Gordon Howard Johnson, 81, of Sunnyside passed away Wednesday evening, Sept. 9, 2009, at Sunnyside Community Hospital, with his wife by his side.

He lived in Sunnyside for more than 53 years,

He was born May 17, 1928 in Seattle. He grew up in Seattle, graduating from Queen Anne High School in 1946 and studying engineering at the University of Washington.

He worked for S.H. Kress & Company beginning in 1946. In 1951 Gordon served in the U.S. Army as a corporal with the Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion in Austria, during the Korean War. He and a friend delivered care packages to Austrian orphanages during their days on leave. He was honorably discharged after two years of service in 1952. He returned to S.H. Kress Co. and moved to Yakima as store manager in 1954.

In 1955 Gordon met and married his beloved wife of more than 53 years, Barbara (Sailor). They were married in the fall of 1955 and moved to Sunnyside. There he joined his father-in-law's business with Shell Oil Company and also started his own heating and air conditioning business.

In 1968 Gordon became interested in computers and attended Yakima Valley College, where he studied computer science and business administration. He worked with several early computer-based start-up businesses trying to modernize business and hospital administration with the implementation of computerized systems.

A new opportunity arose in 1975 and Gordon began working at Hanford for Arco/Rockwell/Flour Global Services. While there he worked in various areas including, pipefitting, refrigeration, fabrication specialist, management, planner, computer programmer, computer systems analyst, and trainer. Gordon retired in spring of 1991.

A man of many talents and interests, he was a founding member of the Yakima Valley Sports Car Club and president for the first two years.

Gordon loved driving in road rallies and racing his 1954 Jag roadster.

He helped organize the first Maryhill Hill Climb Race which ran for a number of years. This race was revived in 1999 and the Johnsons have enjoyed volunteering annually. They worked with SOVREN, The Society of Vintage Racing Enthusiasts and each July 4th weekend volunteered to work in "the hot pits" at one of their annual fundraising races. The proceeds from this Pacific Northwest Historics Race by SOVREN benefits Children's Hospital in Seattle.

Gordon was a Boy Scout leader for seven years and enjoyed sharing the outdoors and the soapbox derby races with his son, Randy and all the scouts in the troop.

He also taught gun safety classes for several years. Sailing was a passion of Gordon's for 35 years and he loved introducing people to sailing.

As members of the McNary Yacht Club and the Walla Walla Yacht Club, he and his family enjoyed racing and cruising on the Columbia River and on the Puget Sound. Gordon was active in his church, experiencing the fellowship of Holy Trinity's welcoming congregation.

He enjoyed woodworking, making trophies for raceways in the 1960s, and later cutting and preparing wood for Barb and the folk art classes that she taught.

After retirement, Barb and Gordon traveled the U.S. in their fifth-wheel trailer on many enjoyable trips with family and friends.

He was a member of the Central Washington Traveler's Club and treasured the adventures, food, and friendships. The Central Washington Agricultural Museum captured his interest and his heart in 1992, when he literally put their computer back together.

Gordon and his neighbor, Bob, spent many happy Tuesdays restoring vintage farm equipment, building a trapper's cabin out of logs, as well as cataloging antique tools and equipment then entering the information into the database, and making identification cards for the museum. He was a member and/or officer in many community and service organizations and actively supported his children and wife in their activities.

Gordon was a man of faith and deep love for his family and friends. He always welcomed people into his life and home with good food, a glass of wine, and stories to share.

He loved being a husband, father, and grandfather. He believed in showing that love on a daily basis through his loving devotion and humor.

Gordon is survived by his loving family, his wife, Barbara; his son, Randy Johnson and daughter-in-law, Lynn and grandchildren, Hannah and Tyler, all of Fall City; his daughter, Tamera Posey and son-in-law, Dennis and grandchildren, Shelby and Margot, all of Seattle; and three brothers, Robert A., Duane E. and Stephen O. Johnson and their families.

He was preceded in death by his parent, Otto Marion Johnson and Louise Margaret (Hoem) Johnons; and his sister, Mariann Johnson.

Those wishing to honor his memory may send memorials to Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 456, Sunnyside, WA 98944 or the Central Washington Agricultural Museum, P.O. Box 3008, Union Gap, WA 98903-3008.

A celebration of his life will be held Friday, Sept. 18, 2009, 11 a.m. at Holy Trinity Church, Fourth Street and Edison Avenue in Sunnyside. Friends and family are invited to a light luncheon at Holy Trinity Church following service.

Those wishing to sign Gordon's online memorial book may do so at

Smith Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


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