Forrest David Johnson, 89, of Atascadero, passed away Thursday, March 7, at his home in Atascadero, surrounded by his family.
He was born on a farm in Pond Creek, Okla., Dec. 20, 1929, the son of Ebert and Amy (Schoonover) Johnson. Forrest had three older siblings, Lawrence, and twins, Leonard and Leah Thorne and a younger brother, Harold Johnson. He lived on the farm through high school, then attended Oklahoma State University.
In 1950 he was drafted and served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War and was discharged in September of 1953. One week later, on the 26th of September, he married Marilyn Ruth Cottington, daughter of Lyle and Gayle (Hodson) Cottington of Laguna Beach, Calif. After returning from a honeymoon at Lake Tahoe, Forrest began a 31-year career with the Laguna Beach Fire Department where he reached the rank of Battalion Chief.
Forrest and Marilyn purchased property in Peachy Canyon in 1963 where they cleared the land and planted walnut trees. They continued living in Laguna Beach and producing walnuts in Paso Robles until he retired from the fire department in the spring of 1984. The family moved to Atascadero in 1985.
Forrest and Marilyn have three children: Cynthia Gaw (Peter), Mark (Kelly) and Gaye Grove (Carl). They have eight grandchildren: Forrest Gaw, Brooke Peterson(Eric), Bretaye Cole, Ingrid Grove (Dylan Hickey), Kaj Johnson (Millissa), Eva Burbach (Chris), Danske Grove, and Haydn Gaw.
Forrest loved people and never missed a day without socializing with one group or another. He was a member of Kiwanis for almost 50 years and with a friend and support from his local club, founded a Kiwanis Club in Kenya. He was on the Board of Directors of the Atascadero Veterans Memorial Foundation, and a docent at the Estrella Warbirds Museum. He also enjoyed several coffee groups.
He was the honored recipient of the Veteran of the Year award and a Quilt of Valor at the local Memorial Day Ceremony.
He was preceded in death by his parents, all of his siblings, son-in-law Carl Grove, and grandson, August Gaw.
He is survived by his wife, three children, eight grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, and, the joys of his life, 11 great-grandchildren.
We would like to thank Central Coast Hospice for the loving care he received this past year.
A Memorial Service will be held at the Community Church of Atascadero on Saturday, March 30 at 2 p.m.
Donations may be made to Atascadero Kiwanis Club, Atascadero Veterans Memorial Foundation, Estrella Warbirds Museum, or Central Coast Hospice.