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Arthur Gene Johnson
October 18, 1926 ~ October 14, 2023 (age 96) 96 Years Old
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Arthur Gene Johnson, fondly known as “Gene”, passed away quietly at the age of 96 at his home in Escondido, California on Saturday, October 14, 2023. He succumbed to cancer after bravely fighting a several-year battle.
Gene was born on October 18, 1926 in Donovan, Illinois. He was the eldest of four brothers raised on a farm in Brook, Indiana. He attended Mount Ayr High School. Stationed in San Diego, Gene proudly served in the U.S. Navy from 1943-1945 (WWII).
Gene went back to Indiana after the navy to work at the family dairy farm. He married the love of his life, Audrey Anastasia Bingham, on December 4, 1948 in Morocco, Indiana. He found himself drawn back to California where he worked at Ford Motor Company, then later, at Douglas Aircraft. From 1952-1960, Gene returned to Indiana once more to pursue farming. In 1960, Gene said good-bye to the cows, corn, and cold and brought Audrey and two young sons out to California for good. The family settled down in the city of Escondido where they had three more sons. Gene worked for the Escondido Lumber Company until he retired in 1991.
He was a devout Christian proudly serving as a deacon and trustee at the Hidden Valley Christian Church. Gene volunteered at Featherstone Canyon Christian Camp for many years and helped to restore the camp after the 2003 Cedar Wildfire. Despite his recent ailments, Gene made every attempt to attend Sunday service at Escondido Christian Church.
Gene’s adventurous spirit brought him to the top of Half Dome and many roller coasters and through the door of an airplane with a parachute on his back. He led an active life enjoying golf, bowling, softball, basketball, water skiing, fishing, snow skiing, and travel. Later in life, he re-discovered a passion for distance running. He won numerous awards from local races in his eighties including the 2016 Oceanside Turkey Trot 5K where he earned first place in his age division, and the 2013 Carlsbad 5000 where he also placed first in his age group. He received newspaper recognition and trophies for these accomplishments.
The Johnsons spent many summers on road trips around the country with Gene at the helm. He brought Audrey and the boys on many adventures visiting national parks, and they often traveled back to Indiana to spend time with family. In his golden years, Gene loved riding his ATV at the Salton Sea where he enjoyed many happy weekends with his family soaking in the sun and toasting marshmallows around the campfire at their desert home.
Those who knew Gene will always remember him with his camera in hand during special occasions and events. His family could count on him to capture precious moments on film and video. They also will fondly remember his affection for chocolate and homemade ice cream.
Gene is survived by his wife, Audrey Johnson of Escondido; his youngest brother Robert “Bob” Johnson of Indiana; his five sons: John (Carol) Johnson of Encinitas, Brian (Irma) Johnson of Temecula, Mark (Carolyn) Johnson of Wildomar, Wesley (Kathleen) Johnson of Escondido, Michael (Terri) Johnson of San Marcos; his ten grandchildren: Ashley Kothrade, Elyse Kopp, Trevor Johnson, Brock Johnson, Ezra Johnson, Mark Johnson Jr., Savannah Johnson, Robert Cultrera, Joshua Cultrera, Frederick Johnson; and finally, his eleven great grandchildren: Hailey Kothrade, Avery Kothrade, Silas Kothrade, Jax Kopp, Brynn Kopp, Nyxen Johnson, Jayden Meza, Olivia Cultrera, Rosalee Cultrera, Scarlett Cultrera, and Nick Cultrera. He was preceded in death by his parents Eric Johnson and Everal (Fleming) Johnson of Indiana; and his brothers: Paul Johnson of Indiana and James “Mick” Johnson of Indiana.
A memorial for Gene will be held on Saturday, November 11, 2023 from 2-5pm at Mission Hills Church at 400 Mission Hills Ct, San Marcos, CA 92069. A coffee and dessert reception to celebrate his life will follow the church service.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Escondido Christian Church in memory of Gene Johnson.