Lawrence O. Johnson, Ph.D.
February 16, 1930 – December 22, 2022
Visitation: Friday, January 13, 2023, 9:30AM, St. Patrick Catholic Church, 20500 W Maple Rd, followed by Mass of Christian Burial: 10:30AM. Interment: Calvary Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to Siena Francis House.
LAWRENCE O. JOHNSON, Age 92, passed away on Thursday, December 22, 2022, at home in Omaha, Nebraska, in the care of his devoted and loving wife, in hospice care after a long and happy life capped by a late-in-life struggle with Alzheimers.
Larry was born to Osval George and Rosalia Mary (Landgraff) Johnson in Irene, SD. Larry was predeceased by his three older brothers and four sisters. Patriotism was a strong family value, and before his death, Larry’s father was a veteran of both World Wars, and his three bothers served in World War II. Young Larry ran the town’s film projector, showing newsreels. He was an all-around athlete who lettered in four sports. After high school, he worked a stint on a ranch in west river South Dakota, then enrolled and at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD, where played varsity basketball, and graduated. Upon graduation, Larry enlisted in the Army, and served as a First Lieutenant in the Korean Conflict.
He returned home to coach in Western Iowa towns, in a teaching career that would last 43 years. Larry completed his Ph.D. at Iowa State University in Ames, and taught for 29 years as a Professor at Creighton University, retiring in 1996. Ironically, he even taught his wife, Carol, and son, Mark, at Creighton to meet their school administration course requirements. An avid Bluejay fan and season ticket holder from Civic Auditorium days, Larry thrilled to see Mark play as a CU varsity basketball team player.
Larry supervised decades of teachers in training, visiting classrooms across the city in Omaha Public Schools and Archdiocese of Omaha Schools. His sons often would see dad sitting in a small desk in the back of their classrooms, as he groomed the next emerging classes of educators.
Although his academic achievements gained him the perk of lunch in Creighton’s faculty dining room, he was most often found not with peers debating their research, but with staff and grounds crew talking about their families and fishing.
Larry was happiest around his own family and seldom missed a game, school or scouting activity, doctor appointments, or music or sporting practices of his sons. Jeff recalls that Larry spent most of Jeff’s short-lived Little League career calling him ‘out’ as umpire behind the plate. But they were proud of their sons’ academic and career successes. He made breakfast, taught them to golf, mow lawns properly, and respect others.
Larry and Carol were married just a few days shy of their 65th Wedding Anniversary, December 26. Larry attended countless hours of his grandchildren’s activities, and grew to cherish them. He could be seen encouraging them individually, to provoke their laughter, and to create memories we treasure today and will always hold in our hearts.