Dr. David J. Johnson, age 87 of Eau Claire died on September 15, 2020 at Dove Health Care West.
He was born to Marcus and Ether (Anderson) Johnson on August 2, 1933, in Eau Claire. He graduated from Eau Claire Senior High School in 1951. At Badger Boy State, he was elected Supreme Court Justice. As a high school senior, he was nominated to be an Uthrotar, member of the National Honor Society, student council president, awarded the Science department medal, and graduated Valedictorian.
While attending UWEC, he was president of the Roger Williams Club, co-chaired the Inter-Faith Council, was Chemistry Lab Assistant, Orderly at Luther Hospital, and served as a you representative on the committee which led to the establishment of the Eau Claire Mental Health Clinic. He earned the BS degree in Zoology from UW Madison.
Awarded a Wisconsin State Scholarship in Social Work, he was the first Jewett scholar as the outstanding graduate student at the University of Minnesota where he earned the MSW degree in Psychiatric Social Work. At the conclusion of two years of service in the Wisconsin Division of Mental Hygiene, David accepted a joint appointment with the Kansas Neurological Institute and Menninger Foundation. While in Kansas, he was a Social Work field instructor at Kansas University and Washburn University.
In 1961, he became Assistant Superintendent and Clinical Director at the State School in Owatonna Minnesota. In 1966, he enrolled in the Social Work doctoral program at the University of Minnesota where he earned a Ph. D. in Social Work Administration and Research with a minor in Educational Psychology. He was appointed Assistant Professor and Social Work Coordinator at UWEC in 1968. Promoted to Full Professor and Department Chairman, Dr. Johnson recruited enlightened, productive faculty members and led the UWEC program through a series of changes that resulted in statewide recognition as the most rigorous and thoroughly professional Bachelor of Social Work degree program in Wisconsin. He retired as Social Work Professor Emeritus 1988.
Dr. Johnson was a member of Sanctuary Lodge #347, Scottish Right a 32nd degree Mason, AFSCME, and AFT Union member, and served on many community service and University committees. He chaired the first UWEC – Community committee that led to the Criminal Justice major at the University. A licensed foster parent with the Eau Claire Department of Human Services, helped a dozen troubled youth attain adulthood.
He is survived by, sister-in-law Reba Johnson of Mississippi, cousins, friends Patricia Christopherson and Joan Schnagl, as well as his caregiver Zoran Hosic, who is also member of Sanctuary Lodge #347.
Smith Funeral Chapel is assisting with the service on Saturday September, 26th at 1:00 PM. Masonic service to be held at 12:30 PM. Memorials may be directed to the Department of Social Work UWEC Foundation or donor’s choice.