Robert H. Johnson
|Robert H. Johnson|
Wyoming State Senator
January 1, 1967 – December 31, 1978
|Preceded by||Elmer Halseth|
|Succeeded by||Ford T. Bussart|
|Born|| August 16, 1916|
Denver, Colorado, USA
|Died|| May 19, 2011|
Sweetwater County, Wyoming
|Spouse(s)|| Helen Marie Hamm Johnson (married 1949-2005, her death)|
|Residence||Rock Springs, Wyoming|
|Alma mater|| University of Wyoming
University of Wyoming College of Law
Johnson was born in Denver, Colorado, to Henry Johnson and the former Samantha Haines. In 1934, he graduated from high school in the capital city of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Four years later, he graduated from the University of Wyoming at Laramie, where he was the president of the Blue Pencil journalism honorary society and campus correspondent for The Wyoming Tribune Eagle, then known as the State Tribune of Cheyenne. He was also a member of the varsity wrestling team and an intramural boxing champion.
In 1941, Johnson began five years of service in United States Army Air Corps during World War II as a bomber pilot and second lieutenant. In 1944, he was sent to England with the 466th Bombardment Group for combat duty with the 8th Air Force. His first flight in combat was as a deputy group leader of an attack on Berlin, Germany. Johnson flew thirty combat missions over Europe, including special assignments for support of the French Resistance forces, led by Charles de Gaulle. against the Nazis. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross. Upon release from active duty in 1946, he was assigned to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel.
Upon graduation from UW in 1938, Johnson became state editor of The Wyoming Tribune Eagle and thereafter part owner and editor of the Northern Wyoming Daily News in Worland in Washakie County. In 1948, he relocated to Rock Springs, where for more than a decade he was managing editor and subsequently general manager of The Rock Springs Daily Rocket-Miner.
On July 11, 1949, in Rock Springs, Johnson wed the former Helen Marie Hamm, who died in 2005. The couple had three children.
Law, politics, and civic leadership
In 1961, at the age of forty-five, he left the newspaper business to attend law school at the University of Wyoming. He returned to Rock Springs, a heavily Democratic community, to practice law from 1963 until retiring in 1996. His state Senate service spanned three four-year terms, including two years as the Democratic floor leader and two others as the chairman of the Senate Labor Committee. He also chaired a special committee to rewrite the Wyoming education code. He was the floor leader for House Bill 208, which expanded the trona industry. In 1972, he was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida, which nominated then U.S. Senator George McGovern of South Dakota to challenged U.S. President Richard Nixon, who won Wyoming in all three of his presidential bids. He was an alternate delegate to several other Democratic conventions.
During his newspaper years, he served on the board of directors and as president of the Wyoming Press Association. He was also the chairman of the Sweetwater County Library Board in Rock Springs. He was affiliated with the American Legion, the University of Wyoming Alumni Association, Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, and the bar association. He served on the board of the Western Wyoming Community College Foundation in Rock Springs. Johnson died in Rock Springs at the age of ninety-four. Survivors included a son, Glen R. Johnson, and a daughter, Leslie Ellen Johnson, and a grandson. Another daughter, Susan M. Johnson, died in 1999. He was a member of the Congregationalist Church.