Cover photo for John "Jack" E. Johnson's Obituary
John "Jack" E. Johnson Profile Photo
1931 "Jack" 2024

John "Jack" E. Johnson

January 18, 1931 — April 19, 2024

Madison / Verona

Professor John (Jack) E. Johnson

 

John (Jack) Edwin Johnson was born in Detroit, Michigan, the only child of Nicholas M. Johnson and Anna Marie Johnson (nee Olsen) on January 18, 1931 and passed away on April 19, 2024 of complications from a fall.  As an infant, he was taken to Horten, Norway with his mother after his maternal grandfather, Edvin Olsen, passed away. After some time, he rejoined his father in Detroit along with his mother and grandmother.  He started working after school when he was 14 and continued working through his high school years in Detroit during the time of WW2.

 

In 1950 he joined the US Airforce and served during the Korean War.  He married Frances Rice in 1953.  Together they raised their children: Ralph (Nancy), Steven (Jennifer), Ann (Steven), and Eric (Maria Del Pilar).

 

After leaving the service Jack continued his education, receiving his BS from Gonzaga, his MS from Stanford and his PhD from Purdue.  After spending a short time in industry, he joined the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Wisconsin in 1965 and retired in 1990.   While at the University of Wisconsin-Madison he taught many different courses in the area of structural engineering and developed special courses in thin shell structures.  He mentored a large number of graduate students at the MS and PhD level, several of whom went on to become university professors.  Jack participated in and chaired many national engineering committees resulting in several national standards.  He also published a large number of technical papers and co-authored a major textbook, “Steel Structures, Design and Behavior” which was adopted by over 300 universities.

 

Jack married Mary Beth Rhein in 1983 and became a much loved stepfather to Holly Sue (Mike) and Scott Randall (Sheryl).

 

He founded two companies; Engineering Research Corporation and Engineering Forensics and Testing, providing services on a national basis. He also provided employment to many graduate students during their academic studies.   Jack was a skilled pilot with instrument and both single and multi-engine ratings.  His favorite plane was his twin-engine turbo-charged Piper Aztec (N78AZ).  In much of his consulting work his planes were simply his “car” but went faster and farther.  He looked forward to camaraderie with fellow pilots and in particular with his “Quiet Birdmen” and sharing experiences.

 

His passion was music, in particular classical piano.  Jack had an almost encyclopedic knowledge of classical music, piano and orchestral. He enjoyed playing the classics on his piano, Beethoven, Mozart, and Chopin being his favorites.  At gatherings, one would have to turn off any background music or you would lose Jack as he would become totally immersed in what was being played.  Jack always maintained a keen interest in the mathematical and physical sciences. In later years he developed an interest in photography and shared his work with friends and family members.

 

All of Valhalla will cheer when Jack arrives.  Left to cherish his legacy are his wife, Beth, his children, stepchildren, and grandchildren Sarah, Daniel, Nikki, Jonathan, Julia, and Emily and great grandchildren Naomi and Ruby.        

 

Memorial services will be held at 12:00 noon on Saturday, April 27, 2024 at Cress Funeral Home, 3610 Speedway Rd., Madison.  Visitation will be from 11 a.m. until the time of services.

 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Wisconsin Public Radio.


To watch the service by live stream or the recording, please follow this link. 
https://event.forgetmenotceremonies.com/ceremony/?c=1248a2ca-1ad3-485d-bebd-4d04973eadcf

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, April 27, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Cress Funeral & Cremation Service - Madison - West

3610 Speedway Rd, Madison, WI 53705

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Memorial Service

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Starts at 12:00 pm (Central time)

Cress Funeral & Cremation Service - Madison - West

3610 Speedway Rd, Madison, WI 53705

Get Directions

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