Ralph L. Johnson

February 27, 1932May 11, 2013

Born in Madison, Nebraska on February 27, 1932, died in Denver, Colorado on May 11, 2013

Survived by his wife, Sharon L. Johnson; two sons – Rob and Scott; two step-sons – Randy and Russ; 6 grandchildren – Dusty, Misty, Brandon, Hannah, Alyssa and Nathan; 6 great-grandchildren – Dashawn, Deonte, Aaron, Logan, Lexi and Lilly; two sisters: Delores Fuhrman and Ella Mae Massey; and many nieces and nephews.

Born the 11th of 12 children, to a Charles and Anna Johnson. Their family moved to Colorado when he was eight years old. He attended Manual High School in Denver. As a teen, he worked at various jobs including ice delivery.

In 1950, he enlisted and proudly served in the United States Navy. He was a member of the Fighter Squadron 884, the Bitter Birds. He did three tours of duty during the Korean conflict. His first was aboard the carrier USS Boxer. His second was aboard the carrier USS Kearsarge. The third tour was as a gunner on a PBM Martin Mariner. He saw more than his share of combat from the air and aboard ship.

He married his first wife, Shirley, in 1952 while on leave in San Diego, California.

In 1954 he received an honorable discharge and they moved home to Colorado. He worked for a short time as a law enforcement officer at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal.

In 1955 he began his life in the fire service as a firefighter for the Denver Fire Department. Over the years he worked his way through the ranks of Lieutenant and Captain.

In 1974 he married Sharon Cupps. He and Sharon remained best friends and life companions for the next 39 years.

In 1975 he was promoted to Assistant Chief. He served with honor and worked hard to earn the respect of those he worked along side over his years in the fire department. After 32 years, he retired from the Denver Fire Department in 1987.

In 1989 he was presented the opportunity to use his years of fire expertise as an International Fire Marshal with the U.S. State Department, Foreign Buildings Operations, Fire Protection Division. In this position he traveled the world investigating and inspecting U.S. Government properties and facilities. He served in this position until retiring in 1996.

Upon retiring from the State Department, his restless nature would not allow him to slip quietly into a retired state. He sought other opportunities to put his vast experience to use. He worked as a fire safety consultant and adviser at a GM auto manufacturing plant in Thailand and back in Colorado he drove charter tour bus until fully retiring in 2011.

This man had charisma and charm. He never met a stranger. He was a loving husband and father, and a good friend and inspiration to so many.

Committal service Friday, May 24th, 1:00pm at Olinger Crown Hill Cemetery, 29th & Wadsworth in Wheat Ridge. (Please meet at Area "B" behind the Fire Truck). A Memorial Service will follow at 2:30pm, Southern Gables Church, 4001 South Wadsworth Blvd. in Littleton.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Donor Alliance or to the Denver Fire Department's Widows and Orphans Fund.


  • Committal Service Friday, May 24, 2013
  • Memorial Service Friday, May 24, 2013

Ralph L. Johnson

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Misty Medeiros

September 29, 2013

Grandpa, we miss you! It's hard with out your advice and love.

Michelle Cupps

May 24, 2013

We will miss you Ralph, but we take great comfort because we will see you again and because you are in heaven with our great God!!

May 22, 2013

My thoughts and prayers go out to Sharon and all her family as they say goodbye to a most beloved man.

Ralph and I were fellow Nebraska folks and we were both born not far from each other there. We always had something to talk about.

I also took several bus trips and Ralph had been to many of those same places and knew some of the people I traveled with, too.

Ralph was a wonderful and most interesting man. He certainly blessed many people in his lifetime.


Mary Lou Gilpin

May 20, 2013

in my prayers and to all of you left .

Donna Hunt (Johnson)

May 18, 2013

Uncle Ralph will be in our prayers...

Bill and Diana Robbins

May 17, 2013

We are so very sad that we will unable to attend Ralph's "celebration". We have a commitment that we are unable to get out of.

" Dear Jesus, we want to lift up our dear friend Sharon and her family as they grieve the loss of Ralph. We thank you for Ralph and his life and what he has meant to so many. Thank you Lord for allowing Ralph to serve in our military and fight to make America free.
Please be with Sharon as the days go by and she feels the emptiness that will come. Would you please fill that emptiness with your love and comfort and give her peace, knowing that you are with her ALL WAYS.
Thank You Jesus. We love You and thank You for how You meet us just when we need You. AMEN"

May 17, 2013

My memory is when Ralph drove this huge bus and we went around and looked at Christmas Lights. Russ and Angie's treat. He had a ball taking us from place to place. Just a great smile. Love and Prayers Nadine Kirk