On April 16, 1931 in Indio, California, Marvin Johnson was born to Everett and Olis Johnson; he was their only child. They moved to Long Beach because his father was a welder and had a job at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard. His mother worked at McDonald Douglas and became one of the first Lead Women.
Marvin attended Polytechnic High School in Long Beach, CA. He was an avid student and involved in ROTC and the rifle team. Marvin met Josephine (Jo) Kellenberger, on their first day of high school. Marvin and Jo were sweethearts till graduation when they went their separate ways. Marvin went to work at the shipyard, with his father, for a couple of months until the Union went on strike.
In 1947 he enlisted into the California National Guard but in 1951 he received his discharge and joined the Army. Marvin reunited with Jo that same year. He proposed to her while stationed in Georgia, and received a telegram saying that his parents where driving Jo to him. Marvin and Jo were married in a Minister's home parlor, in 1952. Marvin and Josephine gave birth to their only child, Debra in 1953. they enjoyed a blissful marriage for 59 1/2 years until Jo's death.
While in the Army, Marvin was involved in a multitude of jobs that all included defending our Country. In 1953 he participated in the Nuclear Testing at Desert Rock, Nevada. That same year he was stationed in England for Airbase Defense. He was also commander at two missile sites (during the Cold War) here in Los Angeles, in 1956. He was deployed to Korea, in 1960. He commanded a Rocket Battalion during the Cuban Crisis, in 1962. He visited Guantanamo Bay and planned the Base Defense in 1963. He managed the Missile Units for the New York-Philadelphia Defense in 1966. In 1967, he was deployed to the Republic of Viet Nam where he was Division Commander responsible for Base Defense, in Chu Li, during the TET Offensive. His last duty was at Fort Irwin, California, where he became the Commanding Officer. Marvin loved being in the Army. He retired in 1971 at the rank of Lt.Col. His retirement was due to the unexpected passing of his father. This was a very sad day for him and he returned to his mother, grandmother and great-aunt to look after them. He had served a total of 22 years and retired from the Army at the age of 40.
Marvin loved hunting, camping, building, and flying model airplanes. He would spend most of his days watching old movies, especially Westerns and anything that had to do with the Military. He loved attending and hosting family functions.
Marvin awarded the Purple Heart, to his grandson Victor Ragone, who was wounded in Iraq on Veteran's Day, 2013. This same year, he attended the Army Ball in Long Beach, California, with his daughter, grandchildren and guests. Marvin was so proud of his family; this was the first formal function that they all were able to attend together since his wife's passing. Also, in 2013, he received his Sacraments to become a Catholic, at Easter Vigil.
He leaves behind a daughter, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
He said that his favorite bible verse was "John 3:16" and he loved the poem, "Footprints."
Marvin was loved by all who knew him, especially his family, who will miss him dearly.