Gareth Robert Paul Johnson, 86 of Kansas City, MO passed away Sunday, August 13th 2023 at St. Lukes East hospital from acute respiratory distress syndrome. He was born on January 13, 1937 in Kansas City, MO, the son of Paul Able Gareth Johnson and Ruby Geneva Johnson. Gary graduated from Northeast High School in 1955. He attended Rockhurst College from 1955-1957. He then transferred to the University of Kansas to complete his undergraduate degree. Gary gained entrance into medical school at the University of Kansas and completed his medical degree in 1964. While at KU, he became an avid KU basketball fan, President of the AKL social fraternity, and Secretary of Phi Beta Pi medical fraternity. Thereafter, he completed his internship at Kansas City General Hospital and his 3-year Pathology residency at Menorah Medical Center.
In Kansas City on June 12 th , 1965, Gary was united in marriage to Peggy Jane Carpenter. They had their first child, baby Dana in 1967. In March of 1969, like many other men, Gary was drafted to the Army for the Vietnam War and moved his family to be stationed in Fort Rucker, Alabama. He went in as an Officer and enjoyed his family life there very much. They had their second child, Todd, while in the Army at Fort Rucker, Alabama. While in the Army, Gary attained his Flight Surgeon Badge and made many good memories. After the war, Gary and Peggy returned to Kansas City to raise their family.
Once in Kansas City, Gary attained his role as a Pathologist for the Medical Center of Independence. He also opened his own company called Johnson’s Medical Labs where he was affectionately called Dr. J. He had these 2 jobs for much of his career. He loved his job and being able to provide jobs to others with his laboratory business gave him a special sense of joy. He steadily fulfilled these two roles until HCA took over. He then transitioned to working with a team of Pathologists at Research Medical Center. Gary practiced medicine for over 35 years. He was very passionate about his career. He did endure a few stressful situations in his career with grace and steadiness. He was a mentally strong man with very ethical standards. He retired in 2006.
Gary supported his children’s interests and attended most all of their activities. He particularly enjoyed Scouting. He was involved with the Scouts for years and helped his son reach Eagle Scout. They both attended Boy Scout camp in Osceola, MO every summer. Gary was known for his love of “birding” and in his retirement, Gary could be found at various lakes with his fellow bird watching friends on organized and unorganized trips to Missouri bodies of water to log the species they saw. On occasion, he took big birding trips to places such as Ecuador, Alaska, and Costa Rica. He loved joining his sister and brother-in-law in Brownsville, Texas during the summers to bird with them too. He found his love of birding as a teenage boy. He was a member of the Audubon Society and birding was probably one of his top joys in life. Gary loved watching the Chiefs with his son-in-law Gil. These game watching times brought great joy to him over the last 6 years. He was a member of the United Methodist Church on Blue Ridge Blvd. for many years. He recently, reaffirmed his faith in Jesus Christ and the family wants to give a big thank you to Tyler Schwope for taking the time to talk with him on this topic. Gary loved his family and animals almost to a fault. He never wanted his children to endure hardship or trouble. He acted as a protector and really never quit parenting. Right or wrong, this was how he operated regarding his family. Gary did not make waves. He had a gentle spirit and an amazing ability to see things from other people’s views. Gary is preceded in death by his wife, Peggy Carpenter, father Paul Able Gareth Johnson, and mother Ruby Geneva Berg. Gary is survived by daughter Dana Lajoie and husband Gil of Blue Springs, MO, son Todd Johnson of Kansas City. MO, sister Martha Harris and husband Dee of Columbia, MO, nephew Paul Harris and wife Paige of Columbia, MO, nephew Cole Harris and wife Stephanie of North Carolina, grandchildren Annamarie Halford and husband Ryan, David Lajoie and wife Jessica, and great- grandchildren Jentri and Carter Lajoie.
Memorial service will be 10:00 a.m., Saturday, August 26, 2023, at Summit Springs Church, 1821 MO-7, Blue Springs, MO 64014. Graveside inurnment with military honors will follow at 11:30 a.m., in Memorial Park Cemetery at the Swan Pond section.