Wallace Kenneth Johnson died at home surrounded by family shortly after celebrating his 83rd birthday.

Johnson was born to Herman Axel Johnson and Mary Lynette Thompson Johnson on Sept. 6, 1929 in the family farmhouse in Eagle Point Township in Northern Minnesota. He was the eldest son in a family of five boys that included brothers Vincent (stillborn), Bud, Curtis and Jerry.

He spent his youth in Minnesota, Kentucky, Michigan and Illinois.

He served in the Korean War as a Sea Bee in the Construction Battalion from June 1948 to August 1952. Some of his fondest memories were serving on a small island named Ponape, where he developed a great love for the ocean, fishing and the people.

Shortly after he finished his service in the Navy, Johnson fell in love with a beautiful girl from a photograph. He wrote seven letters and then drove on Highway 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles to meet her. He and Ruth Carol Ashley were married April 3, 1954 in Gardena, Calif. The two made their home in Southern California where they raised three daughters.

Johnson was one of the founding fathers of the Society of Professional Estimators.

He worked in concrete construction in Southern California most of his career. Some of the projects he worked on included buildings for the Hughes Space and Communications Company, nuclear reactors at San Onofre, and the sea wall at Ocean Beach.

He and his wife fell in love with the beauty of Castle Valley while on a family vacation visiting friends in 1976. They were one of the first couples to buy a lot in the Castle Valley River Ranchos in 1977. They spent several years building their dream home, with much of the time interrupted by Johnson having to return to California for work.

He retired in 1992 and he and his wife returned to Castle Valley to complete their home. During his retirement he continued to work on the property, enjoy time with grandchildren, and serve on community boards such as the Council of Aging, the Solid Waste Special Service District Board and the MAPS committee, which helped plan the creation of the Moab Regional Hospital and Grand Center.

Johnson is survived by his wife Ruth who has been his faithful companion of 58 years, daughters Cindy (Alan) Day, Debbie Officer and Kristin (Bruce) Millis, eleven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Vincent and Jerry, and grandson Erik Day.

Funeral Services will be held 11 a.m., Friday, Sept. 14 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meeting house on 400 North.

You may send condolences to the family at