Richard Brockbank Johnson died October 5, 2010 at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland. He was lovingly called Abba or Grandpa by his grandchildren, Uncle Dick by over 30 nieces and nephews whose lives he had touched, Dad Pops by his children and simply Dick by life long friends. Richard had been diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer earlier in the year. He fought that disease valiantly. He lived life to the fullest and left with no regrets. Richard was predeceased by his daughter Josie in 2004 and is survived by his wife Betty; five of his seven siblings, Carolyn, Tom, Cheryl, Vonnie and Harry; three of his four children, Ken, Julie and Justin; his eleven grandchildren and his five horses.
Richard was a true Renaissance man. He was able to teach himself how to do just about anything and enjoyed working with his hands as a carpenter, mechanic, plumber and electrician. Throughout his life he was a rancher and spent many hours at the family ranch in the Orinda Hills. He cared for and rode horses, made roads with his tractor, mended fences constantly, raised cattle, brought “city” water to the ranch and shared these skills and experiences with his children, grandchildren and friends who will cherish these memories forever.
Richard was born and raised in Berkeley, California on June 12, 1938 to J. Edward and Ethel Lavon Johnson. He was the 7th of 8 children. He grew up in the LDS faith, and served a mission for the church in France from 1959 to 1961. Dick married Betty Lou Borg on July 27, 1961 in the Logan Temple.
Dick grew up in Berkeley but also spent much of his time at the aforementioned ranch where he and his siblings would work on projects for their father and play in the fields. He graduated from Berkeley High School. As a youth he was active in the Boy Scout program and earned the rank of Eagle Scout and later served as a Scout Master. He graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a degree in English and then received his JD degree from Boalt Hall in 1967. Upon graduation he worked for the Alameda Country District Attorney’s office for 6 years after which time he entered private practice. Richard retired from his legal career at the age of 62. Following retirement, Richard pursued craniosacral massage therapy training and became a healer, often working with those afflicted with cancer.
Richard pursued many interests and adventures throughout his life including music (piano, accordion, guitar, violin, bagpipes and the huchin, as well as singing), the study of foreign languages (French, Spanish, German, Mandarin Chinese and Tongan), traveling (in the U.S., Mexico, Europe and China), riding horses in Tilden Park as well as in the Sierra and in the Gila in New Mexico with his cousin Greg. He also loved spending time with his grandchildren and had countless sleepovers at the ranch with them. He had a gift for making friends wherever he went and knows and loves people from every walk of life. These friendships enriched his life greatly.
Richard's family would like to thank the inpatient services and medical oncology team at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland.
There will be a viewing at the Johnson Family Ranch from 3:00 to 5:00 PM on Sunday October 10th. A funeral service will be held on Monday, October 11th at 2 PM in the LDS chapel at 4770 Lincoln Avenue in Oakland.