In Memory

Rip Johnson (Machine Tender) - Class of 1993

Rip Johnson (Machine Tender)

Rip Johnson     

1927 - 2011                  


ARLEE - Kerry Doyle (Rip) Johnson left his earthly life and met his creator on Sunday, September 25, 2011, at the Village Health Care Center after suffering a traumatic stroke in early July.  His spirit for recovery was unfailing, but his body eventually failed him.

Kerry was born to Claun and Mabel Johnson in Banner Elk, N.C., on February 17, 1927, a little brother for his 3-year-old sister, Evelyn. They affectionately called him "Doyle" throughout his entire life. As a family, they lived through the Great Depression and learned the value of hard work, humility, kindness toward their fellow man, trust in God, and keeping your word as a badge of honor. As a family, they subsequently moved to the Northwest and eventually homesteaded land at Deep Creek, just outside of Missoula.

Kerry joined the U.S. Army at a young age and served honorably during World War II in many countries and in various capacities. When he was discharged from the service, he met and married Janice Patricia Carroll in 1948. Together, they moved to Idaho where Kerry worked at Potlatch Forest Paper Mill; and their raised their five children there until moving to Missoula in 1960.  In Missoula, he started working for Hoerner-Waldorf Paper Co., and continued with them as a papermaker and machine tender until he finally retired in 1993 when the company was then called Stone Container. In 1967, Jan and Kerry divorced.

Rip later married Betsy Schall, and they lived at the Deep Creek ranch until they bought land and started ranching in Arlee.

Kerry was preceded in death by his father in 1987; his mother in 1996 and his daughter, Corinne Jorgensen, who died in January 2011. He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Betsy, at the couple's ranch in Arlee; his children, Bonnie Johnson and Bob Sularz of Turah, Kerry and Larisa Johnson of Oakland Park, Fla., Patti Richards and Ron Mitchell of Pleasant Grove, Utah, and Rik and Debra Johnson of Missoula. He is also survived by his dear sister, Evelyn Johnson Daniel; his nieces Carrie Lee Brooks, Linda Dvorak, Betty Thomas and Denise Vandecoevering; and a nephew, Bob Daniel; and two sons-in-law, Todd Pennell and David Jorgensen. He also leaves behind him nine grandchildren, one great-grandson, and many, many great nieces and nephews.

In closing, we'd like to say: If you knew Rip, you knew one heck of a character! He undoubtedly left a distinct impression on everyone he met. He always had a story for everyone about everything, and he was honest to a fault. He was a great humorist, a man of strong character, and a man of his word. That's how he wanted to be remembered. We hope you will remember him in that way, too.

Special thanks to Dad's friends who visited with him and the staff at St. Patrick Hospital and Village Health Care Center for their care, humor, and patience during his final days.

A graveside service was held at Sunset Memorial Cemetery on September 30.

Rest in Peace dear Friend.