Michael Spencer Johnson, 79, died on Wednesday, March 23rd at Star Living in Lawrence, Kansas.
He was born on May 27th, 1942, in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of H. Spencer and Maxine (Ryan) Johnson. He grew up in Salina, Kansas, where he enjoyed a peaceful childhood and room to roam in the fields. Bird hunting was an early love for him, one which he would enjoy throughout his lifetime. He attended Salina Highschool, where he excelled at his studies and became a Kansas state-ranked wrestler. He attended the University of Kansas, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, and was a lifetime member of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. On the KU campus at the corner of 11th and Louisiana, he met his lifetime partner of 56 years Judith Wood. He married “Kitty” on June 11, 1966, in Winnetka, IL.
After KU, he earned a Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Missouri in Kansas City and settled into the Brookside area to start a family. He practiced dentistry in two locations in Kansas City for thirty years before relocating to Lawrence, KS to practice for another ten.
During his life in Kansas City, he became a pilot and commuted by air to Lebo, KS, where he provided dental care to families in the surrounding rural areas. He was a member of several professional organizations; including the American Dental Association and was a long-standing member of the Leawood Country Club.
To cultivate memorable time with his cronies, he was the organizer of many wilderness events for his friends to enjoy, including annual bird hunting excursions in scenic Kansas farm country, and canoe trips on the ancient rivers of Missouri and Arkansas. As a traveler, he saw the United States, South America, Mexico, Canada, and toured many of the great cities of Europe.
As a great observer of people, he could tell tall tales and make anyone laugh with his smart sense of humor. His mechanical mind served him well, as he could repair almost anything under the sun. “Never stuck” was his main rule in life.
His final years were spent enjoying a quiet life in Lawrence and climbing Mt.Oread every week to take leisure runs on the campus of his alma mater. In support of the Kansas University’s International Institute of Young Musicians, he and Kitty attended countless musical programs with friends and family and heard classical arrangements with transcendent qualities. He loved his family and his community, and he was proud of the life he led.
He is mourned by his wife, Judith, of the home.
Other survivors include his two sons, Timothy C. Johnson (Marikka) of Los Angeles CA., Matthew R. Johnson of Lawrence KS, and sister Judith Johnson Frye (David) of Clearwater KS. and many nieces and nephews.