January 10, 2011
Evan R. Johnson July 28, 1926 - January 10, 2011 Evan R. Johnson died on January 10, 2011 in Bloomfield, CT where he had resided since 2007 at the Seabury Retirement Community. Following his retirement as a Methodist Pastor in 1991, he resided for 17 years in Westport, MA. Born in Portland, Maine, Evan attended Portland public schools, earned a BA from the University of Maine and graduate degrees from Columbia Teachers College, Hartford Seminary, and Andover Newton Theological School. His military service included a year in the Army Air Corps in 1945 and four years stationed with the Military Academy Band in West Point. A professional trumpet player, Dr. Johnson taught instrumental music in the public schools of Waterville, Maine and East Hartford, Connecticut and played with the Hartford Symphony under the baton of Fritz Mahler. During his eleven-year pastorate in Enfield, Connecticut, Dr. Johnson led the congregation in building a new church in 1963-1964. From 1967-1991 he served churches in Brockton, Newton, and Milford, Massachusetts concluding his active church service with an interim pastorate in Westport Point United Methodist Church in 2002. A gifted musician, Dr. Johnson combined his musical and pastoral skills, directing choirs and instrumental groups and playing his trumpet both in and out of the pulpit. He delighted people by sharing his musical gifts freely throughout his lifetime up to and including his time at Seabury. Inspired by the nonviolent witness of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he was proud to have participated in the 1963 March on Washington and to have chaired the Connecticut Race Action Commission in Hartford during that same time period. An early opponent of the Vietnam War, he supported peace efforts throughout his life. His public service also included a term on the Brockton School Committee. In retirement he served on the Westport Conservation Commission and ran several local political campaigns. Throughout his ministry Dr. Johnson was involved in ecumenical causes and worked for justice within the church and beyond. He provided leadership in both local and state councils of churches and was passionate about civil rights and full inclusion for gay and lesbian persons within both the church and society. Dr. Johnson is survived by his wife of 62 years, June. S. Johnson; a daughter Karen J. Sprout and son-in-law Howard Sprout and their daughter Joanna; a daughter, Kathryn J. Johnson of Washington, D.C. and her daughter, Lily: a sister Virginia Johnson of DeLand, Fla.; and 3 nephews - George, David and Peter Ward of Portland, ME. The Johnson/Sprout family is grateful to all of Seabury for Evan’s final four years of friendship and life in community, and to the Seabury staff for their excellent and compassionate care during his short illness. A Celebration of Evan’s life will be held at 11:00 AM, Saturday, February 5, 2011 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2080 Boulevard, West Hartford, CT 06107 (www.westpresby.org). In the summer a committal service will be held in the Beechgrove Cemetery in Westport, MA followed by a memorial service at the Westport Point United Methodist Church. Donations may be made in Evan’s name to the Methodist Federation for Social Action, 212 E. Capitol St. NE, Washington, DC 20003.