Dennis Johnson, age 64, passed away peacefully at his home in Spring Valley, CA, on May 22, 2018 after a decline in health due to chronic pancreatitis.
Dennis is survived by his wife of 31 years, Cynthia Ann (Pinckard); son Daryl Johnson, Jamul, CA; daughter Sarah Johnson, San Diego, CA; stepdaughter Michelle Kinard, Spring Valley, CA; stepson James Kinard (Robin), El Cajon CA; grandchildren Hali Sarrault and Nicholas Sarrault, Jamul, CA; step grandchildren Mario Burton and Aiden Talbot, Spring Valley CA, and Breanna Kinard and Tyler Kinard, El Cajon, CA.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Dennis was the eldest son of Thomas Roy Johnson (deceased) and Janet Davis Johnson of Parma, Ohio. He was the second oldest of six children; sisters – Debora Schmitt (Rick), Solon, OH; Denise Cerny (David), Cleveland, OH; Donna Lezark (John, deceased), Parma, OH; brothers – Douglas (Pilar), Raleigh, NC and Dee Scott, deceased, (Frances) Elyria, OH. Dennis grew up in Parma, Ohio, where he attended public schools including Normandy High School where he lettered running track. Dennis was a member of the Boy Scouts and loved camping and fishing with the troop and his dad who was also active with the scouts.
Dennis left high school early to join the U.S. Navy which led him to duty stations in Memphis, Guam and San Diego during the Vietnam era. He was an Avionics Technician, working on aircraft and repairing electronic equipment. He served his enlistment only briefly before taking on other occupations in the private sector including Production Manager at National Micronetics, installing private alarm and security systems, working as a private security officer, and owner of DJ Services as an independent contractor for carpet and flooring installation. He later attended Grossmont College and obtained his LAN and A+ Certifications for computer administration and installation and worked on numerous government contracts doing large scale computer installations. His work interests later evolved more into accounting. He attended Southwestern College to work on his accounting degree and while doing so held several bookkeeping and accounting positions. His last position before his disability retirement was Controller for Design for Health Environmental Services in San Diego.
A truly unique individual, Dennis could be described as having a tough exterior with a soft center. He was very smart and analytical, much of his knowledge coming from his love for reading. He liked a good debate and normally had the last word. His strong attention to detail could at times seem like he was being overly critical when in fact he was simply pointing out the details. He always had a confident attitude despite some personal insecurities. He was always himself and didn’t care about the latest trends, what brand names were popular, etc. or feel he had to conform or fit in. He would always make the best of any situation and try to be content no matter the circumstance. Reading science fiction novels was one source of contentment. One author in particular, Andre Norton, was his favorite. Every few years he would reread the entire Norton series.
Dennis enjoyed helping others, preferring to serve rather than be served. If he saw a neighbor working on a project, he would offer to pitch in and help by lending tools, his time, etc. On any project, he had a knack for quickly analyzing what needed to be done. He volunteered weekly at several local church food banks in the Spring Valley area and loved organizing and cooking meals at the local community center for seniors and youth. Cooking was another passion. He spent hours browsing through his large collection of cookbooks. He would always make the annual Johnson family cream cheese cookies every Christmas along with “spaghetti bake” but his specialty was prime rib.
As an active member of the San Diego Rod and Reel Club, Dennis participated in many of the club’s local fishing tournaments and events for kids, fishing shows and served once as Director of the club’s annual Big fish Tournament. He enjoyed teaching others how to fish, especially his grandkids, and kids who were often fishing for the first time at the annual SD Day at the Docks event at Shelter Island. He spent countless hours refurbishing old fishing poles and gear. He was always excited when lobster season opened every October. Even though the lobsters became more elusive every year, he would always have his lobster nets ready. Ironically, as much as he loved to fish, he didn’t like to eat fish and would give away a lot of his catches to neighbors and friends. He preferred ocean fishing over fresh water lake fishing even though he caught a 25lb. catfish at Lake Murray one year.
Dennis’ biggest hobby was collecting Coca Cola memorabilia. He started collecting “Coke stuff” after finding an old Coke tray at a yard sale in the 80’s. He and his wife Cindy loved to search antique shops, swap meets, and yard and estate sales for Coke items. As longtime members of the Greater San Diego Chapter of Coca Cola Collectors Club and the international Coca Cola Collectors Club, they attended many district and national collector conventions throughout the years with favorite conventions being Scottsdale AZ, Louisville KY, and Palm Springs CA. Dennis was very knowledgeable in the history of Coke memorabilia and could “talk Coke” any time, any place. He especially loved “room hopping” at conventions. Dennis served briefly as president of the SD chapter and volunteered during conventions as needed.
Military services will be held at Miramar National Cemetery on Tuesday June 12, 2018, at 1:30pm where he will be laid to rest. Part of his ashes will also be scattered at sea due to his love of fishing.
- Date: June 12, 2018
- Time: 1:30pm
- Location: Miramar National Cemetery
- Address: 5795 Nobel Drive San Diego, CA 92122
- Directions: Miramar National Cemetery
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