Ralph L. Johnson Obituary

Service Information

 
In Memory of

Ralph L. Johnson

February 27, 1932 - May 11, 2013
Obituary

Born in Madison, Nebraska on February 27, 1932, died in Denver, Colorado on May 11, 2013 Survived by his wife, Sharon L. Johnson; two sons – Rob and Scott; two step-sons – Randy and Russ; 6 grandchildren – Dusty, Misty, Brandon, Hannah, Alyssa and Nathan; 6 great-grandchildren – Dashawn, Deonte, Aaron, Logan, Lexi and Lilly; two sisters: Delores Fuhrman and Ella Mae Massey; and many nieces and nephews. Born the 11th of 12 children, to a Charles and Anna Johnson. Their family moved to Colorado when he was eight years old. He attended Manual High School in Denver. As a teen, he worked at various jobs including ice delivery. In 1950, he...
Born in Madison, Nebraska on February 27, 1932, died in Denver, Colorado on May 11, 2013

Survived by his wife, Sharon L. Johnson; two sons – Rob and Scott; two step-sons – Randy and Russ; 6 grandchildren – Dusty, Misty, Brandon, Hannah, Alyssa and Nathan; 6 great-grandchildren – Dashawn, Deonte, Aaron, Logan, Lexi and Lilly; two sisters: Delores Fuhrman and Ella Mae Massey; and many nieces and nephews.

Born the 11th of 12 children, to a Charles and Anna Johnson. Their family moved to Colorado when he was eight years old. He attended Manual High School in Denver. As a teen, he worked at various jobs including ice delivery.

In 1950, he enlisted and proudly served in the United States Navy. He was a member of the Fighter Squadron 884, the Bitter Birds. He did three tours of duty during the Korean conflict. His first was aboard the carrier USS Boxer. His second was aboard the carrier USS Kearsarge. The third tour was as a gunner on a PBM Martin Mariner. He saw more than his share of combat from the air and aboard ship.

He married his first wife, Shirley, in 1952 while on leave in San Diego, California.

In 1954 he received an honorable discharge and they moved home to Colorado. He worked for a short time as a law enforcement officer at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal.

In 1955 he began his life in the fire service as a firefighter for the Denver Fire Department. Over the years he worked his way through the ranks of Lieutenant and Captain.

In 1974 he married Sharon Cupps. He and Sharon remained best friends and life companions for the next 39 years.

In 1975 he was promoted to Assistant Chief. He served with honor and worked hard to earn the respect of those he worked along side over his years in the fire department. After 32 years, he retired from the Denver Fire Department in 1987.

In 1989 he was presented the opportunity to use his years of fire expertise as an International Fire Marshal with the U.S. State Department, Foreign Buildings Operations, Fire Protection Division. In this position he traveled the world investigating and inspecting U.S. Government properties and facilities. He served in this position until retiring in 1996.

Upon retiring from the State Department, his restless nature would not allow him to slip quietly into a retired state. He sought other opportunities to put his vast experience to use. He worked as a fire safety consultant and adviser at a GM auto manufacturing plant in Thailand and back in Colorado he drove charter tour bus until fully retiring in 2011.

This man had charisma and charm. He never met a stranger. He was a loving husband and father, and a good friend and inspiration to so many.

Committal service Friday, May 24th, 1:00pm at Olinger Crown Hill Cemetery, 29th & Wadsworth in Wheat Ridge. (Please meet at Area "B" behind the Fire Truck). A Memorial Service will follow at 2:30pm, Southern Gables Church, 4001 South Wadsworth Blvd. in Littleton.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Donor Alliance or to the Denver Fire Department's Widows and Orphans Fund.

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