Raymond N. Johnson passed away on April 5,2018, at St. Peter’s Health, after a brief illness. Ray was born in Glendive, Montana on July 2, 1931 to Raymond Carl Johnson and Sidney Louise (Babcock). The family moved to Willow Creek in 1937, and then to Toston in 1946. He attended Three Forks High School, lettering in basketball (The Wolves), and graduated in 1949.
Ray enlisted in the Army, and was deployed to Korea in 1951. He spent a year in the central area of Korea, 3rd Infantry Mortar Section. After Korea, he returned to Toston as a member of the Army Reserve in Three Forks. He was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge for his Korean service. In 1955, Ray joined the Montana National Guard in Helena, retiring in 1980 as a Chief Warrant Officer (CW3).
On April 9, 1955, he married Vivian Ann Graveley at St John’s Episcopal Church in Townsend. Their son Kevin was born the following year, and Todd joined the family in 1959. Ray enjoyed teaching his sons and Vivian fly fishing at his favorite spots on Deep Creek. It was a well-kept secret that Ray loved to set up a fish on the end of the fly line, handing over the rod to anyone standing by including his sons, so they would think it was their catch. Ray organized family pack trips into the Bob Marshall Wilderness, Spanish Peaks and Big Belt Mountains treating his sons and their cousins to hours of trout fishing and Ray’s campfire meals. Upon retirement from the Guard, Ray raised cattle and sold real estate. He loved baling hay, tending cattle, and finding a good tractor. Ray’s greatest happiness came from spending time with his grandchildren. His wisdom and keen sense of humor will be greatly missed.
In October of 2016, Ray traveled to Washington, DC with his son Kevin as part of the Honor Flight Lone Eagle Program, visiting war memorials and meeting fellow veterans of the Korean War. The Honor Flights are dedicated to honoring America’s veterans by transporting them to Washington DC, to honor their service and fellow soldiers’ sacrifice to America.
Ray was preceded in death by his parents. Survivors include Ray’s wife Vivian; sons Kevin (Janis Langohr) of Billings; Todd (Angie) of Castle Rock, Colorado; sister Norma Doig of Melbourne, Florida; grandchildren Kara, Amie and Brett; nephews Shaun, John, and Mike Doig; sister-in-law Peggy Kude; nieces Kimberly Shanley, Karen Ferlicka, and Krysta Haugeberg; and numerous cousins. No list of family would be complete without including Ray and Vivian’s close friends and neighbors Gary and Elena Frederick and their daughter Christina; and John and Debrah Fosket.
A graveside service will be held at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, May 25th in the Committal Shelter at the Veteran’s Cemetery at Fort Harrison in Helena. A Reception will be held at the Radisson Colonial Hotel, 2301 Colonial Dr., following the burial.
The family extends their deepest gratitude to Dr. Weiner, the nurses, and staff of St. Peter’s Health for their kind care for Ray and the entire family. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in his name to Honor Flight, Inc., 175 Tuttle Road, Springfield, OH 45505.
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