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Retired missionary passes away at 100
Duane Johnson obit
Duane Johnson, who spent years doing missionary work, including time in South America, recently passed after turning 100. - photo by Photo Contributed

Duane Johnson, the former Turlock Journal press foreman and missionary who recently celebrated his 100th birthday with over 50 friends last month, passed away on Nov. 2, in Turlock.

Johnson was born in Nebraska in 1914 and moved to Turlock in 1924. Johnson delivered newspapers for the Turlock Journal during his time in high school and later became the youngest press foreman for the paper from 1933 to 1946.

Later in his life, Johnson embarked on years of religious service work with his move to Venezuela. There, he utilized his work experience to start his own printing operation with the Scandinavian Alliance Mission. With his printing business, Johnson helped the organization achieve its underlying mission of reproducing churches among nations for 15 years.

In the 1960s, Johnson returned to the United States to work for Campus Crusade for Christ and dedicated himself to translating the Bible into as many languages as possible in order to make the text accessible to everyone.

Johnson is preceded in death by his wife Freda Johnson and all of his siblings. He is survived by his children Brian Johnson, Gary Johnson, and Gayle (Rudy) Villalobos.

 “The death of my father is a great loss to humanity and the world,” said Brian Johnson. “He was such a giving type of person and was always willing to help. He never asked for anything from anybody and would even give you the shirt off his own back if he thought you needed it.”

Brian Johnson gave countless examples to validate to his father’s selflessness, including the time he spent building houses for Latin Americans, going out of his way to drive a girl from church from Turlock to Los Angeles, and taking care of his children and other missionaries while in South America.

“He did a lot of things under the radar. He never looked for accolade or attention,” said Brian Johnson.

There will be a viewing for Johnson at Allen Mortuary from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday. His funeral will be held at Monte Vista Chapel at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.  The burial will be private.