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Obituary: Harry A. Johnson '46

MACUNGIE, PA - Harry A. Johnson, Lt. Colonel USAF (Ret), 87, died on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, in Macungie, PA. He was born Oct. 29, 1923, in Williamsport, a son of the late Harry A. and Mary Esther (Rhote) Johnson and adopted son of the late Herbert R. and Elsie Christine (Johnson) Sloatman. Harry attended Carson Long Military Institute for five and one-half years, graduating in 1941. He briefly attended Antioch College as an engineering student until enlisting in the Army Air Corps as an aviation cadet in mid-1942. He completed aerial gunnery, navigation and bombardier schools and flew 38 combat missions in New Guinea, the Philippines and other Far East islands. Harry served in the Army of Occupation in Japan and Okinawa and flew a number of weather recon missions over the Inland Sea near Siberia.

Harry returned in 1946 and attended pilot school as a student officer and graduated in 1948. He served as Operations Officer at Middletown Air Depot and was promoted to Major while there. Harry returned to the Far East after the Korean War started and flew 75 support missions in Korea and served as Air Base Group rear echelon commander in southern Japan. Following Korean hostilities, Harry served as Deputy Base Commander at Niigata, Japan where he met and married his wife, Misa Inaba. After a four year tour of duty at Plattsburgh Air Force Base, N.Y., he returned to Japan as Chief, Management Division, Far East District Auditor General. He transferred to the Central District in Columbus, Ohio from which he retired in May 1963 as a Lt. Colonel after 21 years of total service.

Returning to his native area, he started a second career in industry and pursued his dream of farming. Harry was employed by Philco-Ford and then Zenith in Watsontown for 19 years in various capacities from laborer to manager, purchasing and scheduling while still operating Sandy Acres Truck Farm near Montgomery for 13 years until 1976. He was forced to retire from business by the closing of the plant in 1982.

Spanning the next 20 years was a mosaic of careers. He was employed by the IRS as an enrolled agent, a taxpayer service representative with H&R Block as well as volunteering in a program to assist senior citizens. Harry was also employed by the US Office for Personnel Management as a test administrator for the Department of Defense.

Harry was a member of the Williamsport Lodge 106 F.&A.M. and St JohnÆs Evangelical Lutheran Church. He was a devoted family man who loved the outdoors, farming, wildlife, writing and was an avid reader his entire life. This would make him a very well-rounded individual who conducted his own engineering and architectural designing, electrical, plumbing and masonry work, woodworking, carpentry, cabinetry, and furniture designer at each of his local properties. Harry's nature abilities also made him a successful investor in American and International Investments He was a true officer and a gentleman to everyone he encountered, but was also known for his sense of humor and grace.

Surviving, in addition to his wife of 57 years, are two sons, H. Andrew Johnson III, of Orefield, and Herbert Johnson, of East Syracuse, N.Y.; two daughters, Christine Johnson-Kyle, of Kutztown, and Martina Franquet, of Watsontown; one stepbrother, Jerry Ault, of Myerstown; two half brothers, Robert Johnson, of Pittsburgh, and Thomas Johnson, of Roswell, Ga.; eight grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and three stepgrandchildren. Friends may call from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the McCarty-Thomas Funeral Home, 557 E. Water St., Hughesville with a Masonic service at 5:45 p.m. A funeral service will be conducted at 10:30 a.m. Monday at St. JohnÆs Evangelical Lutheran Church, 6590 Musser Lane, Watsontown, with the Rev. Jill V. Seagle officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery with graveside military honors accorded by the Korean War Veterans of Lycoming County. Due to the recent flooding, access to the funeral home will be made by turning onto North Fifth Street and making an immediate right onto Hunsinger Alley at the rear of the funeral home.