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Lt. Col.  James  Robert Johnson, USAF (Ret)

Obituary for Lt. Col. James Robert Johnson, USAF (Ret)

December 27, 2017
Austin, Texas

Wonderful Husband, Father, and Grandfather; Pilot and Air Traffic Controller

Obituary

James Robert (Jim) Johnson, Lieutenant Colonel, US Air Force, Retired, of Austin, Texas, died December 27, 2017, at the age of 89.

He is survived by JoAn Sloan Johnson, his wife of 68 years; his daughter and her husband, Christina and Alex Cavalli, of Cedar Park; his son and his wife, Dave Johnson and Kathy Raesz of Austin; his four grandchildren and their spouses: Ariana and Vincent Delbar of Cedar Park; Gabriella and Jason Greenleaf of Denver, CO; Julietta Cavalli-Luedtke and Jan Ludtke of Berlin, Germany, and Alexander P. and Brittney Cavalli of Austin; three great-grandchildren Hudson Paul and Rowan James Greenleaf, and Milo Alexander Luedtke. Surviving siblings are Perry Johnson of Lufkin and JoAnne Pfeifer of Houston.

Jim was born in Des Moines, Iowa, moving to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas with is family when he was about ten. He graduated from McAllen HS and Edinburgh Jr. College before enlisting in the Army Air Corps as a Cadet. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant and received his pilot's wings at the completion of flight training in Enid, OK, in 1949. He became a member of the Air Force when it was created as a separate branch of the military.

Lt. Col. Johnson logged over 10500 hours of flight time during his career flying transport planes, primarily the C-124 and C-141, for the Military Air Transportation Service/Military Airlift Command. He was stationed all over the world including Kelly AFB, San Antonio; McChord AFB, Tacoma, WA; Tachikawa AFB, Japan; Travis AFB, Fairfield, CA; the Air Force Institute of Technology, Lubbock; Hickam AFB, Honolulu, HI; Warner Robins AFB, Robins, GA; and Dover AFB, Dover, DE.

Notable accomplishments during his 22-year career were many, including being the co-pilot of the first transport out of North Korea bringing home injured and POWs and being the command pilot of the last US aircraft to exit Israeli airspace prior to the start of the 1967 war. Lt. Col. Johnson was awarded the "Million Mile Certificate of Achievement" for his efforts. While still in the USAF, he earned his BS in Math from Texas Tech, graduating in 1962.

After retiring from the Air Force, Jim switched from pilot mode and began a second career as an Air Traffic Controller, working for the Federal Aviation Administration at Mueller Airport in Austin. He was a very good controller and one that most of his co-workers appreciated working next to. He retired from the FAA in 1992.

Jim's careers and service were important to him, but life is more than work and he had many outside interests.

Part of his love of flying was the opportunity it gave him to travel and see other parts of the world, an enjoyment he shared with his family whenever he could. After his second retirement, in particular, Jim and JoAn spent a great deal of time traveling to a variety of places throughout the US, Mexico, and Europe.

Throughout his life, Jim loved music. He had an extensive record collection which he spent time collating and listening to. Music was important enough to him that at the time recording technology was progressing from monaural to stereo, he built his own electronic components so that he could enjoy the new sound. He enjoyed playing the organ. He was a season ticket holder with Austin Symphony for years. Jim listened to and was a member of KMFA almost from the beginning of the station.

Jim was a member of the Westminster Presbyterian Church and enjoyed singing in the choir, being an usher, and as a collection counter. He used his computer skills to help with many computer related tasks at Westminster including creating and formatting at least one of the pictorial membership directories.

He was an active grandfather, especially enjoying playing games (including early video games), doing puzzles, attending school activities, and building projects with the grandkids. He was usually the family photographer and cataloger as well.

His family and friends appreciated his great sense of humor, his ready laughter, his ability to fix anything, his intellect, hard work, and reliability. We are grateful for his presence in our lives.

Recommended Local Florist

Suggested Memorial Donations

  • Jim was a member of the Westminster Presbyterian Church and enjoyed singing in the choir, being an usher, and as a collection counter. He used his computer skills to help with many computer related tasks at Westminster including creating and formatting at
  • Westminster Presbyterian Church
    3208 Exposition Blvd.
    Austin, TX 78703
  • Jim listened to and was a member of KMFA (Austin's Classical Station) almost from the beginning of the station.
  • KMFA Classical 89.5
    3001 N. Lamar, Suite 100
    Austin, TX 78705

Arrangements By

Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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