Richard Brockbank Johnson

Born: Sun., Jun. 12, 1938
Died: Tue., Oct. 5, 2010


3:00 PM to 5:00 PM, Sun., Oct. 10, 2010
Location: - Not available -

Funeral Service

2:00 PM Mon., Oct. 11, 2010

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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.

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Condolence Booklet

Janie Johnson
   Posted Fri October 08, 2010
I wish I could be there to say goodbye to my unique and special cousin. I have many memories of Dick as a young boy and then again as an adult at family reunions. He will be sorely missed. My love and prayers to Betty and the family.

Brandi Keeton
   Posted Fri October 08, 2010
I first met Richard Johnson at Kaiser Oakland. I'm a receptionist in the Oncology Department, words can't express how I feel. One day I was going through some personal things and he sung to me, it was so beautiful. Richard lefted my spirits, he will be truly missed by all of us here at Kaiser Oakland. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Mark and Karen Palmer
   Posted Sat October 09, 2010
Betty and family,
So sorry to hear of Dick's passing. He fought a valiant fight right up to the end.
He will be sorely missed by all who ever knew him. What a great guy.
I will always remember the week he brought horses up to girls' camp and I got to go on an early morning ride. It was a real treat.
He also showed his mechanical side on that trip as he had to replace a transmission on his truck.

You an yours are in our thoughts and prayers,
Mark and Karen

Danna Walsh
   Posted Sat October 09, 2010
I always enjoyed our association through my young adulthood. I am sorry for Dick's passing and pray that you will be comforted at this challenging time and going forward.
Danna Palmer Walsh

Carrie Sillito
   Posted Sat October 09, 2010
I just wanted to say I'm thinking of you and your family during this difficult time. Briody, Calan, and I had the opportunity to become friends with Richard this Spring when we came to Oakland. He is a great man, with an innate ability to make others feel welcome, to help others look deep inside their selves, and with a desire to understand who people really are. I feel privlidged to have gotten to know him better after hearing so many wonderful things about him when I was Josie's companion. Betty - our prayers are with you. Que Dieu soit avec toi. - Carrie

Phil Salin
   Posted Sat October 09, 2010
For the past 36 years, it has been my honor and privilege to have had Richard Johnson as my loyal and very caring friend. He had numerous outstanding qualities that most of us seldom obtain. His wisdom, knowledge, concern for others, musical abilities, love of family, and wonderful sense of humor, all made him a powerhouse of a real man.

He was a faithful friend who always found the time to get in his car, and drive many miles to visit when I lived in San Francisco, Madera, and Fresno. His last visit to my current home in St George, Utah was on September 4 and 5, 2010. We had an enjoyable time, which included some deep discussions. He even brought along his accordion to practice and we all sat around laughing and singing as though some of our bolts were loose. My girlfriend Carol and cousin Judy also enjoyed his times here. Richard has always impressed them with his fantastic mind and insights.

When he left St. George, he headed to Georgia, where he had his hip go out. I was surprised when he phoned me in St. George from his hospital bed and told me of his latest challenge. Subsequently, he got out of the hospital, boarded a plane and flew back to Oakland. After he arrived in Oakland, he phoned to tell me that everything was okay, but that he was not feeling well, and just needed a few days rest. That was the last time that we spoke to each other.

Through all of his trails, tribulations, and pain, Richard always remained optimistic, positive, and upbeat. His attitude, energy, and drive were always amazing to me. He defined what the character of man is all about. He will be greatly missed by myself and close circle of loved ones, including Carol, Cousin Judy, Lana West, and Martin and Sue Hawco.

My love and best wishes to his entire family forever,

Phil Salin

Rogene Huish
   Posted Sat October 09, 2010
I am the wife of Dicks deceased cousin Richard (Dick) Huish son of Mary and Blackie. I have wonderful memories of Uncle J.Ed and Aunt Lavon and all of the 8 siblings. Dick and I spent many fun times at the family home on Spruce and also at the Ranch. I send my love and prayers to all of the family. I'm sure my Dick will be glad to greet and renew family ties with his cousin Dick. I thank Diane Delamare for sending this obituary to my daughter Anne, in PA. who fwd it to me. Great to read of his wonderful life.

Dawn Binning Gibbs
   Posted Mon October 11, 2010
I will never forget riding his horse "Red" on the ranch. We had so much fun and Dick was always full of interesting and wonderful stories. I will cherish my memories of the ranch, the horses and Dick.

Chris Bown
   Posted Wed October 13, 2010
Just wanted to express my sympathy for the loss of your husband/dad. He was a great man who knew how to forgive the person who took one of his dearest possessions from him and because he passed that on to his children. I learned a great lesson in compassion that day in court.

Susan Ashby-Colombu
   Posted Sat October 16, 2010
To all who loved and knew Richard, I am a neighbor, sharing part of the Johnson Ranch fenceline. My sincerest sympathy and condolences to you all. The first time I met Richard was when four of his horses and one donkey had gotten through a hole in the fence. Most of them just grazed. One of the horses ended up walking onto my pool cover and his legs fell through! Martinez Animal Control and Orinda's finest PD slit the cover and took all the animals to horse jail. (Not before the horse had a high colonic and ripped the pool sweep out of the wall because one of its legs got entangled.) I was not home at the time, but other neighbors made a video for me. This is how I met Richard. Another time, my daughter was probably five years old, and she came to me and said "Mommy, there's a bull in our backyard". My thoughts were, 'right honey, great imagination'. It was Fernando - another fence hole issue. Richard was so gracious during these events that I thought were outrageously funny. He eventually learned I grew up in the countryside of WI and could understand all is not under our control. Later on we would keep in contact over some other issues, not pertaining to our property borders, but another up here on the Ridge. He was the most straight forward, logical, and at the same time, sweet man. Richard was a true gentleman and gentle man. I was out of town when he passed away, so could not attend the funeral. I am sorry for that. I regret that I didn't get to tell him that property border issue had gotten resolved. I'm sure it wasn't in the forefront of his mind these last few months, but I know the outcome would make him very happy for the Johnson Ranch legacy. I respect and admire Richard's integrity so much. I will remember him always as a positive influence in my life as how humanity should be. Farewell my neighbor. Sue

Christie & Jim McTigue
   Posted Sat October 30, 2010
We will so miss seeing Richard on the road with his grandchildren on board a horse or his beautiful horse and cart. Richard always had a smile and greeting for us and it was so nice to share in the horse community with him and exchange stories. He loved horses the way we do and was so proud of his Tennessee Walkers. I remember him playing the accordion and singing at one of the campfires in Tilden. It was clear how much he enjoyed the music and playing for the group and we all enjoyed it too. Richard showed us all how to keep the joy in life alive.

Federico Campos
   Posted Mon January 10, 2011
I'm Federico Campos, I used to be your student at the Oakland Adult School, in 1983-1984, through you I met Richard, and We (Richard and I) speend nice time teaching each other Spanish and English (Specially Legal Terms), so I had have the privilege to know him as a very nice person, a honest one that enjoy with the simple things of life.

Throught Internet, I just find out Richard past away, so I just want to express you my condolences and I asure you that will keep in my mind Richard as the way he was, a nice and a very sensible person who enjoy giving things instead of getting things.

Federico Campos

Douglas Middleton
   Posted Tue March 01, 2011
Betty, Can''t believe I ran across this OB. So sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Never knew Richard but he was a great guy.

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