Joe B. Johnson, 91, of Walla Walla, Wash., died Feb. 10, 2009, at home with family at his side.
He was born July 23, to Zora B. Johnson and Grover T. Johnson in Wallowa. Joe spent his whole childhood in Wallowa County until he left for college in Corvallis.
Joe received his bachelors and masters degrees from Oregon State University and PhD from Washington State University, all in Animal Science-related disciplines.
He married Elaine Johnson June 6, 1946, in Athena.
Joe taught at Washington State University for 27 years as an Extension Equine Specialist and Swine Specialist. Prior to his time at WSU, he taught animal science for 12 years at Oregon State College (OSU). When he retired from WSU, he went on to work for the Walla Walla County Extension for another 11 years, finally retiring at the age of 86. After his retirement, he assisted the Fort Walla Walla Historical Museum in developing exhibits and educating visitors.
He also retired in 1977 as a Lieutenant Colonel from the United States Marine Corps after 35 years of service. During World War II, he served in the Pacific theater where he commanded groups of landing craft during beach landings. His commands landed in the Marianas, Tinian, Saipan and Iwo Jima. Also noteworthy is the Presidential Commendation his platoon received under his command for their success in rescuing 566 wounded soldiers from the beaches in Saipan. Joe was also awarded the Bronze Star.
Joe is remembered for his accomplishments in animal science. He was a nationally recognized livestock judge specializing in horses. He advised and encouraged national organizations like the Appaloosa Club and the Pony Club in all phases of development.
He was recognized by the state of Washington for his contributions to 4-H and was inducted into the Washington State 4-H Hall of Fame in 2001. He was also inducted into the American Society of Animal Science.
He worked with Dr. Leo Bustad in developing the People-Pet Partnership program at the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine, working specifically on the therapeutic horsemanship project.
He would be proud to list as an accomplishment, the gratitude of his students over the years for the hours of listening and guidance he provided.
He spent hours supporting the track and field programs at OSU and WSU as a certified timer.
Most of his pleasure in life came from time spent with his family.
He is survived by his wife, Elaine Johnson of Walla Walla, Wash; daughter Wanda Jo Johnson of Boise, Idaho; son and daughter-in-law, Bruce W. and Louise Johnson of Alta Monte, Florida; daughter and son-in-law Sharon Johnson and Bruce Jones of Boise, Idaho; daughter Paula K. Halama of Whitefish, Mont.; sister Grace Moores of Nampa, Idaho; sister Maybeth Wilson of Marion, Louisiana; brother Tom K. Johnson of Wallowa; sister Winona Holloway of Marysville, Calif; five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren
He was preceded in death by his parents Zora and Grover Johnson, and sisters Dorothy George, Ellen Alander, and Millie Trump.
A memorial service will be held 2 p.m. March 7, 2009 at the First Presbyterian Church in Walla Walla, Wash.