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Decatur mourns loss of favorite son; Chris Johnson: 1987—2012 | Passages

At right, Decatur Island’s Chris Johnson mugs for the camera, with girlfriend Bri Leask by his side, on a parachuting adventure.   - Contributed photo
At right, Decatur Island’s Chris Johnson mugs for the camera, with girlfriend Bri Leask by his side, on a parachuting adventure.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Christopher Johnson of Decatur Island passed away on the evening of July 26, 2012 in Chignik, Alaska.

He and his father, Paul Johnson, also a resident of Decatur, and his brother, Travis of Spokane, Wash., fished commercially together for many years every summer along with their cousin, Morris Jones and his son, William, and close friend, Greg Acton.

In Alaska, an entire network of fisherman close to the family is grieving. Being down here, I only know personally a few, but Ernie and Janice Carlson are very close to our Decatur fisherman and were helpful when this loss occurred via the telephone to us on Decatur, and to those family members in Chignik.

Chris was only 25 years old and besides his brother and father, he leaves his mother, Colleen Morgan Johnson, also of Spokane, where she lives near Travis and Megen, and their daughter, Taryn Georgia.

Other grieving relatives include his uncle and aunt, Patrick and Irmah McCarthy of Stanwood and their daughters, Laurie and Kelly, and their children; his aunt Susan and uncle Mike Walker of Yelm, their son Richard, wife, Lindsay and baby Sebastion.

Mori and Norine Jones and their children, and Karen and George Lamb and their children, are also devastated by this loss. Also grieving is a Decatur friend, Lauren Peabody, and Chris' long-time girlfriend, Bri Leask of Edmonds, Wash.

Christopher was born on May 28, 1987 in Everett, Wash. He attended grade school in Everett and high school on Lopez Island, where he was on the basketball team.

After high school, in addition to fishing in Alaska during the commercial salmon season, Chris has been employed as a cement finisher, a crab fisherman and as most people on Decatur, has worked on construction jobs and other endeavors.

Chris' grandfather, Raymond Johnson, came to Decatur with his widowed mother and other family members in 1934, from Barton, N.D. Raymond's uncles, Henry and Paul Pederson, built a house for their widowed sister which is now the caretakers home at Decatur Northwest. So you see, the Johnsons have been on Decatur for four generations and it is no wonder Chris and Travis have always liked it here.

Decatur friends and relatives are grieving for the loss of a vibrant and neighborly young man, friendly, kind and jovial. He liked to laugh, play tricks and enriched our lives with his wit and caring.

There is nothing he wouldn't help with if asked, and this last few years he and his lovely girlfriend, Bri, have been a great addition to the community. While he was not known as serious, it was always clear that he loved his friends, family and this island.

Dawni Williams of Decatur put it well when she said she would “miss his big bear hugs...for he was a strong, tall man”. As Dawni went on to elaborate, she was sure that “God had to make him big to hold all that love and fun for a smaller body would just not be big enough for all that was our dear Chris."

Our deepest thoughts and sympathies are for his family and for Bri. And Dawni was right when she said we are going to really miss his “big bear hugs”.

Memorial services and a potluck will be held at noon, Sept. 8, 2012, at Pioneer Park in LaConner.

You can also visit the Chris Johnson Memorial on Facebook.

— By Karen Lamb of Decatur Island

 

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