laughter for so many during those times. I miss our talks as we worked and as I drove you home afterwards. God allowed us to share a bond between two people who were limited healthwise. These talks were a safe space and now I miss my friend. I can imagine you are up there helping others. I am so glad God gave us time to be friends.
April 22, 2021
I can completely credit, or blame, Ben for whatever knowledge I might possess as it relates to Star Wars movies or characters... Went with him in Anchorage to at least three of the original movies and never lost an opportunity to have him lecture me concerning subtle nuances of plot lines in the newer films.
He was blessed with ignoring irrelevant superficialities and simply focused on what he felt was most important regardless of what you might think.
A deep bow of respect, humility and grace for a truly unique, one of a kind, man...