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Obituary Robert E. “Bob” Johnson

Robert E. “Bob” Johnson of Hamden, Connecticut, passed away on March 11, 2013.  For most of his 97 years, Bob was involved in swimming. At Hillhouse High School, he won the Connecticut Inter-Scholastic Championships in the 50y and 100y freestyle. At Mercersburg Prep, he set a national prep school record. Finally, at Ohio State University, he became team captain and won the NCAA Team Championship in 1938, 1939 and 1940. He also won the Cross Harbor Swim in New Haven many times. Since 1948, he had organized and conducted the American Red Cross Water Safety Program for Hamden, teaching some 927 classes with 28,000 students and issuing 20,000 certifications with an additional 2,000 water safety instructor badges.  Bob served for 24 years on the Yale University Physical Education and Aquatics faculty. He had a combined 158 years with the American Red Cross Water Safety Program, the American Association of Health Physical Education and Recreation (A.A.H.P.E.R.), the Amateur Athletic Union (A.A.U.), United States Swimming (U.S.S), Masters, Special Olympics and the Senior Olympics. He started the “Every Sailor a Swimmer” program in the 11th Naval District, California, which involved 65 bases and 783 personnel from the Navy’s “A” schools, to carry out the War Swimming Programs. In 2005, he received the Paragon Award for Water Safety at the International Swimming Hall of Fame.  He has served as chair of almost every swim committee in Connecticut. He has been director of three National Long Distance Swim Championships and Vice Chair of the National Committee. He is a historian by nature and has placed many of his books and pamphlets in the ISHOF’s Henning Library.

Born in New Haven, CT, on August 20, 1915, he was a son of the late Adoph & Edna Roggins Johnson. Bob is survived by his wife of 70 years, E. Virginia Vickrey Johnson; his sons, Ronald Johnson and his wife Linda, and Keith Johnson, all of Hamden; his daughters, Jennifer Johnson and her husband Arthur W. of North Haven, and Dianne Clifford of Portland, OR; his daughter-in-law  Jill Johnson-Noel and her husband John Noel; his grandchildren Tynika, Shandel, Dayna, Jessica, Ashley and Rob; his great grandchildren  Ayla & Nerya and his brother  Howard Johnson of Branford, also a very fast swimmer. Bob was pre-deceased by his son Gregory Johnson and his grandson Brian.

Bob was the vice president of the former Bellmore-Johnson Tool Co. in Hamden. A WWII Veteran, he was a Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy, and spent most of his life in Hamden, his summers in Mansfield Grove in East Haven and he always enjoyed playing the piano. His funeral will be held privately with his family. Arrangements are in care of BEECHER & BENNETT FUNERAL HOME, 2300 Whitney Ave, Hamden. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Bob’s memory may be made to the American Red Cross, 703 Whitney Ave, New Haven, CT, 08511,

To send a condolence to his family, please see  www.beecherandbennet.com

Greg LouganisEraldo

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