Ocean Beach 05

Richard P. Johnson

July 23, 2020 ~ September 13, 2020


Richard P. Johnson, age 90, a former resident of Norwell, Massachusetts passed away on Sunday, September 13, 2020 in Westford, Massachusetts. He was the husband of the late R. Arlene (Spear) Johnson and the late Melva (Wood) Johnson.

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on July 23, 1930 he was the son of the late Ernest A. and Louise (Churchill) Johnson. He was educated in the West Roxbury school system and Rindge Technical High School in Cambridge. He was also a graduate of the Lincoln Institute of Northeastern University where he earned an associate’s degree in electronic engineering. He graduated in 1958 with high honors.

As a child Richard spent many memorable summers on Cape Cod where his parents had a summer home in West Dennis. It was on Cape Cod that he met Melva Wood whom he would marry in 1951 in Barnstable, Massachusetts.

Between 1950 and 1955 Richard began work as an electrician’s helper in Boston. After completing his apprenticeship, he became a journeyman electrician, later obtaining his Master electrician’s license.

Richard and Melva had four children together.  In 1959 Richard moved the family to Rochester, New York where he began his career as a senior electronic engineer.  The family lived in New York until 1964 when they moved back to Massachusetts. Richard worked as an engineer for the rest of his career. In 1980 he became an independent contractor and continued in this capacity in the Norwell area for many years.  He loved his work and took great pride in designing and building electrical systems in a variety of settings. He was generous with his skills and knowledge and loved helping friends and family with electrical repairs and renovations.

Richard and Melva were divorced in 1974 but remained close and greatly enjoyed their grandchildren. Melva passed away in 1989. Richard married R. Arline Spear in 1976 and they lived in the Norwell area for many years.

Richard had many hobbies and interests. He obtained his license as an amateur ham radio operator while living in New York and kept his original call letters (W1-YOR) on his license plate. He loved designing and building electrical projects and never hesitated to offer his help to others.

Richard bought a boat while living in upstate New York and loved being in the boat and on the water. He loved to water-ski and taught all of his children to ski as well. When the family returned to Massachusetts Richard loved boating on Lake Winnipesaukee as well as on the waters of the Atlantic Ocean from Marblehead to Cape Cod. 

Richard was a true jazz aficionado with eclectic tastes ranging from Count Basie and Buddy Rich to Stephane Grappelli and Chick Corea. One of his favorite Sunday afternoon activities was taking his family to Lennie’s On the Turnpike to hear the world-renowned jazz musicians who played there. He loved to listen to jazz on WBUR. Richard also loved the New England Patriots and the Boston Red Sox.

Richard was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Herbert, his wife Arline and his daughter-in-law Gloria Dubois-Johnson. He is survived by his four children, Andrea Johnson and her husband Roy Wolcott of Michigan, David Johnson of Tyngsborough, Cynthia Stevens of North Dakota, and William Johnson of Alberta, Canada and his sister Janet Smith of Weymouth. He is also survived by nine grandchildren, Katie and Kristopher Lippe, Jonathan Wood, Gabriel and Suzanne Wood, Stephanie and Andre Duby, Dan and Laura Johnson, Allison and Alec McCleskey, Samuel and Karli Stevens, Elisabeth Johnson, and Anna Johnson. Richard also leaves behind many nieces, nephews and great-grandchildren.

 Those wishing may make a memorial donation in his name to the American Cancer Society, 3 Speen St., Suite 250, Framingham, MA 01701 or WBUR, Jazz Radio, 890 Commonwealth Avenue, 3rd Floor, Boston, MA 02215.

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