Charles Richard Johnson Obituary

Charles Richard Johnson (Dick) died peacefully at his home in El Segundo surrounded by his family on March 31, 2022 following a long illness. Dick was born on December 4, 1936 in Lewiston, Idaho to Lillian H. and Charles J. Johnson. His family moved several times around the country, but ended up back in Lewiston in 1949.

His lifelong interest in classical music started with his playing the clarinet and violin in the Lewiston High School band and orchestra. He also acquired a passion for fly fishing leading to numerous trips in future years around the west to the best fly fishing rivers in the country.

He also developed an interest in chemistry in high school and with a friend built a chemistry lab in a detached shed at his home. His superior performance on the chemistry achievement test was instrumental in his admission to Caltech and his future life in Southern California. Dick came to Caltech in 1955 and received a BS degree in applied chemistry in 1959 and a Masters Degree in mechanical engineering in 1960. The next year Dick was an exchange student for a year at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm Sweden, where he met his first wife, Gudrun. Returning to Los Angeles in 1961,

Dick joined Hughes Aircraft Company as a Member of the Technical Staff and married Gudrun in 1962. Dick had a varied and successful career in the Hughes Space and Communications Group (HSC) over the next 48 years. He started working as a systems engineer on studies and government satellite proposals. Dick went on to work as the systems engineering manager on several government programs. He was the program manager of both HS-350, a large classified communication satellite program, and the UHF Follow-On program. Dick served as manager of commercial new business programs at HSC for two years. He also was manager of the HS-601 programs division, which developed the highly successful 601 satellite bus used by commercial and government satellite programs. Before retirement in 1994 he was the manager of all HSC government new business. After a very brief retirement he came back to work in 1995 as a consultant offering technical support to numerous HSC/ Boeing programs, proposals, and several technical review teams until he fully retired in 2009.

Dick and Gudrun had an active family life during these years, raising three children, Karin, Erik, and Anders. They had numerous trips to Europe, especially Sweden, and visited many of Gudrun’s friends and family. They started their married life in Baldwin Hills, but moved to El Segundo in 1974 and lived here the remainder of their lives. Gudrun predeceased Dick, and he married Linda Yan in 2006. During this time Dick continued his interest in music as the president of the South Bay Community Concert Association for eight years. He spent many hours listening to CD’s from prospective performers to recommend artists to the board for upcoming concert seasons. Another of Dick’s avocations was cooking. Taught by his mother, he developed his skills and did a lot of cooking in his retirement years, Dick and Linda took several trips abroad including one to China to meet Linda’s family. They were both active in and sang in the choir of the United Methodist Church of El Segundo. Linda was devoted to Dick and attended him with great care in his declining years.

Dick is survived by his wife, Linda Yan Johnson, his brother, Bob Johnson, his three children, Karin Tan, Erik and Anders Johnson, and four grandchildren, Ginger and Serkan Tan and Steele and Kaylee Johnson.

Dick’s memorial service will be held on April 30th, 2022 at 2:00pm at the United Methodist Church of El Segundo, located at 540 Main Street. There will be a reception at the church following the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, the United Methodist Church of El Segundo, or to a charity of your choice. 

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