Herbert Loren Johnson, born in Beaver, Oregon in 1928, was the youngest of 3 children. As a child of the depression, Herb was raised on a remote farm, where he learned to appreciate nature, worked hard on the farm and became skilled at hunting and fishing. During WWII his family relocated to Portland to work at the shipyards building war time ships. In high school, he developed a love for team sport and competition, playing varsity basketball and track and field. Upon graduating, he joined the Air Force, and began working as a jet engine mechanic. His intellect and natural leadership qualities earned him the chance to sit for the entrance exam to West Point. He entered the academy and earned a spot on the Army football team. It was during this time he met the love of his life Joan at a dance and they were soon engaged to be married. When he left West Point at the end of his junior year, he headed back to the west coast. He was in a serious car accident that left him with the possibility of never walking again. Surgery and long weeks in traction were no match for his fighting spirit. He not only taught himself to walk, but eventually he resumed running. Herb and Joan were married in a quiet ceremony in Oregon and moved to Seattle where he completed his college education at the University of Washington. He found his way back to team sport by playing football for a year in the Canadian Football League on the Saskatchewan Roughrider team. Upon completion of the Canadian season, Herb’s former coach from West Point, Vince Lombardi, encouraged him to try out for the NY Giants. He did and was added to their team roster. With a growing family to feed, Herb transitioned from football to full time work as an electrical engineer. He and Joan settled in Lynbrook where they raised their 7 children and he became part of the community volunteering as a coach of Lynbrook Titan Football and a Cub Scout Master. He opened and successfully ran his own electrical sales company for many years until retirement when he and Joan then relocated to Southold. His next venture was to start up Wine Country Realty, selling real estate, performing real estate appraisals and even teaching classes to those wanting to become appraisers. When asked, Herb would say his greatest accomplishment was marrying Joan and raising his 7 children: Michael, Kevin, Brian, Lorinne, Jamie, Stacy and Joanne. He welcomed daughter and son in laws into the fold and cherished his 19 grandchildren. His humor, kindness and love of the outdoors remained even when his memory started to fade. He worked hard, played hard and laughed often. A true gentleman. He showed every person respect and, in turn, would earn theirs.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations in Herb’s honor be made to:
Professional Athletes Foundation
1133 20th St. NW
Washington, DC 20036
attn: Leslie Isler
This organization helped Herb with a grant that helped offset some of his assisted living expenses and your donation would help pay it forward. The family also requests that you show a little bit of kindness to every person you come in contact with, as Herb did every day
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