Lawrence "Larry" E. Johnson
August 15, 1924 – March 30, 2018
My Life Story by Larry Egon Johnson July 29, 2012
Lawrence Egon Johnson was born in Bellingham Washington on August 15th, 1924 to Hilma Olsson and Carl Lineus Johansen. When Carl, Lawrence's father, immigrated to the United States in 1893, he only had 24 dollars in his pocket. Upon arrival to Ellis Island he changed his name to Charles Johnson and joined his sister, Emma who had previously settled in Bellingham, Washington. After Charles established himself as a contractor in Bellingham he went back to Sweden and brought Hilma from Varmland, Sweden to become his wife and they resided in Bellingham, Washington where Lawrence Egon Johnson was born in 1924. Charles was 23 years older than Hilma but he was well established during the Great Depression as other families struggled to survive the lean times. The Johnson family resided at 1702 Grant street with the assistance of their nanny Auntie Ericcson. Larry became the elder brother to Carl Erling Johnson on June 15, 1926. The brothers became best friends as they lived in the family owned apartments and enjoyed playing games and looking out at Belliingham Bay. Living close to Bellingham Normal School which was part of what is now known as Western Washington University offered advanced education to Larry and Erling. They were exposed to the finest educational opportunities as teachers learned to refined their skills of teaching.
Larry went to Bellingham High School where he played football and graduated in 1942. War erupted but he was too young to enlist so he went to Western Washington College in the fall. Larry was drafted to go into the armed forces in the spring in 1943. It was discovered that he had a hernia and he underwent surgery before he reported for duty. He went to officer training at the University of Washington. He entered an accelerated program and graduated in three years and was commissioned as an Navy ensign where he was on a Naval patrol boat doing research after the war ended. This is when sonar gear was making an entrance to the scene and Larry was in the South Atlantic where the crew did tests on submarine activity. Larry was released from active duty in 1946 and entered a graduate program at the University of Washington in Civil Engineering. While he was at the U of W, Larry was a Kappa Sigma fraternity resident. His brother, Erling would later attend the UW and was a Kappa Sigma brother also. The GI Bill paid for Larry's education. His first job was with Captain Greer Duncan as a field supervisor while he was finishing his graduate degree. The Seattle School district hired Larry as their building supervisor for the construction of their schools in 1948. He later worked for three different general contracting firms.
During that period of time while Larry was working for Green Construction, he met Naomi Jean Larson who was also a Bellingham native. Naomi was working for the Thirteenth Naval District in Seattle Washington. Their first date was on New Years Eve, 1949, in Vancouver, British Colombia. They dated, fell in love and were married on January 28, 1950 in Bellingham, Washington in a beautiful ceremony during the most severe winter recorded in history. The couple settled in Seattle on the base of Queen Anne Hill. They welcomed their first child, a daughter, Lyn Christine, on April 15, 1951. Larry and Naomi purchased their first home on 8th street in in Seattle before the birth of their second child, Larry Mark Johnson. who was born on November 3. 1953. The family continued to enjoy life where Naomi painted, baked bread for the family and neighbors and Larry worked for Puget Construction. The family continued to flourish and grow. Bryan Greer Johnson was welcomed on December 1, 1955. Larry and Naomi started to dream about building a home for their growing family. The Juanita-Kirkland area on the eastside of Lake Washington called their name. The family moved into their new home in the fall of 1960.
At the same time Larry considered establishing his own business. He joined two fellow colleagues George Buck and Dave McKee and established Prime Construction the same year that the Johnson family moved into their new home at 6060 NE 135th in Kirkland. Lyn was10, Mark was 7, and Bryan was 5, when Larry and Naomi welcomed their third son, Carl Matthew Johnson , who was the delight of his entire family. The kids loved the two acres where they lived. They played in the streams, caught frogs, salamanders, snakes and loved their dog Honey, a Boston terrier who was their constant companion. Larry coached the boys in Little League where his team, the Giants won the championship more that once. Naomi was the Little League secretary while Larry helped coach and use his expertise to help design the new Everest Little League Baseball field and the Kirkland Municipal Swimming Pool. Many friendships were built during those years with his growing family. The Johnson family traveled down the Pacific Coast when Lyn was 14, Mark was 11, Bryan was 9, and Carl was 4. They visited the Oregon Coast, including the Tillamook Cheese Factory, Cannon Beach, The Redwood Forest, Hearst Castle, Disneyland, Knox Berry Farm, Seaworld and crossed the border into Mexico. As the children went off to college and became independent, Larry became a leader in the Association of General Contractors. He was appointed as the president in 1980 where his family proudly attended the gala affair. He also achieved the Professional Civil Engineer status. Larry was able to share his expertise with many younger aspiring engineer candidates at the University of Washington, Edmonds Community College, South Seattle Community College, and Shoreline Community College. In his later career and after retirement, Larry served as a Value Engineer on various jobs. He served on the board of directors at Waldo Hospital, where he was also president. Larry established the AGC Education Foundation to ensure that the profession would continue with strong young minds for future years.
In retirement, Larry and Naomi traveled throughout the world. They spent many winters in Matzatlan, Mexico. They traveled to China, Scandinavia, Africa, Panama Canal, Europe, and many times to Hawaii with other family members. They enjoyed time at their cabin in LaConner, WA Larry's greatest accomplishment in his own words is his family. His love and commitment have been reflected in his children, Lyn (Alan), Mark(Claudia), Bryan(Barbara), and Carl. The 15 grandchildren, and 11 great grandchildren. Larry was preceded in death by his parents, Hilma and Charles, brother Erling, and beloved son, Larry Mark Johnson.
In lieu of flowers an educational fund has been established in his name to promote and develop construction careers through education and training. The Larry Johnson Memorial Fund will award annual scholarships in his name from the Larry Johnson-Prime Construction Endowment Fund, established in 1997. https://constructionfoundation.org/giveback/larryjohnsonmemorialfund
- AGC Education Foundation
- Reception Thursday, April 19, 2018
- Celebration of Life Saturday, April 28, 2018
Lawrence "Larry" E. Johnson
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April 28, 2018
October 1990, Woodland park zoo
April 16, 2018
Naomi, Erling, Phyllis & Larry
April 16, 2018
February 18 2012 Warren, Darrell, Keith, Erling, Larry & Bryon
April 16, 2018
A nite on the town.
April 16, 2018
When Grandpa Charles came to visit, I was inspired by the way he could consume 1/2 of a pancake in a single bite. For some reason or another Phyllis was not impressed.
April 16, 2018
Uncle Larry is showing Eric how to correctly size up a Dungeness Crab. July 2003, Snee Oosh Beach on the Papa Won, 19' Tollycraft.
April 12, 2018
Larry Johnson was a dedicated parent and community leader. The Kirkland / Juanita area was a better place because of Larry. I taught the building construction program at Juanita High School and I knew that when I had a design or construction problem, especially with reinforced concrete, help was just a phone call away.
I had a young family, when I first met Larry, and I paid carefully attention to parents that were truly dedicated to their children and desired to make their community a better place.
Larry will be missed!
Tom Short, Woodinville