Longtime Mat-Su Borough resident and EMS responder John Thomas Johnson, 68, passed away peacefully at home in Big Lake, Alaska, on April 13, 2021, after a brave yearlong battle with cancer. A Celebration of Life service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 8, at the Big Lake Lions Club, 2942 S. Lions Ct., Big Lake, Alaska.
John, known by friends throughout Alaska and the world as JJ, was born April 11, 1953, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Thomas E. Johnson and Janet L. (Madden) Johnson.
As a child he lived in Venezuela, Spain, and U.S. states including Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado. He moved to Anchorage at the age of 16 and graduated from Dimond High school in 1971.
John joined the Air Force and served two and a half years in police work at Elmendorf Air Force Base until honorably discharged. John then began his lifelong career as an EMT/firefighter, alongside several other careers like railroading in the ‘70s and driving school buses in the ‘80s.
He was a drilling rig safety officer and medic in both Alaska and overseas in the ‘90s. From 2010 until retirement, John worked in security on the Alaska North Slope. Through these years he resided in Willow, Wasilla, and Big Lake, Alaska.
John never fully retired from EMS. He worked with many ambulance services in AK as an EMT I-III. He was an engineer with several fire departments in the state including Adak, Bristol Bay, Central (Wasilla), Willow and most recently the Houston Volunteer Fire Department.
He was also a medic with organizations such as Alaska Professional Volunteers. John helped put out hundreds of house and wildland fires, and the number of lives he saved over the years is uncountable.
John was well-known throughout his field as a mentor and teacher. His love for his community was felt by all who knew him. He made sure everyone was safe and well cared for, and always lent a helping hand to anyone in need.
He answered pager callouts day and night, 365 days a year.
In 2020, John received the Alaska Council on Emergency Medical Services Special Award for his 43 years of continuous service throughout the state. He continued to respond to emergencies until he could physically no longer do so.
John’s many friends and colleagues will greatly miss his humor and generosity. He kept us laughing with his outrageous stories and boundless teasing.
Outside of saving lives and putting out fires, John enjoyed hunting, fishing, snow-machining, country and western and Celtic music, and bonfires with his family and friends. He also enjoyed moderating several online anti-crime and animal rescue pages.
John leaves his beloved wife of 15 years, Corinne E. Johnson, sons Robert Johnson (Michelle) and Thomas Johnson, stepdaughters Adrienne Smyth (Mallory) and Allison Eby (Kraig), grandchildren Ariella and Clark, and sisters Karen Ashley (Mike), Carol Williams (Frank) and Anne Straka (Steve).
John requested to be cremated. In lieu of flowers John’s family would appreciate your donations to Mobile Medics International, or Doctors Without Borders.