Kenneth Charles Johnson died on July 13, 2021, at home in North Richland Hills,
Texas, after rallying for nearly a decade with a glioblastoma brain tumor. Ken was born
September 17, 1953 in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Donald Charles Johnson and Patricia
McLaffon Johnson. He was the oldest of 7 children, spent most of his childhood in
Baker Louisiana and graduated from Redemptorist Catholic High School. In his youth,
Ken had fond memories spending time at the family's place on the river, skiing and surfing
(and other wilder adventures) with his siblings, playing basketball and other sports,
famous Johnson family Christmas parties, and helping his dad, Dr. Johnson, take care
of his dental practice. Ken loved telling stories and especially of the shenanigans he
and his siblings got into in their childhood. Everyone knew it would be a good one if he
was already laughing so hard his shoulders shook before he even began to tell the tale.
After a change of heart about medical school, Ken fine-tuned his gifts in math, science,
and mechanical precision and went on to earn two Bachelor degrees from Louisiana
State University: Engineering and Zoology. He married the love of his life, Cheryl, while
in college and she supported them working at a bank.
Ken enjoyed music immensely, and played piano and guitar. He was a guitarist (electric
and acoustic) and vocalist for several bands as a child with his brothers and friends, and
when his father helped buy their first (second-hand) amplifier, they felt they were the
"real deal”. Ken continued to form various bands with friends and brothers and played
gigs throughout college to help pay the bills. He even taught his grandson acoustic guitar.
Ken was disciplined but fun-loving, had a great sense of humor, loved learning new
things (avid reader), enjoyed visiting family and friends, was a history aficionado, enjoyed
cooking his signature recipes, and watching Tiger football games.
Ken enjoyed a successful career in the energy industry, and was often sought out and
called on by recruiters for his unique skill set. He retired in 2015 as Vice President of
Generation at Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company, following notable contributions
during his time at both TXU and West Star Energy, and he and Cheryl moved back to
Texas, or "the Republic” as he would fondly say. Ken loved gardening and had a vegetable
garden most of his adult life, like his father. He loved to go fishing and taught his
grandkids how to fish, even sporting a pink fishing pole when necessary. Another of his
hobbies was woodwork and carpentry. He accumulated enough equipment, saws, and
accoutrements at one point to warrant a third garage, which also housed his motorcycle
for a few years. He built many wood furniture pieces for his family and others, including
beds, tables, cabinets, swings, a bar for the game room, even his own bespoke walking
cane several years ago which he personalized with an LSU knob on the top. Some joke
that he and Cheryl were always busy building something: furniture, houses, pools, etc.
Ken loved to travel with Cheryl, sometimes to their favorite places and new adventures
occasionally. His greatest joys in life were Cheryl, their children, grandchildren, friends
and family. He was a champion of girls being perfectly capable of changing a flat tire,
checking the oil, mowing the lawn, using all sorts of tools and other practical life skills.
He especially encouraged education, being informed voting citizens and emphasized
risk analysis and responsibility. He modeled a strong work ethic. He enjoyed attending
sports games, musicals, concerts, recitals, grandparent days at school, hide and seek
with his grandchildren and he really enjoyed conversations with grandkids about each of
their particular interests or their latest "inventions” to help test the engineering.
Ken is preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Patricia Johnson, and his brother
David Johnson. He is survived by his loving wife Cheryl Ferachi Johnson; daughter
Melissa and her husband Richard Schulter and their daughters Claire and Mary; daughter
Ashley and her husband Dr. Ashley Warren Priddy and their son Leighton and
daughter Isla Rose; and daughter Keli and her husband Ernest Swan and their children
Makenzie, Jameson and Grey. And nephews Patrick Giamanco and Jason Giamanco
with whom he shared special bonds.
A visitation at Forest Ridge Funeral Home in North Richland Hills will be from 6-8 pm
Friday July 16th, followed by the memorial service in the Forest Ridge Funeral Home
Memorial Park Chapel Saturday July 17th at 11:00am. In lieu of flowers, the family requests
donations be made to American Cancer Society for Brain Cancer Research.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Kenneth Charles Johnson, please visit our floral store.