Gary Leslie JohnsonDecember 11, 1942 ~ October 23, 2017 (age 74)
JOHNSON, Gary Leslie (Age 74) of Veradale, WA, passed away peacefully on October 23, 2017, due to complications from pneumonia. Born December 11, 1942, in Spokane, WA to Florence Celia and Victor Hjalmar Johnson, Gary was their miracle and only son. Gary grew up in Spokane and was a graduate of Lewis and Clark HS (1960) and Eastern Washington University (1967). Gary’s childhood household was filled with music. Following his mother’s teaching, he studied piano and the trombone, going on to lead both the LC and EWU marching bands as Drum Major.
After graduating from LC, Gary proudly joined the U.S. Air Force to serve his Country (1962-1965). In 1962, he completed boot camp at Lackland AFB, then was stationed at the USAF Skytop Russian Language Program at Syracuse University, NY. In 1964 he was given his overseas assignment in Air Force Intelligence at Karamursel Air Station in The United States Logistics Group, Ankara, Turkey (TURSLOG) Det. 94, Cold War Prevention. His mission was to intercept enemy radio communications and provide daily briefs to the Director of the NSA. In 1965, he was transferred to March Air Force Base, Riverside CA, where he led a Tactical Reconnaissance Group that surveyed aerial footage of Vietnam.
In 1965, Gary returned home to Spokane and completed his studies at EWU majoring in Business and Accounting. He married Sue Ellen Davis and moved to the small farming town of Lind Washington, where he began working for Bill Phillips (D.E. Phillips Farms), a family friend and mentor to whom he was devoted to his entire life. He raised three daughters and became a very active and loyal member of the Lind Community. He was active in the High School, Lions Club, Gun Club, FFA, and various town team sports. In 1984, he started and was owner/operator of T16 Management Company, specializing in farm property management, assisting farm owners all over the US for the next 30 years.
In 1992, he met the love of his life, Linda Hinger, on a blind date and married her 6 months later. They continued to live at their home-base in Spokane, but Linda’s hometown, Jim Thorpe, PA, became his second home. Linda opened up a whole new world of travel to Gary and they cruised the globe visiting as many sites and cities as possible over the past several years including Russia, Greece, Turkey, Italy, France and Spain as well as their annual trips to Hawaii and Cabo. He loved his wife and traveling with her was his biggest joy.
When not harvesting, summers were spent at their vacation home in beautiful Outlet Bay, Priest Lake, ID. He was an avid golfer and prior member of the Priest Lake Golf Club. In his later years, he also enjoyed hiking, snowshoeing, picking huckleberries, and cruising the lake or enjoying a glass of wine with his PL friends.
Gary loved all sports, but his favorite was baseball. He was a lifetime Mariners fan, and he loved the WSU Cougars, Seattle Seahawks, and Gonzaga Bulldogs. He passed his love of sports onto his kids and grandkids, so many a day and weekend were spent cheering at their games.
Gary enjoyed teaching and leadership, but his passion was service. He was former President of the Washington Potato Growers; served on the Washington Potato Commission, Lind Town Council, Outlet Bay HOA, Bella Vista HOA; and was a Boy Scout Troop Leader. Known as “Papa” to his grandkids, he was their idol and they were his pride and joy. He taught each of them to work hard and play hard and was always there to give guidance and advice. He instilled in each of them that education was the key to success and to never stop learning. He was generous and kind and took his kids and grandkids with him to visit his favorite places and explore our history.
Most of all, Gary loved God. His faith and dedication to St. Aloysius Church, and his love of the Lord gave him the peace and tranquility that have defined his life and will continue to comfort and adorn him throughout eternity.
Gary is survived by his loving wife Linda Johnson; Children Kimberly (Joel) Ste.Marie, Wendy (Jake) Johnson, Rebecca Johnson; Grandchildren Morgan (Garrett) Pfaff, Derek Kennedy, Alisha Perez, Holly Ste.Marie, Devin Kennedy, Mason Ste.Marie, Payton Perez and Kendra (“Logan”) Wheeler.
He was also loved by his Hinger family: Victor and Eileen Newton, Sister Georgiann Marie Hinger and numerous nieces and nephews.
He is predeceased by his parents Victor and Florence Johnson, in-laws George and Adelia Hinger, brother-in-law William Hinger, and sister-in-law Constance Moyer.
Funeral Mass will be held on Friday, November 3rd at 11:00am, St. Aloysius Church and Parish, 330 E Boone Ave, Spokane WA. A reception and refreshments will immediately follow at the Church, downstairs in O’Malley Hall.
The family is requesting that In lieu of flowers, donations be made to: Priest Lake Memory Garden, PO Box 32, Coolin ID 83821, or the charity of your choice.
Priest Lake Memory Garden
PO Box 32, Coolin ID 83821