Cover photo for Dr. R. Ray Johnson's Obituary
Dr. R. Ray Johnson Profile Photo
1921 Dr. R. 2012

Dr. R. Ray Johnson

February 22, 1921 — November 25, 2012

Dr. R. Ray Johnson, age 91, of Grants Pass died peacefully early Sunday morning, November 25, 2012, at his home. He was born February 22, 1921 near Tulsa, Oklahoma to Robert Bruce and Opal Williams Johnson. He had two younger brothers, B. Bruce Johnson and Rex D. Johnson, both of whom predeceased him. He was much admired by his younger brothers, and was proud to bear the mantel of family patriarch following the deaths of his parents and brothers.

Ray received his medical degree from the University of Oklahoma in Norman. There he met Jacqueline McLemore, a nursing student at OU, who became his wife of nearly 67 years. She predeceased him on August 10, 2011. They were married on August 28, 1944, and between stints in the Navy, made their home and started their family in Oklahoma City where Ray set up a medical practice. Ray served as a medical officer in the U.S. Navy twice. His first tour was in the last weeks of World War II in the Pacific, and his second tour was on a hospital ship during the Korean War.

During the months Ray was in Korea, Jackie lived in La Jolla, CA with their three small children. It was their second West Coast experience as Ray had been stationed at the Bremerton Naval Base in Washington during WWII. Upon his return from Korea, the couple returned to Oklahoma only long enough to arrange for permanent relocation to the West Coast. Their search for the ideal place to raise their family and set up Ray’s medical practice landed them in Grants Pass in June 1951. Their youngest child was born there two years later.

Ray built an office on the southwest corner of 7th & B Streets, where he practiced medicine for more than fifty-five years until retirement. As a doctor, Ray’s life was dedicated to medicine and practicing humanitarian ideals. These ideals were demonstrated by dedication to his patients and service to the community. He was elected to the Grants Pass School Board in 1959 and served for nine years until 1968. He was a long-standing member of Rotary International and was also a member of the Grants Pass Masonic Lodge.

Ray was a life-long farmer, and raised a variety of livestock and flowers over the years, including chickens, rabbits, roses, cows, pigs, orchids, horses and sheep, along with family dogs and cats. His acreage was home to a large flock of Southdown sheep for over forty years, and the sight of baby lambs frolicking in the pastures was a welcome sign of spring every year. With his family’s help in the summers, he attended a circuit of county and state fairs to show his sheep. He enjoyed family camping trips and picnics at the Oregon Coast. Harris Beach State Park was a favorite destination to enjoy a sandy feast of cracked crab and smoked salmon.

Ray loved spectator sports, especially football, perhaps recalling his own high school playing days. His favorite team was his alma mater, the OU Sooners. He was a staunch supporter of the Grants Pass Cavemen, and served as their team doctor for several years in the 1960’s.

Ray and Jackie are survived by their children, Kay Johnson of Flagstaff, AZ (Bill Towler), Ray Johnson, Jr. of Anchorage, AK, Janis Johnson Taft of Central Point,OR (Brad Taft), and Sarah Johnson of Napa, CA (Charles Ryan); grandchildren, Chelsea and Melanie Towler, and Katy and Ben Taft; Jackie’s brothers, Jim and Jeff McLemore; and numerous Johnson and McLemore nieces, nephews, and great nieces, nephews. A service is planned for 2:30 p.m., Sunday, December 9, 2012 at Hull & Hull Funeral Home. The public is welcome to attend.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. R. Ray Johnson, please visit our flower store.


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