Everett H. Johnson, 94, went to join his Lord and Maker on Wednesday morning. He spent all but ten years of his life in Turlock, being born at Emanuel Hospital on Canal Drive and passing away at Emanuel Medical Center on Delbon Avenue. He was preceded in death by his parents, Bill and Christine; his sister Lorraine; his wife and the mother of his sons, Lillian; his wife Barbara, and his son Keith. He was known and loved by many.
Everett grew up on the family farm just outside Turlock. He graduated from Turlock High School at 16, followed by his studies at Modesto Junior College. He then transferred to UC Berkeley where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in 1944. While at Berkeley, he joined the Navy in part for a scholarship opportunity, while continuing to raise championship pigs on the farm in Turlock to help pay tuition and other expenses. Upon graduation, between WWII and Korea, he applied for acceptance into medical school. He was assigned by the Navy to medical school at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he met his wife Lillian. Upon graduation, they were moved to Portland, OR, for his internship in internal medicine. Their first son, Bruce, was born there.
Having a child gave Everett deferment from assignment to a MASH unit in Korea. Instead, in 1950 he was assigned as medical director to the Air Force Hospital at Mather Field near Sacramento. After serving there until 1952, he returned to the University of Wisconsin to complete his residency training. In Madison, his second son, Scott, was born.
Following residency, Everett and his family moved back to Turlock, where he opened a practice in internal medicine, making him the first internist in town. Turlock is where he spent his entire medical career, and where he and Lillian had their third son, Kent, and twin sons Kirk and Keith.
As an internist, Everett’s emphasis was on pulmonary conditions. He practiced almost exclusively in Turlock, including three years as director of a rural health endeavor for the Stanford Medical School in Livingston. He retired a short time after the death of his wife, Lillian.
Dr. Johnson was clearly defined by his role as a doctor. He received recognition awards from the Stanislaus County Medical Society and the California Medical Society. He also received, what was at the time, one of the first distinguished alumni awards for a physician outside the state by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine. As noted, he was a faculty member at Stanford Medical School. But what defined his identity was his service as physician to the residents of Turlock and surroundings. He practiced personal, high-quality medicine out of his office across from Emanuel Medical Center, and at Emanuel and local nursing homes and rehab centers.
Everett was highly committed to his hometown. He served on numerous civic educational settings, and for years he was on the Board of Education for Turlock schools. He worked with various school activities through research/scholarship/athletic roles. He was a longtime member of the Turlock Rotary Club, and along with his wife, Lillian, he served on the Juvenile Justice Commission for Turlock/Stanislaus County. They received recognition for this service with the naming of rooms in the commission headquarters.
Dr. Johnson was an educator, and surrounded by family members, was committed to educational activities. His sister, Lorraine, was one of the founding administrators of Cal State Stanislaus. His father was an early enrollee at UC Davis, and four of his sons graduated with bachelor’s degrees from UC Davis. His support of education continued and resulted in the naming of a workshop at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in memory of his son, Keith, who succumbed to a brain tumor in 1991 as he was completing medical training at UC San Francisco.
In addition to his other passions, Everett was a lifelong athlete. For decades, despite some orthopedic issues, he would start each morning with floor exercises. As a young adult, he developed a passion for skiing. Early on, he skied in Wisconsin and later at Mt. Hood in Portland. He was an advocate for Dodge Ridge Ski Resort in the Sierras where all five of his sons grew up skiing. He was an early investor in the Bear Valley resort and was still skiing with family members into his late 70s (when he could finally ski for free).
Everett was also an enthusiastic golfer. Stories were told and re-told about him going out almost before dawn to Turlock Golf and Country Club and dodging sprinklers to get in a round of golf before heading to the office to see patients. It was only a few years ago that he gave up his membership.
His emphasis on athletics rubbed off on his sons, all five of whom were active in athletics during high school and college, with some of them still involved in masters-level activities.
Following Lillian’s death, Everett married Barbara Baker and became step-father to her sons. Bob and Gary were especially well-known to the Johnsons and are nicely integrated as members of the Johnson family.
Everett was a lifelong member of the Nazareth Lutheran Church, now the Light of Christ Lutheran Church. He has been a consistent, strong supporter of his local congregation and was indebted for the visitation and services brought to him by the pastor.
Everett was the ultimate patriarch of his family. With five sons and their families, he was the father and Papa for a large number of family members—16 grandchildren and 22 (and counting) great-grandchildren. His love and warmth will never be forgotten.
Dr. Everett Johnson used his 93 years to grow and guide and embrace and reward. He was always forward-looking and continuously encouraging. His family and friends and community recognize and acknowledge the loving person who was Everett. May his spirit continue to inhabit us all.
Visitation will be held on Thurs., Jan. 17, from 4 to 6 p.m., at Turlock Funeral Home, 425 N. Soderquist Rd., Turlock. Funeral services will be conducted at the same location on Fri., Jan. 18, at 2 p.m. Interment will follow at Turlock Memorial Park.
Memorial donations may be made to: Turlock Salvation Army, 893 Lander Ave., Turlock, CA 95380; Modesto Symphony Orchestra, 911 13th St., Modesto, CA 95354; or to Global Missions, either online at globalmissions.com or by mail at ELCA Global Missions, Attn: Andrew Steele, 8765 W. Higgins Rd., Chicago, IL 60631.