William Warren Johnson
April 7, 1926 – June 4, 2020
Dr. William (Bill) Johnson died at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center at the age of 94. Born in Columbus, Ohio, he was raised in nearby Granville by his parents, Alfred Janney Johnson and Flora Jane Von Berge Johnson.
Alfred (Al) Johnson was the Business Manager at Denison University in Granville where Bill was enrolled in 1944. He transferred to the University of Kansas, where he ran track, graduating in 1948. He then attended Northwestern University medical school in Chicago, where he was introduced to Martha (Mig) Wallace Shorney of River Forest, Illinois. They were married on June 15, 1953 and departed the following day for San Francisco, California where he was to intern.
In 1957, Bill entered the Air Force, based initially in Portland, Oregon. After Flight Surgeon’s school, he was transferred to Oxnard Air Force Base as Medical Commander before entering private practice in 1959. Bill was a “people person” to his very core. Over the ensuing 40 years, he is estimated to have had 150,000 patient encounters in and around his adopted home of Los Gatos, California. He kept in touch with patients, colleagues and employees for the rest of his life.
Bill served as President of the local Rotary Club, was an avid athlete and played the violin with various musical groups. In 1993, he retired but continued working on a Locum Tenens basis over the next six years, primarily in Native American and rural communities across the country.
The Johnsons moved to Medford in 1999 and continued to ski, golf and play tennis well after becoming residents at the Rogue Valley Manor. During retirement, he enjoyed singing in the Manor choir, playing chess, listening to music and reading. His friends and family will remember him for his sense of humor, zest for life, warmth and unending curiosity.
Bill is survived by his wife (Mig Johnson), a sister and brother-in-law (Judy and David Taylor of Wilmette, Illinois), his three children, Jeff (Sylvie), Sara, and David (Sara Amelia) Johnson, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as many nephews and nieces.
Special thanks are given to the entire staff of the Rogue Valley Manor for over 20 years of thoughtful service and genuine companionship.
Bill will be buried at Lakeview Cemetery in Ludington, Michigan. A celebration of Bill’s life will be scheduled at a later date. Memorial gifts can be made to the Rogue Valley Manor Foundation, Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center or the Rogue Valley Symphony.
William Warren Johnson
February 6, 2021
Dr. Bill not only delivered me some 55 years ago, he was my godfather. I fondly remember his sense of humor and his devotion to his profession and family. So many stories of him making house calls for our family along with the many social visits. My parents were good friends with him and Mig. He never missed sending hand written letters to me on my birthday. I used to kid him about his handwriting and that I needed a nurse to translate his letters for me. He always remembered something from my youth or a story to share. What a great guy! The humor and wit he brought to our lives is a memory and a gift I will cherish for all my days. He brought me into this world and I am a better human for having known him. Love you Doc, rest in peace and a job well done.
September 13, 2020
My mother Beryl, also a longtime resident of RVM, has been friends with Bill and Mig for many years, and I grew to know and love them both. Bill’s wit, great sense of humor, intellectual curiosity and warmth easily won me over. He was always interested in what I was up to and remembered every detail—he even read my blog for the short time it lasted—and kept an eye on the welfare of my mom as well. I was so saddened to learn I would no longer be able to work on another puzzle with him, dine with him or listen to more of his fascinating life stories. From his own accounts I know he lived a happy, full life that he was very grateful for, and he loved his family deeply. Our condolences, and an especially big hug for Mig.
July 30, 2020
Bill had an unquenchable thirst for understanding people and everything around him. It sometimes appeared as just a quest for knowledge but it was more that just knowledge he sought . His mission was true understanding. He wanted to understand the breadth and depth of people, their lives, their hearts, and the rest of life’s excitement. He wanted to feel all there was to feel and try all there was to try. He wanted to squeeze the juice out of life so he could truly understand it.
Harlan and Laura Barry
July 14, 2020
Laura and I have fond memories of Bill. Bill was an avid golfer and always a great partner. He did point out Harlan's rare shortfalls on the golf course. Laura worked with Meg in providing ice cream in the Health Care Center.
Bill always had a story. When Harlan was the captain of the golf group, Bill always had friendly advice, which was great.
Recently Harlan would see him outside of the Health Center and Bill would have some story to tell. He also was a member of the Tuesday-Thursday Chess group. When Bill was not playing he would very patiently watch the others. Not sure if he followed the matches with sound advice.
Bill was a wonderful resident and set a great example for the rest of us. You surely have wonderful memories as well.
Harlan and Laura Barry
July 11, 2020
After reading what I wrote before, I would be remiss not to add that hilarity managed to follow him no matter where he went. No matter how serious a situation, appropriate hilarity would come from his direction at the precisely perfect moment. It was respectful humor, never demeaning or degrading, usually aimed at himself or the ridiculousness of the human condition.
I actually remember him shifting me onto an operating table and I feebly told him I felt dizzy like I was going to pass out. He said, it's okay, pass out, you're already lying down so there's nowhere to fall.
He was a great storyteller. He remembered all the facts and did not embellish them but put them into context so one could see why a detail was particularly funny or essential to the story. The stories were as varied as they were plentiful. There were too many unheard stories begging to be told, and even in what was to be our last conversation, he actually shared a previously unheard story that was fascinating, illuminating, and entertaining. He was shining and smiling back at life as much as the goodness of life shined on him.
July 9, 2020
I met Bill about a year ago, when visiting my father at Rogue Valley Manor. Bill and I struck up a conversation about my folding bicycle (a Brompton) and each time I visited my father I would look for Bill. He's see me and ask if I brought the bicycle. Every interaction was generous, energetic, and interesting. I'm grateful for the great conversation; for Bill sharing just a few of his memories such as his time riding a horse as a young person, his love of bicycles, and folks he knew involved in California government (I work in Sacramento). I'm sorry for your loss, and feel lucky to have met Bill and to have known him just a little. He was a gem, and I will miss him.
July 3, 2020
It is hard to say goodbye to Bill. Thankfully it is not necessary because the influence and impact he had on family, friends, patients, and community is his living legacy. It is characterized by loving kindness, compassion, and generosity. He will always be remembered for his insatiable curiosity about the intricacies of people’s lives and the complexities of the human experience. His strength of character, intelligence, and many talents were not exceeded by his wonderful sense of joy, humor, and goodwill toward all.
William, tis but a thin veil that separates us now and in the blink of an eye, we’ll all be together to solve riddles, rig science experiments, marvel at the magic of the universe, and generally get up to fun pranks and good mischief.
You are, as always, dearly loved.
Barb and Gene Gerwe
June 23, 2020
We have wonderful memories of many happy times with you and Bill - cocktails at your lovely home in Monte Sereno, days on the golf course - these moments last in our hearts forever.
Barb and Gene Gerwe
June 20, 2020
I met Bill by telephone one day in late 2007. He introduced himself and asked if I was the son of Sam Gelfer? When I said yes, he stated the conversation by telling me what my father had meant to him. He took violin lessons from my father, who was a professor in the music department, when he was at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. He had to return the violin when he left to play sports but took it up again later and was still playing in his 80's. He was enjoying playing and was in a music group.
We became friends over the years through letters, emails, and phone, sharing our love for various pieces of music along with discussing house projects, our families, and his music group. He also shared his times and antics at Denison University. In our recent conversation in May, he said he needed to start practicing his violin again.
Rest well, my friend. I will miss our conversations.
June 17, 2020
Rest in peace, Dr. Johnson. You were a great neighbor and it was a privilege to be your patient for many years. I remember when I would get sick and you would come over to the my parents' home for a house call.
We had many great frisbee contests, seeing if we could fling the frisbee from the street, over your house into the field past the back yard. You took me golfing when I came home from college, and we also went on a couple of ski trips.
The best thing about you was you always had great stories about many of your friends and colleagues. You were truly a great people person.
All of our lives have been enriched by your presence.
I look forward to meeting you again in heaven!
June 7, 2020
Dr. Bill was a most honorable man and my father’s best friend. He was brilliant, generous, warm, loving, handsome and funny...sooo funny and so much fun to be with. Since my dad (R.D. (Bob) Moore) passed away in 2003 and I moved to Medford in 2009, Bill has been my “Dad Away From Dad.” He loved to share stories and memories about my dad, “Ahhhh Dee,” and I loved hearing them.
Over the last ten years Bill, Mig, my husband Doug and I went to plays, concerts, drum corps shows, and grocery stores. Bill was great company and we will miss him terribly.