Jordan E. “Don” Johnson, Jr., age 96, passed peacefully from his earthly home in Aurora, Missouri, to the gates of Heaven on November 27, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 73 years, Elizabeth “Bette” Johnson; his daughter and son-in-law, Jack and Barbara Ernest; and his daughter Marilyn Ernest. Don leaves behind four grandchildren: Jackie Lee Ernest, Jason Ernest and his spouse Molly, Justin Ernest and his spouse Gina, and Betsy Houchin and her spouse Jeromy. Don was blessed with 13 great grandchildren: Parker, Ebony, Dallas, Abby, Jase, Emily, Kade, Jax, Farren, Jaelyn, Jonas, Jaysa, and Jaylee. He was preceded in death by his brother Ted.
Don was born on September 9, 1921 in Tuolumne County, California in a tent on the backside of Yosemite National Park, where his father was working on a construction crew building the Don Pedro Dam. After graduating high school in 1939, he went to work at Hughes Aircraft where he was a tool and die maker. In 1943, he joined the Navy and went to flight school. Don served 25 years in the U.S. Navy. He was a veteran of World War II where he piloted a TBM Avenger off of the aircraft carrier USS Hoggett Bay. After the war he commanded a helicopter squadron in Los Alamitos, California in the Navy Reserve. After retiring from the Navy as a Commander, Don went to work for TRW as an engineer working on classified projects for the Defense Department and NASA. He retired in 1986 and in 1999 moved with Bette to Aurora, Missouri.
Don enjoyed camping and traveling the country with his wife, family, and friends. At the age of 60 he hiked the Grand Canyon, on his 70th birthday he hiked Mt. Whitney, on his 90th birthday he traveled to Japan. He will be greatly missed and is forever in our hearts.
A celebration of Don’s life will be held Saturday at 2:00 p.m. December 2 at Peterson’s Funeral Chapel.