Richard Martin Johnson
August 12, 1970 to December 13, 2020
“Heaven’s Very Special Child” was born to this earthly world on August 12, 1970 in Chicago Illinois to his mother Joyce (deceased August 28, 1992), father Leonard and his older brother William.
While many labeled him “different,” our family loved him unconditionally. We cared for his needs as his development was slower than normal, but that did not matter. God gifted us with a very special and incredible young person.
His first four years were in Chicago and the family moved to California when Rich was 5 because of laws in Illinois requiring children be in school by the age of 5. The move allowed the family to continue to be united and not be split up because Rich was “different.” He lived in California his remaining 46 years under the care of his mother Joyce and father until 1992. Then Len and Karen continued to do all they could to make Rich happy, comfortable, loved and extraordinary.
That’s the simple history, but the real story of “Heaven’s Very Special Child.” When God gifts families with children who need extra help, God is giving a special love that is impossible to describe. Rich always glowed with a radiant light and reflected an unconditional love that is rarely seen. Rich always smiled, giggled, laughed and gave a hug to anyone. He might be shy, but once he knew it was okay, he freely shared his love. He reflected God’s love to all he encountered.
Rich in all reality was teaching us what we should all be like. His “normal” should be how we all live. His example of unconditional love was in response to what he was given from his mom, dad, brother and all he encountered.
God taught us through His Son that we are to love all without filters or prejudices. “Heaven’s Very Special Child” leaves us with those living reminders of what is truly important in life. That is love and the fullness of love in the absence of hate or division. That’s why he was never angry, or really sad, and always smiling and happy.
May he fly with the angels who sent him under God’s special light of love! May we all emulate a little bit of Rich in his legacy with us.
Thank you, Lord for the gift of “Heaven’s Very Special Child.”
In lieu of flowers, you can send a donation in Richie’s name to
Community Access Program Concord
4615 Clayton Road
Concord, CA 94521
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