Eugene Wendell Johnson 1929-2022

Eugene Wendell Johnson peacefully passed away December 20, 2022. He was 93.

Born in Palo Alto, California, to Albin and Gladys Johnson, the family moved to Jerome, Idaho, then Ridgefield, Washington, and finally settled in Oregon, first in Dayton, then in McMinnville. Following his 1948 graduation from McMinnville High School, he enlisted in the Navy. He served one year stationed on a ship based out of Pearl Harbor. Following active duty, he served six years in the Navy Reserve.

He married Phyllis Clarambeau, his high school sweetheart, on September 10, 1949. During their 73 years of marriage, they shared a love of the outdoors and gardening. Fourth of July was often spent camping and fishing with family and friends. Busy in his workshop, they worked together making wooden ornaments each Christmas. They also enjoyed going on cruises with friends and RV-ing at the beach. His greatest joy, however, was following the activities of his sons and grandkids. Many hours were spent watching their sporting events, attending choir concerts and plays.

Gene worked several jobs in auto parts sales until a high school friend encouraged him to go on to college. He entered Linfield College in 1957, serving four years as manager of the football team under Coach Paul Durham. Gene continued to be a lifelong supporter of Linfield athletics. For over 40 years, he held season football tickets to root on the Wildcats.

As a 1961 Linfield graduate in education, he was hired by the McMinnville School District. He spent the first half his years in education teaching science and coaching football and baseball at McMinnville Junior High. He later became vice principal of the school and later at Patton Middle School. He retired from the district in 1988 but continued his commitment to youth through community drug awareness programs.

An active member in the Lutheran Church throughout his life, he served the church in many roles, including his favorite, the choir. He was a member of Joyful Servant Lutheran Church in Newberg. He will be remembered as a man of faith who gave encouragement and sound counsel. This year he celebrated Christmas in Heaven.

He is survived by his wife, Phyllis; three sons, Larry Johnson (Margaret), Scott Johnson (Terry), and Robert Johnson (Karen); seven grandchildren, Travis, Corey, Helen, Emma, Morgan, Margaret and Zachary; three step-grandchildren, Osa, Bjorn and Rolf; and three great-grandchildren, Parker, Sawyer and Brynja.

A memorial service is planned at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, January 21, at Macy & Son Funeral Home. Contributions in Eugene’s name can be made to McMinnville Baseball Inc., which supports the McMinnville High School summer baseball program, or the YCAP food bank. To leave condolences, visit


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