On June 30 Don won his 20-year fight with cancer, during which he lived with his boundless measures of grace, enthusiasm, laughter and humility.
He researched and confronted his disease relentlessly and yielded only in the last few weeks in his own way, on his own terms with his beloved susanalice at his side.
Don was born to Irma and Maylon Johnson and grew up in Bozeman and Columbus, Mont. After high school he served for three years in the United States Marine Corps. Upon returning to Montana he fought forest fires for a time and then moved to Seattle where he worked as a draftsman at Boeing.
He subsequently joined the Peace Corps and worked for two years as a community development volunteer in the Bolivian jungle. When he returned to the U.S., he began a formal education, earning an associate degree in Spanish from Fullerton College in California, a BA and MA from UCLA in Latin American studies, and a PhD in education, also from UCLA.
Don was a member of the Bakersfield College faculty from 1973 to 1996 where he taught cultural anthropology, Chicano history and woodworking, as well as establishing outreach and support services for Vietnam veterans, unemployed adults, and students with disabilities.
Don was an extraordinary wood-carver of birds and animals. His beautiful and whimsical creations are the pride of many.
Don retired in 1997 and moved to Whitefish with his wife, Janet, who died in 2009.