Richard J. Johnson

1923 - 2013

Dick was born in Ellisford, Wash., to J. A. “Jack” and Sarah Johnson on Sept. 29, 1923. He passed away on Jan. 14, 2013. He was born and grew up in the Tonasket-Omak area in North-Central Washington and served in World War II as a Navy airplane mechanic in Hawaii.

He married Glea Freeby Howe on Aug. 8, 1949, at Tonasket, Wash. In 1955, the family moved to Pullman, where Dick attended Washington State University receiving a bachelor of science degree in agronomy. He then served as an Okanogan County agent with special responsibilities to the Colville Tribe.
Dick returned to WSU for graduate work in 1962 receiving a master of science degree and a Ph.D. in animal sciences. He continued on the animal sciences faculty at WSU with special responsibilities for the horse program. In 1977, Dick then took a position with Kansas State University as professor and head of the Southeast Kansas Branch Agricultural Experiment Station in Parsons, Kan., where he served for eight years before retiring from KSU.

He returned to the Department of Animal Sciences at WSU in 1985 and again served as professor until his retirement from WSU in 1989. He was a fellow in the Animal Science Society of America. Dick had a strong lifetime love of ranching and operated a small cattle operation near Palouse, Wash., both before and after retirement. In 2002, Dick and Glea moved from Palouse to Walla Walla.
Dick was involved in church activities for most of his adult life and most recently a member of the Walla Walla Valley Cowboy Church. He was Kiwanian since 1967, both in Parsons, Kan., and in Pullman. His activity in the Washington Cattlemen’s Association earned him the title “Top Hand” in 1992.

His beloved wife, Glea; his brothers, George, Dannie and Donald; and his sister, Eva Tingley; preceded him in death. He is survived by his sisters, Muriel Wingard of Stockton, Calif., and Nancy Burgess of Spokane; his daughter, Judy Stueckle (Roger); sons, James and John of Milton-Freewater; and son, Richard (Patricia) of Pullman; 17 grandchildren; 24 great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial service for Richard J. “Dick” Johnson, professor emeritus, Washington State University, will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, at Amazing Grace Nazarene Church, 717 E. Alder St., Walla Walla. Memorial contributions may be made to the Christian Aid Center through the Herring Groseclose Funeral Home, 315 W. Alder, Walla Walla, WA. Family and friends are invited to sign the online guestbook at

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