Cover photo for Osborn 'Gail' Johnson, Jr.'s Obituary
Osborn 'Gail' Johnson, Jr. Profile Photo

Osborn 'Gail' Johnson, Jr.

September 22, 1924 — March 16, 2012

Osborn 'Gail' Johnson, Jr.

Osborn Gail Johnson Jr. was born on September 22, 1924, to Osborn Gail and Capitola Saxon (Pruitt) Johnson in Mesa AZ. His sister, Capitola “Cappy” was four years old at that time. Their’s was a 3rd generation Arizona ranching and farming family, tracing the Johnson genealogy through Benjamin Franklin Johnson who brought his family to Arizona from Illinois in 1848. Although Gail Jr.’s family nickname was “Sonny,” he preferred to be called Gail. After graduating from Chandler High School, Gail attended the University of Arizona in Tucson, graduating in 1947 with a degree in ranch management. On June 19, 1947, he married Barbara Ann Jones and went to work in Goodyear, AZ as the Assistant Superintendent of Goodyear Farms. Gail and Barbara moved back to Chandler in 1950, where Gail and his father formed a partnership to run Johnson Farms on approximately 1000 acres southwest of town. They raised three sons: Osborn Gail, III “Sandy” (1948), Steven Lee (1950) and Gary Ellsworth (1954). He attended ASU in Tempe from 1972 - 1974, hoping to earn a Master’s degree in Agri-Business, completing all requirements but ultimately was unable to finish his dissertation on the hybridization of seeds. In addition to his farming and ranching work, Gail was very involved in many community activities. He sang in the Methodist Church choir and was chairman of the finance committee which built the new church on Chandler Blvd. (then known as Williams Field Rd.). He was a Boy Scout troop leader and loved teaching the scouts all about survival skills, camping, and hiking. He was active in the Farm Bureau, Chandler Rotary Club, Chandler Little Theater, and sang with the Scottsdale Barbershop group. Gail was a member of the Arizona State Fair Commission and in 1964-65, he taught welding classes in Goodyear for President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Manpower Program. Gail and Barbara divorced in 1973, and he stayed in the Phoenix area for several years, always working at outdoor jobs connected with growing plants and landscaping. He eventually decided to move to Yarnell. Sometime in 1982, he bought the little stone cottage with the big windmill that sits beside the highway that runs through Yarnell. He and a friend opened an antique shop in the middle of town, and named it “Ye Olde Windmill.” He settled into this small community and soon had the reputation of growing all kinds of flowers – and the most beautiful irises. In addition to his flower gardens, he always had a bountiful vegetable garden and fruit trees. When the antique shop business floundered and the partners parted, Gail continued to do what he did best - grow things. Additionally, he got to pursue his passion for hiking, camping, fishing, rock and fossil collecting, and bird watching. Naturally, he belonged to the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society, and the Gem and Mineral Club. Gail liked being a part of the Yarnell community. He would help put up the tents for events with the Chamber of Commerce, and enjoyed Friday night dinners at the American Legion. He donated a small greenhouse to the Yarnell Community Garden and loved his involvement with the Prescott Iris Society. Gail was an avid reader with a personal library of more than a thousand books and kept up on many different social, environmental and political issues with newspapers, magazines and periodicals. He loved sports on TV and big band music of the 30s & 40s. Preceding Gail in death were his parents, Capitola Saxon and Osborn Gail Johnson Sr., and his sister “Cappy.” He is survived by his former wife, Barbara Ann Jones (Johnson) Hart, sons Sandy (Susan) of Prescott, Steven, also of Prescott, and Gary (Janet) of Yakima Washington, grandchildren Keisha and Christopher (Heidi) of Maine, Joshua and Emily of Yakima, Washington, and great-granddaughter Taiya of Maine. Last September just before his 87th birthday, Gail’s health failed. Soon after being moved into Samaritan Village, he came to realize that he could never return to his home in Yarnell and when his beloved Samson died, it broke his heart. To his very end on March 16th, Gail was treated with gentleness, compassion, and respect. The Johnson family is so grateful to the entire Samaritan staff for the quality of care and comfort which was provided to their father and the many kindnesses extended to our family. Rest in peace Gail, your family and friends will remember you with love and greatly miss you.

Service:
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, March 28th, 9:30 am, at the Samaritan Village Chapel and at some future date, a flower garden will be dedicated in Gails memory at the Adult Center in Yarnell. After cremation, his ashes will be scattered on one of the hilltops of Arizona.

Service:
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, March 28th, 9:30 am, at the Samaritan Village Chapel and at some future date, a flower garden will be dedicated in Gail’s memory at the Adult Center in Yarnell. After cremation, his ashes will be scattered on one of the hilltops of Arizona.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Osborn 'Gail' Johnson, Jr., please visit our flower store.

Guestbook

Photo Gallery

Visits: 0

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree