AUSTINTOWN - Robert L. "Bob" Johnson Sr., 78, passed away Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019, at Select Specialty Hospital in Youngstown after a courageous four-year battle with cancer.
Born in Monongahela, Pa. on April 12, 1941, he was the son of the late Harry Abrams Johnson and Sarah "Sally" Davis Johnson, both successful educators in the "Mon Valley" area.
Bob was a graduate of Monongahela High School in 1960, where he excelled in sports as an all-state basketball and football player. He held the record of 42 points scored in one basketball game for Monongahela, and dominated the Mon Valley area as a football running back in the late 1950s.
He attended the University of North Carolina on a football scholarship and later transferred to Morehead State College, where he completed his athletic career. Bob's exceptional athletic speed also earned him a tryout with Major League Baseball's Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League.
In 1961, Bob gained employment as a maintenance worker with the General Motors plant in Linden, New Jersey, primarily due to his love of automobiles. In 1965, he was transferred to the new General Motors plant in Lordstown, where he was promoted to a foreman position. Bob was instrumental in helping create the Passer Plant at Lordstown, and later received a second promotion to general foreman in 1973. As general foreman, he participated in starting the Truck Plant at Lordstown, and after 30 years of service with G.M., Bob retired in 1991. He lived in Austintown for the remainder of his life, but Monongahela was always the city that held a special place in his heart.
During his lifetime, he served for over 30 years as a Mason, and was a loyal follower of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also was a serious fan of NASCAR racing, having attended the Daytona 500 and similar races on several occasions.
In 2007, Bob was inducted into the Mid-Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame which includes such prominent athletes as Stan Musial, Ken Griffey Sr., Fred Cox, and Joe Montana. In 2016, he was inducted into the Ringgold Sports Hall of Fame after Monongahela High School merged with Donora High School to become Ringgold High School.
During his last years, he enjoyed spending time with his family and his cocker spaniel dogs, as well as watching old-time television shows, such as Gunsmoke and The Rifleman. He also enjoyed reconnecting with old friends from Monongahela on social media sites such as Facebook.
Bob is survived by his two sons and daughters-in-law, Robert L. Johnson Jr. and his wife, Sherry Lakos Johnson of McDonald, and Scott P. Johnson and his wife, Phaiboon Ladkhubon Johnson of Frostburg, Md.; his twin brother, Charles William "Bill" Johnson and his wife, Karen Amendol Johnson of Canfield; two grandchildren, of whom he was very proud, Robert L. Johnson III of Canton, who graduated with honors from Butler University and currently serves as an assistant track coach at Walsh University, and Samantha V. Johnson of McDonald, who recently graduated summa cum laude from Youngstown State University.
Besides his parents, Bob was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy Wolf Johnson, and a sister, Carol Johnson Milesky.
Family and friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m., Monday, Nov. 18, at Kinnick Funeral Home, 222 S. State, St., Girard, where a memorial service will follow at 8 p.m.
Private services will also take place in Monongahela. Per Bob's request, he was cremated and his remains will be buried with his parents in Monongahela.
Bob's family thanks Select Specialty Hospital for the wonderful treatment he received, and where he was cared for and loved dearly by the nurses and staff during his final months.
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