David Giorgi Johnson
Dave Johnson enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve (a branch of the U.S. Navy) in November 1947, was activated on August 1, 1950, and sent to Camp Pendleton, Calif. for classification. He had no training, but instead of being sent to boot camp, as most were, he was classified “combat ready” and immediately assigned to George Company, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, which was being formed at the time.
Dave departed for Korea on August 27, 1950, and took part in the Inchon invasion and the liberation of Seoul. At the conclusion, he and his fellow Marines boarded ships for a landing at Wonsan in North Korea and proceeded to the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. On his 20th birthday, they moved into the hills above Yudam-ni, which was the farthest north the division made, and on Nov. 28, 1950, the Chinese attacked in full strength. The Marines reversed course from Chosin Reservoir, and on Dec. 7, 1950, Dave was air-evacuated to Japan due to frostbite, and from there to the Naval Hospital in Oakland, Calif.
Upon his release from the hospital, he completed his active duty at Port Chicago Naval Weapons Station. He was excited to be going to Chicago, Ill., until he was told Port Chicago was only a couple of hours away. He received a Purple Heart.
He met and married Lois (Susie) McCormick and they raised two sons, Mark and Tracy. They were married for 55 years, until her passing in 2006.
Dave was a benefit plan administrator for labor unions in San Francisco for his entire career. Upon retirement, he became active in military organizations: Men of Chosin (Reservoir), Chosin Few Organization, and the First Marine Division. Dave served on the national board of directors of the Chosin Few as president, vice president, and treasurer at various times. In addition, he served on the executive committee, and the scholarship, bylaws, and membership committees.
After moving to the Oakmont retirement community with Susie in 1989, Dave became active in the community serving on numerous committees and on the board of directors of the Singing Brook Owners Association and the Oakmont Village Association. He served on the City of Santa Rosa Planning Commission, Community Advisory Board, Charter Review Committee, and Capital Improvement Program; and was commissioner on the County Juvenile Justice Commission and served on the Grand Jury. At the close of its regular meeting on July 9, 2019, Sonoma County’s Board of Supervisors adjourned in memory of Dave Johnson. Dave also spent more than 30 years on the boards of directors of numerous homeowners associations where he owned property.
Dave was a volunteer driver for the Veterans Administration van, transporting vets to and from San Francisco for their medical appointments for numerous years. Dave and partner Roxanne volunteered several years for VetConnect, an organization helping vets find necessary services. Dave also volunteered for the Disabled American Vets (DAV). Dave was a preferred blood donor, literally giving his blood to the community.
In addition to living together in Oakmont, Dave and Roxanne Thornton traveled together to several countries and they loved to explore America and the beautiful sites in Sonoma County. He was playful, had a great sense of humor, and was fun to be around. After a month of struggles with newly diagnosed leukemia, his life came to an end. Dave was interned at the San Joaquin National Cemetery in Santa Nella, in Merced County, Calif., in the Korean War section.
Larger than life is how people described him.