Born in Madison, Wisconsin, he spent his early years with challenges due to a mild case of cerebral palsy, causing some physical limitations. He attended Middlesex Prep School and graduated from Trinity College in 1951.
After graduation, he worked for Gisholt Machine Tool, a family business. After marrying Hope Johnson, the couple traveled to Europe, where he was a service engineer for Gisholt Machine Tool. They later lived in Kingston-on-Thames in England for nine years, while he was working for the company, before moving back to the United States in 1964.
The family settled in Woodside, where Mr. Johnson attended Stanford School of Business. He served as secretary of his class until his death. During his business career he worked for Gra-Tec, Memorex, and Arrowstaff Birchwood Systems until retiring in 1993.
Mr. Johnson had many interests, say family members. He learned bridge at age 10 from his grandparents, loved being in the kitchen cooking and experimenting, had an extensive knowledge of classical music, and knew the history of many classical composers.
He was on the board of Spring Opera Theater from 1971 to 1978. In 1976 he and his brother, Richmond, produced a movie, "Southern Double Cross," with a script by Howard Koch who wrote "Casablanca." Mr. Johnson was also president of Amigos de Las Americas, Peninsula chapter, from 1980 to 1983.
He is survived by his wife, Hope; sons Ben, Fletcher and Hobart; daughters Sonia and Evangeline; and 14 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by daughter Tulla and infant son Clinton Hyde.
Donations may be made to Pets-in-Need in Menlo Park, who provided Yoda, his constant companion through difficult months; the Salvation Army; or a favorite charity.