John R. Johnson, Navy Yard Victim: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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He turned 74 in October. Most people John Johnson’s age would be looking forward to retirement, but not this man. His daughter, Megan, told The New York Times, “He loved to work and has always worked.”

Sadly, Johnson died at work, at the hands of a crazed gunman at the Washington Navy Yard.

Here’s what you need to know about this accomplished and loving man…

1. He Developed Mine-Seeking Systems for TWD

Like Frank Kohler, Johnson — J.J. to his friends — worked for TWD Systems, Johnson’s role was to assess the environmental concerns in hunting explosive mines. TWD Chief Executive Larry Besterman said that Johnson liked the work “because he could work the hours he wanted.”

Other friends have said that Johnson didn’t often talk about his work at the Navy Yard but it was “obvious that he enjoyed it.”

2. He Loved the Beach

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The beach at Nags Head, North Carolina. (Getty)

Johnson made his home in Derwood, Maryland, about 20 miles north of D.C., Johnson lived in the same house for 40 years. He was most at home, however, going to Nags Head in North Carolina for the beach and fishing. The leading photo for this article shows Johnson in what his daughter, Megan, called his “lucky fishing shirt.” Johnson’s specialty was catching sand crabs on the beach.

The family owned a home at Nags Head for the past 20 years. A neighbor from Nags Head, William Atlee, said: “He looked very fit. You would never guess he was 73.”

3. He Is Survived by 4 Daughters and 10 Grandkids

In addition to his four adult daughters, he was the proud grandfather to 10 grandchildren with an 11th due in November. The New York Times calls Johnson a “patriarch” and reports that his birthday was used as an excuse for the whole family to get together. The celebration was held in North Carolina. His daughter, Megan, says: “He loved being there, especially with his grandkids.”

4. His Family Were Present at the Navy Yard on September 16

After the horrible news of the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard reached the Johnson family, they descended on the complex. They went to the area where workers were being brought from the Navy Yard via shuttle bus. They frantically searched and searched for their patriarch but eventually received the tragic news that John Johnson was one of the innocent victims of this madness.

5. Johnson’s First Wife Died in 1996

In 1995, the Johnson family encountered their first family tragedy when J.J.’s first wife, Helen Johnson, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The couple’s strife in trying to get a clear diagnosis was reported by The Washington Post at the time. One neighbor, William Atlee Jr., said that after his wife lost her battle against the disease in 1996, Johnson was “going through a bit of a rough time.” However, love struck again in his life time when he met Judy Greene, whom he married in 2005.

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