Early Ladera resident Bruce Johnson dies at 97 | June 5, 2019 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Community - June 5, 2019

Early Ladera resident Bruce Johnson dies at 97

Louis Bruce Johnson, who with his wife Jeane were among the earliest residents of the Ladera community, near Portola Valley, died on April 27. He was 97 and living in a retirement community in Los Gatos.

Born in Liberal, Kansas, Johnson attended the National Scout Jamboree in Washington, D.C., when he was a teenager, and went on to the World Boy Scout Jamboree in Holland and a six-week tour of Europe, according to his family.

He enrolled in Kansas State University, but his studies were interrupted during World War II by a four-year stint in the Army, where he was a radar officer and battery commander. He returned to school after his military duties were over, and in 1947 graduated with a degree in electrical engineering, his family said. After a period of employment at Point Mugu Missile Test Center in Oxnard, California, he headed north to the Bay Area, remaining here except for one year in Maryland for the rest of his life. The Johnsons lived in Ladera for 56 years, his wife said.

Johnson started a Bay Area franchise of Sonitrol Corp., which used a sound-activated system to detect break-ins and fire, his family said. He sold the company and retired in 1989, but remained involved in the alarm field.

His interests included woodworking; he built furniture and other household items, and volunteered for building projects, according to his family.

An interest in restoring vintage pump organs, or reed organs, led to a feature story about him in The Almanac in February 1974, his wife said. After the story appeared, she added, "he received a number of requests 'to do' their organ, inherited from their family. He obliged, never charged — he enjoyed the challenge. Sometimes they just wanted to get rid of it. Those he passed on to someone who wanted it."

Johnson also loved theater and music events, gardening, travel, camping and fishing, his family said. An active member of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, he sang in the choir for more than 30 years.

In addition to his wife of 67 years, Jeane, he is survived by his daughters Wendy and Deanna. Services have been held.


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