Obituary: Rolf Johnson

Rolf Johnson lived gently with a warrior spirit. Surrounded by his family, he passed quietly into the dawn on October 18, 2012 after challenging a rare cancer for nearly 14 years, proving that living with gratitude and grace can create miracles.

Rolf, a longtime resident of Carson City, originally hailed from Mass. where he was born in May 1941 and graduated from Woburn High School in 1958. His love for the sea, sailing and "clam chowdah" stayed with him all his life.

In 1960, he joined the Navy in Boston as a RD2 on the Newman K. Perry and later transferred to the U.S.S. Berkeley as a member of the commissioning crew. He was discharged to the Navy Reserves in Long Beach, Calif. He was proud of his Naval service and maintained life-long friendships with two of his fellow radarmen.

It was in Southern Calif. where he met his wife, Gloria and started his civilian career with Sears, Roebuck and Co. He worked for the company for 35 years in management and repair service in Santa Ana and later transferred to Reno and Carson City, Nev. Many good friends also were made during this time.

Rolf loved listening to and playing music. His first performances were as a youngster when he and two of his siblings visited local retirement homes to play traditional Swedish tunes for residents. His sweet-toned trumpet style was enjoyed by many for the next six decades. Since arriving in Carson City in 1973, Rolf has contributed to a number of musical groups. He was one of the original members of the Carson City Symphony and Capital City Community Band and Jazz Band, as well as played in the Carson Valley Pops and in the orchestra for Western Nevada College musicals. He also sang tenor in the Carson Chamber Singers.

He had a deep appreciation for Nev. including the area's natural beauty, Native American culture and traditions of the West. He loved nature and animals, particularly dogs and wolves, and served on the board of the Friends of the Silver Saddle Ranch.

Rolf was blessed to have been supported and cared for by numerous medical professionals in Reno and Carson City, including St. Mary's Hospice.

Preceding him in death were his parents, Helge and Sigrid. He is survived by his wife, Gloria; and children Kerstine (Niels) and Erik; siblings, Sonja (Dan) of Calif. and Carl (Nancy) and Martin (Mary) of Maine; as well as his father-in-law; sisters-in-law; brothers-in-law; nieces; nephews, cousins and numerous friends.

Services for Rolf will be held on Oct. 25 at St. Paul's Lutheran Family (1201 N Saliman Rd) in Carson City, Nev. by Pastor Stan Pesis. Visitation will be from 12:15 -1:15 p.m. with services taking place at 1:30 p.m. Internment with military honors will follow at the Lone Mountain Cemetery in Carson City. A reception is planned at the Brewery Arts Center Grand Ballroom (449 W King St) from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Carson Tahoe Health Foundation Cancer Research Center.

A beautiful life has come to an end. He died as he lived, everyone's friend.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment