Michael “Mike” Johnson

Michael “Mike” Johnson was born September 8, 1960 in Fontana, CA, to Peggy and Dan Johnson. He grew up in Corona until the age of 9, and attended St. Edward’s Catholic School. Dan and Peggy moved the family to China Lake in 1970. Mike graduated from St. Ann School and Burroughs High School in Ridgecrest, and later attended Cerro Coso College. He began his  career at China Lake in 1986, working in the Technical Information Department as a developing scientific photographer. In 1990, he began flying backseat as a civilian photographer and videographer for research and development for VX – 31, Naval Air Warfare. Mike continued to fly backseat with the call sign, “Ballast” until 2006. He continued as command photographer for China Lake until 2014, when he retired after 29 years of civil service. Outside of work, Mike spent all of his spare time in volunteer activities in the community supporting his beloved children Erik, Nick and Lindsay. He served as a soccer coach as well as a soccer official for the City of Ridgecrest and Southern Section CIF, traveling up and down the Eastern Sierra officiating at high school games. In addition, he volunteered with the Boy Scouts as a Cubmaster and spent numerous organizational hours as a volunteer at Saint Ann’s School. He married his beloved wife, Kathleen in 2004.  At the time of his passing, Mike was a loving house husband and a dedicated Papa caring for his loving grandson, Riley every week. He loved his walks at Seal Beach and Bolsa Chica when he couldn’t get to his cherished Eastern Sierras. It was in nature that he said he truly experienced the love God has for us, and felt one with God.

Mike was known and loved as the baby whisperer, animal whisperer, ultimate family photographer, emergency preparedness planner, family chef, Traeger griller, fisherman, equestrian, frustrated hunter, vacation planner, trivia buff and Disney aficionado. He was full of sarcasm, wit, and one line zingers. Despite all of his lifelong accomplishments, his greatest were his children, Erik, Nick and Lindsay. For the past 17 years, he called Michael and Kellina his bonus son and daughter and delighted in their accomplishments, supported them in their defeats, and loved them as his own children. He leaves behind his wife Kathleen, his children Erik (Allison) and grandson Riley, Nick (Emily) grandoggy, Maddie, Lindsay (Justin) and granddaughter Hennessy; Michael and Kellina; his sister Mary (Michael and their children Becca (Nicco) and Chris (Kim and son, Leo); his brother Martin (his children Callie and AJ); sister-in-law Mary (Larry) children Bridget (Dustin), Matt (Kim, daughter Bailey), niece Caitlin and her son Cahal; brother in law, Kelly; Aunt Judy and Uncle Tommy, Aunt Donetta, Aunt Jeri and Uncle Craig, cousins Stephanie, Mark, Tommy (Kathleen), ex wife Sue, and his fur babies, Sadie, Gracie and Lucy plus many other family and friends whom he loved so dearly. He is preceded in death by his parents, Dan and Peggy Johnson, and cousin Sheri Luker.

Mike’s funeral Mass will be Monday, April 18, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, in Ridgecrest, CA. A luncheon reception will immediately follow in the Parish Center. Interment of ashes will be later in the summer. Celebration of life including Mike’s favorite colors of blue, green or orange are encouraged. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to National Parks Conservancy, Food for the Poor https://secure.foodforthepoor.org/site/Donation. or Speech Recovery Pathways https://speechrecoverypathways.org/donate/. We would like to thank the medical staff, nurses and therapists who stayed by his side at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach. We are eternally grateful for their dedication.

Mike was a registered organ donor and has given the gift of life through his donation. Finally, the outpouring of love, support, kindness and food from family, friends, the communities of Los Alamitos and Ridgecrest is beyond measure. We cannot thank everyone enough. We are truly blessed to have the love that so deeply embodies the love Mike had for all of us. Live stream link to service

Story First Published: 2022-04-22