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Obituary (VA): Walter Franklin Johnson '47

Posted on 07/15/2018

Walter Franklin Johnson  (Sept. 24, 1924 June 14, 2018)

Walter Franklin Johnson of Charlottesville, Va., died on Thursday, June 14, 2018, in his home with his beloved dog, Megyn Mia at his side. "Walt" was born September 24, 1924, to William Ward Johnson and Grace Songer in Long Beach, California. His father was a Republican Congressman (1941-45) under F.D.R. He attended The Webb School in Claremont, Calif., followed by Landon School in Bethesda, Md., while his father was in Washington, D.C., serving in Congress. He was a member of the Class of 1947 at the U.S. Naval Academy (graduating in 1946 due to the war-with his classmate Jimmy Carter). He also obtained degrees in Electronics Engineering from MIT and the Naval Post Graduate School in Carmel, Calif. On a flight between Jacksonville and Washington, D.C., as a Navy ensign he met the love of his life, Annie Loyce Petrey, from Petrey, Ala., a beautiful Eastern Airlines flight attendant. They married in 1947 in Montgomery, Ala. He lived a storybook life with Loyce, traveling the world while raising two daughters, both born in Long Beach, Calif., where they resided before moving to Carmel, Calif., Honolulu, Hawaii, and Akron, Ohio. In Honolulu as a Navy officer he was stationed at Pearl Harbor on the USS Epperson, followed by CinCPacFlt, where he was part of the U.S. Naval Guided Missile Group and an Undersea Warfare Officer. Upon leaving the Navy he worked for Goodyear Aerospace in Akron, Ohio. In 1975, he moved to Pagebrook Farm (now called Ashanti Farm) in Gordonsville, Va., beginning a four decade love affair with Charlottesville. Eventually he moved across town to Bucks Elbow in Ivy then back to Keswick. He was a member of the Navy League and the Keswick Club where he golfed for many years, and he served on the City of Charlottesville Planning Commission. His letters to the editor were often seen in Charlottesville's Daily Progress. Walt is survived by his daughter, Carolyn Griffin of Alexandria, Va.; and six grandchildren, Jennifer Griffin (Greg Myre) of Washington, D.C., John Griffin of West Hartford, Conn., Caitlin Griffin (Carlos Penny) of Venice, Calif., Cassie Griffin Gordon Grant (Conrad) of Molteno, South Africa, Amanda Weld Stubbs (Jeff) of San Marcos, Calif., and Mathew Weld (Tania) of Cumberland, R.I. His eight great-grandchildren include Annalise, Amelia and Luke Myre, Dakota, Julia and Ella Stubbs, and Dylan and Landon Weld. He was predeceased by his wife, Loyce; his brother, George R. Johnson; and his daughter, Catherine Weld. He will be inurned with his wife Loyce at the U.S. Naval Academy Columbarium overlooking the Severn River in Annapolis at a future date.