Civic Activist Behind Veterans Memorial Dies in Missouri
By Signal Staff
Thursday, March 23, 2006
arren K. Johnson, a longtime civic activist who pushed for the construction of a park to honor military veterans in Santa Clarita, died from pneumonia at a hospital in Joplin, Mo., on Wednesday. He was 76.
Johnson, born March 31, 1929, was active in environmental and civic affairs during the 39 years he lived in the Santa Clarita Valley. He moved to Missouri with his wife, Vera, in 2004.
A printer by trade, Johnson was also an avid painter, graphic artist and author of "Abraham: Father of Many Nations," published in 2002.
A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Johnson, who moved to the Newhall with his wife in 1965, was a founding member and past treasurer of the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning the Environment, which was formed in 1987.
He was also a member of the City of Santa Clarita Formation Committee and the Santa Clarita Citizens Transportation Committee, a panel formed by the city in 1988 to address traffic issues.
In 1990, Johnson, who served in the Army during the Korean War, founded the Historical Veterans Memorial Committee to spearhead the building of what eventually became the Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall.
"If it wasn't for Warren, (the historical plaza) wouldn't be there," said Johnson's friend Allan Cameron.
"He was a very humble man. He never went out of his way to promote himself ... but he was always good at making sure others were honored for what they did," Cameron said.
He is survived by his widow, five children and two grandchildren.
No local services are planned. A memorial service will be held later in the week in Shell City, Mo.
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