Eugene Francis Johnson
September 30, 1930 – October 9, 2020
Eugene Francis “Gene” Johnson, Jr., age 90, passed peacefully into the arms of the Lord on October 9, 2020, at his home in Thousand Oaks, California.
Gene was born September 30, 1930, in Springfield, Missouri, to Eugene Francis and Margaret Flanagan Johnson. He joined older sister Julianna Elizabeth to complete the family of four. Gene graduated from Springfield’s Greenwood High School in 1948 and from Drury College in 1952. Shortly after his college graduation, Gene reported to active duty in the Navy aboard the heavy cruiser USS Macon, which was assigned to the Atlantic fleet. Thus began a life-long passion for traveling the seas by large ships.
Gene left active service in 1954 and returned to his parents’ home in Springfield. One of the three young women living next door caught Gene’s eye. She was Carolyn Neas from Conway, Missouri, and she had just purchased a brand new red Customline Ford coupe. Gene asked Carolyn to go for a drive—in her car, of course. The young couple began dating and, slightly over a year later on April 28, 1956, they married. Within six years they had four children. Gene’s career in insurance and risk management moved them to St. Louis, Missouri; Woodridge, Illinois; and finally, Thousand Oaks, California. After their children married, Gene and Carolyn were blessed with twelve grandchildren—eleven girls and one boy.
Gene and Carolyn loved to travel throughout the USA as well as much of the world. Gene was particularly fond of sea cruises and planned trips that introduced cruising to his children and grandchildren. Gene also had a passion for researching family history and genealogy. He pursued this passion before the internet and DNA-testing made it a desk job. Gene often planned vacations to include visits to old churches and graveyards where he would gather needed information. He then converted his collected information into a series of volumes detailing family biographies and genealogy charts. In his retirement years, Gene honed his wood-crafting hobby skills. The pastor at St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church, Monsignor Peter O’Reilly, asked Gene to create several custom pieces to complement the church’s existing walnut altarpieces crafted by artist Sam Maloof. These projects—and many others—gave Gene hours of enjoyment in “Grandpa’s” workshop over nearly two decades.
Above all else, Gene was a family man. Throughout his career, Gene spent evenings and weekends with his family. The vacations he planned while his children were young led to their passion for travel adventures, and that passion has, in turn, been passed along to the grandchildren. Family events, holidays, summer afternoons and everyday evenings were well-celebrated by the Johnson clan. Our tradition of family time together will live long into the future.
Gene was preceded in death by his mother (Margaret), father (Gene Sr.), sister (Julianna Johnson Everett) and brother-in-law (Gene Everett, Jr.).
Gene is survived by Carolyn, his wife of 64 years. He is also survived by four children and their spouses: Cynthia (Jeff) Kemp of Thousand Oaks, Greg (Edie) Johnson of Thousand Oaks, Linda (Mike) Lynch of Moorpark, and Steve (Patty) Johnson of Colorado Springs, CO; by twelve grandchildren: Christina Kemp, Julia Kemp, Andrea Kemp, Christina (Jeremy) Samson, Melissa (Brett) Stark, Brianna Johnson, Liz Foster, Patrick Lynch, Meghan Lynch, Sara (Joe) Sampson, Laurel (Chris) Chase, Kelly Johnson; and by two great-granddaughters, Clara Chase and June Sampson.
Funeral Mass will be at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 17, 2020, at St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church in Westlake Village, California. Interment at Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park in Westlake Village will be private. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Gene’s memory to Catholic Charities of Ventura County or to a charity of your choice.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Eugene Francis Johnson
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Eugene Francis Johnson
October 16, 2020
I first met Uncle Gene when I was seven years old around the time he married my beautiful Aunt Carolyn (Aunt Caddie to me), my mother's baby sister. As a little girl, I remember thinking that he was very handsome, glamorous, warm - and terribly witty. He seemed to sparkle with life.
Throughout the years, Uncle Gene played a central role in Aunt Caddie's extensive family. He was there for family celebrations and to support us in times of trouble. Uncle Gene was blessed with the gift of being able to take everyone under his wings - and what broad wings they were! He took time to show interest in all of us and found time to let us know that he cared about us. When I was a penniless student in Paris, Uncle Gene took time during a busy business trip to take me to the Hotel Ritz for dinner. Over the years, he would treat my globetrotting family members with other similar experiences around the world.
Uncle Gene was a fantastic conversationalist. He could regale us with tall tales, offer incisive comments on an infinite number of subjects or draw us into a discussion about the meaning of life. During the aforementioned dinner in Paris, Uncle Gene (knowing I was studying literature) launched into a very interesting analysis of Edgar Allan Poe!
Most of all, I remember the beauty of seeing Uncle Gene and Aunt Caddie together. They were truly a wondrous sight to see - for 64 years! Thank you, Aunt Caddie, for the memories.
Kay Rader (niece)
October 15, 2020
In the Everett family, Gene is known as “Unc”. For many years, he’s been the family patriarch and historian. Unc shared generously of his family knowledge going back a few generations and provided us with some family treasures, such as giving our daughter Ashley (a college architecture major) the architecture and drafting tools his father started his career with and giving John and me a drawing of “A Bank” from his father’s time as an architecture student at the University of Pennsylvania. Unc matched these gifts to our careers and interests. Unc was also a link to his sister, Julie, who passed away in 1984 leaving the Everett family without a mother and grandmother who could have shared her family memories with us. We’re grateful that Gene and Carolyn have been a vital link to our past.
Family reunions with Unc at the center were always fun and memorable! We will miss him so much.
October 13, 2020
I am so sorry for your loss. You have wonderful memories, a loving family and a strong faith.
I've known Gene and Carolyn since before Greg married my oldest daughter, Edie. My husband, Joe, and I enjoyed many family dinners with them reminiscing about the old days.
I remember the time Gene and Carolyn drove me home from Santa Barbara after Edie and Greg's oldest daughter, Christina and Jeremy's wedding. Joe had to leave early and I needed a ride back to Thousand Oaks. Carolyn and I talked all the way home, Gene was rather quiet. I was so impressed with his smooth driving I let him know that if he needed something to do, he would make a great Uber driver.
Louise Conti aka Grandma Louise