William Sherburne Johnson
William Sherburne Johnson was born on Jan. 3, 1923, in Kearny, Neb. He spent the first nine years there with his parents, Ralph Sherburne Johnson and Hilda Pearson Johnson. After their separation, he went to Torrance, Calif., to live with his aunt Charlotte and uncle Horace Woods. After graduating from Torrance High School, he attended UCLA on a football scholarship. His time there was cut short by World War II, as he enlisted in the Marine Corps in January 1943. That June, he was at the Marine Air Corps flight school in Norman, Okla. He met his future wife, Phyllis Jean Butler, at the First Methodist Church in nearby Shawnee, Okla. That August, he began his tour of duty in the South Pacific theater of war as a tail gunner on an SBD Dauntless dive bomber.
Bill survived his combat deployment and then from November of 1944 was stationed at the Miramar Air Depot near San Diego. He managed to visit Phyllis in Oklahoma, and they became engaged in January of 1945, and married on June 9, 1945. They moved to Santa Anna near Miramar, then after his honorable discharge moved to Los Angeles, where he managed a portrait studio. In 1947 he attended the Fred Archer School of Photography and graduated at the top of his class. The Johnsons moved to Lakewood, Colo., in 1949 and Bill managed a photography studio in Denver. He loved being a photographer and soon opened his own studio. He worked for the Jefferson Sentinel newspaper, then as a staff photographer for The Denver Post, where he worked 23 years. He covered local, regional and national stories, and accompanied the Denver Broncos on road games.
In 1980, he and Phyllis moved to Mancos, where they enjoyed the retirement . They joined the Methodist church, and Bill became a lay speaker. He later became a member of the Lions Club, which is naming a scholarship in his honor.
Bill Johnson is survived by wife Phyllis; daughters Jennifer Hix and Kelly Johnson; and sons Bill Johnson Jr., and Carl A. Johnson. His grandsons are Zachariah Johnson and Zach Brown; his granddaughter is Lindsey Johnson; and his-great granddaughter is Madison Brown.
Services will be held May 30 at the Mancos United Methodist Church, 470 West Grand Ave., at 1 p.m.
Arrangements are being made through Ertel Funeral Home. For more information, click on the obituary section at ertelfuneralhome.com.