Sunday, September 30, 2012

Charles William Johnson

Charles W. Johnson left this earth peacefully on Sunday, September 30, 2012, at his home, surrounded by his loving family.

He was born at St. Luke’s Hospital in Racine, Wisconsin, on November 13, 1929, the son of Millard W. and Marian Rittman Johnson.  He attended William Horlick High School, graduating in 1948.  He played varsity football, starting in the eighth grade (All-State); he also played basketball, ran track and was editor of the newspaper.  He was President of the National Honor Society.  He entered the University of Wisconsin in 1948, and graduated in 1952 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering.   He continued his studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, 1952-1955).  He spent three years studying Civil Engineering, working on the Whirlwind computer, and serving as captain of the rugby team.

He was in ROTC from 1951-1955 and he entered the U.S. Army in 1955 as a 2nd Lieutenant.  He married Jennifer Susan Congdon on September 10, 1955, at Glensheen in Duluth, MN.  He was manager of the Computer Center at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  He relocated to Racine after leaving the service as a 1st Lieutenant in 1957.   He worked for his father’s construction company for one year and then became a Systems Engineer Manager for IBM, a post he held for eleven years.  In 1970, together with his wife Jennifer and a PhD from IBM, he co-founded IMSL, Inc. (which later became VNI, Inc.). Chuck was Chairman of the Board until 2009.

He was extensively involved in and devoted to the Racine community.  He was on the Park & Recreation Commission since 1970, and he represented them on the Racine Zoological Society board where he served since 1976.  He was a member and President of the Police and Fire Commission (1999-2012).  He served on the Racine Community Foundation, was a member of the Advisory Board of Johnson Bank, Inc., and a member of the finance committee of Prairie School.

Involvement outside of the local community included Emeritus Director of Congdon Orchards and the following MIT organizations:  visiting committees (Athletics, Biology), Leadership Council Koch Cancer Center, Corporation Development Committee, Educational Council and the Alumni Association.  He was also a Principal Benefactor of the Mayo Clinic.  Awards from MIT include: George B. Morgan ’20, Henry B. Kane ’24, Marshall B. Dalton ’15, Honorary Pirate Certificate and the Bronze Beaver.

Surviving Chuck are his wife of 57 years, Jennifer; his six children, Elisabeth (Herb) Fisher of Houston, Clare, Tom (Linda Wehinger), Marian (Christopher) Crowell, all of Racine, Ann and Susan of Phoenix;  grandchildren, Charles and Jacklyn Fisher, Jenna and Andrew Crowell, and Catherine and Sarah Johnson.  He was preceded in death by his parents, and his brother, Professor Millard W. Johnson Jr.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, October 4, 2012, at 10 a.m. at the funeral home with Rev. Linda C.Hanus officiating.  Interment with full military honors will follow at Graceland Cemetery.  Relatives and friends may meet with the family Wednesday at the funeral home from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. and Thursday at the funeral home from 9 a.m. until time of service at 10 a.m.   In lieu of flowers, please support the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research.  (Attention: Sharon Stanczak, MIT, 77 Massachusetts Avenue (76-158), Cambridge, MA 02139)

803 Main St., Racine   (262) 634-7888

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