Gary Johnson of Breckenridge dies
Beloved Breckenridge resident Gary Johnson, passed away March 8 in Denver after a courageous battle with cancer. He was 68.
Gary was born October 10, 1941 in Chicago, and at age 13 moved with his family to Horicon, Wisconsin. He went on to complete his undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and enrolled in Naval Officer Candidate School shortly thereafter. He then served in the Navy for three-and-a-half years, with his longest tour of duty at the U.S. Naval Magazine in Subic Bay, Philippines. In 1970, Gary married Mary (Limmex) Johnson who would be his companion for the next 40 years. After military service, he continued his education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received a Master’s of Science in Industrial Relations. Gary and Mary made their home in Milwaukee, where their son Brad was born in 1974. Gary worked as a field examiner for the National Labor Relations Board until his retirement in 1999, at which time he and Mary moved to Breckenridge. In Breckenridge, Gary and Mary quickly became active members of the local community. Gary worked at the Breckenridge Nordic Center for 10 years, volunteered with the National Repertory Orchestra and the Lake Dillon Theater Company, and contributed many hours to trail work in Summit County.
Gary had a tremendous love of travel, sports, and the outdoors. From Kenya to New Zealand to Cambodia, he and Mary explored many corners of the globe together. Whether summiting Baldy in his backyard, hiking the Ten Mile Range, biking the hills of Wisconsin, or downhill skiing with friends, Gary always had a quick smile and energy to go the extra mile. He was just as happy with a good book, listening to opera, watching his Wisconsin Badgers, playing bridge, or reading the New York Times cover to cover – Gary had an enduring interest in both the local and the international. Many of his friends will remember Gary’s penchant for good food, music ranging from classical to bluegrass, and stimulating conversation. He was above all a man of equanimity with an exceptional ability to listen and care.
Mary and Brad would like to thank Dr. Allen Cohn and the caring staff at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center, the staff of Denver Home Hospice, and Dr. P.J. in Breckenridge. As well, Mary and Brad are grateful for the many family and friends around them – they could not have made it without their love and support. When asked what he thought people should do after he was gone, Gary replied, “Do whatever you want, as long as it’s a good time.”
A celebration of his life will be held in Breckenridge this August. Contributions in Gary’s name can be made to the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center or the Continental Divide Land Trust.
We will always remember Gary’s wisdom, his humor, and his love for life. We find joy and comfort in his words at the time of his diagnosis last summer: “No matter what happens, I have no regrets about anything in my life.” Gary’s legacy will live on in all who knew and loved him.
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