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Thomas “Shep” Charles Johnson

Thomas “Shep” Charles Johnson was born on December 5 th, 1931 to Percy and Nellie Carr Johnson. He was born in New Meadows and spent his early years there and in Weiser, Idaho with his uncle Tom Carr and family. He worked for his grandfather Tom B. Carr, who at the time was the largest sheep man in Idaho.

Shep graduated from New Meadows High school where he was captain of the football team and senior class vice-president. He continued to work on the Carr ranches until he join the marines in 1951, during the Korean conflict until his tank was blown up and he returned home in 1955 to recover from his injuries and to work on the ranch. In 1956, Shep went to work as a smokejumper where he met a group of men that he would become lifelong friends with. While working with the smokejumpers he joined a government agency where other fellow smokejumpers also joined up to fight in the secret war in Laos. Shep spent fifteen years working for “The Agency” including working in cooperation with General Vang Pao’s Hmong Army. Shep managed operations to deliver supplies to our service men & allies. He was credited with reorganizing and upgrading the aerial delivery system that made air delivery much faster and safer in getting cargo to the our service men and allies. During that time he grew to love and respect the Hmong people. He was awarded the Exceptional Service medal (star) along with many other awards and is featured in many books. He returned home in 1971 and went to work for the BLM as a smoke jumper, running helitac crews and working in fuel operations in various states and retired in 1990, moving to Vale, OR, where he raised horses and cattle, attended Willow Creek Church and maintained his cherished friendships with his fellow smokejumpers and agency people until his death.

Shep lived an interesting and exciting life that many people never have the chance to live. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Heather Johnson and his brother Miles Johnson. He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Janice Kay Johnson of Payette, daughter, Andrea Johnson (Ben Maxwell) , step daughters, Giana Sawyer (Jim), Kara Pruett, three grandchildren, Cassie Pruett Woods (Trevor), Thomas Sawyer, William Maxwell. Tom is also survived by a son Brian Johnson, step daughters, Scottie Johnson and Bonnie Kermgard from a previous marriage. There will be a memorial service held at the Weiser Senior Center on May 28 th at 1:00 p.m.

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