CFM Mourns the Loss of Past-President, Don Johnson

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Don Johnson passed away Friday, August 4, 2017. Don was president of the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) in 2006 and served as the CFM representative to the National Wildlife Federation for 11 years. He remained a member of the Executive Committee until his passing.

Don proudly served Missouri as a Conservation Commissioner from 2007-2013. He was also active in the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, National Rifle Association and Ducks Unlimited. In 2012, Budweiser and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation honored Don as a finalist for the Budweiser Conservationist of the Year Award.

“From my first day on the job at CFM, I found in Don a trusted adviser and immediate friend. Gentle may be a strange word for a decorated war hero, but if you knew him you understand just what I mean. He was so kind, always there wearing a beaming smile and offering a bear hug. Behind his positive demeanor was a deep appreciation for nature, and a wealth of human dimension and business knowledge. A man of his stature cannot be replaced. All of us at the Federation will miss him dearly,” said Brandon Butler, Executive Director of CFM.

Don served as a committed leader for CFM in his roll as a representative to the National Wildlife Federation. As a staunch advocate for involving young people in conservation, he advocated for programs like CFM’s nationally recognized Conservation Leadership Corps, which has been viewed as a model for engaging young leaders in conservation.

“Don was a world-class conservationist, whose enthusiasm for wildlife and getting more kids outdoors was simply infectious. He was a natural leader who was never hesitant to share a great Missouri story or to lend a helping hand to other affiliate leaders. Through his many years of service as a delegate to the National Wildlife Federation’s annual meetings, he led countless conservation policy resolutions and was instrumental to the adoption of the “We Believe” statement in 2015 that help set a new trajectory for the Federation.  I was proud to call him my friend and will miss him very much,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of National Wildlife Federation.

Don was a 6-year Air Force veteran of the Vietnam War where he piloted an AC-130 gunship on 130 combat missions. He received four air medals and two distinguished flying crosses. His professional career flourished in the cable television and communications industry.

Don is survived by his wife Nancy (nee Overton) Johnson; children Brian Johnson of New Orleans, Louisiana, Kelly Michelle (Herbert) Buford of Dallas, Texas, Mark Clayton Johnson of Dallas, Kelly Elizabeth Tomek of St. Louis, Missouri, Kim Renee’ Stubbs of Kirkwood, Missouri and Jonathan Parrish (Amanda) Gregory of Springfield, Missouri; grandchildren Brianna, Dominique, Cortney, Kevin, Gabby, Cameron, Drew, Marisa, Livvy, Zach, Jack, Ben and Will; brothers John (Denise) Johnson of Salinas, California and Dennis (the late Lora) Johnson of Oklahoma City.

Visitation for Don is from 1:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. Thursday, August 10, 2017 at Vinyard Funeral Home in Festus. Visitation after 9:00 A.M. with funeral services at 10:00 A.M., Friday, August 11, 2017 at First United Methodist Church, officiated by Pastor Tish Green. Interment with full military honors in National Cemetery in Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.

Memorials in his memory are preferred to First United Methodist Church Food Pantry or the Conservation Federation of Missouri.


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