Harold "Johnny" Johnson

   Johnny was born on June 16, 1905 in Minaville, New York. As a small boy he began woodcarving with his penknife. At the age of nine he met Mildred Williamson, who became his lifelong friend and whom he later married in May of 1931. They had one son, Walter. His family moved to Connecticut when he was ten years old. He ran away from home when he was twelve, and wandered around upstate New York (to be close to Mildred) working odd jobs. He ended up working in a restaurant in Springfield, Massachusetts until the age of 18, when he enlisted in the Navy. He became a Chief Warrant Officer and spent five years hunting in the jungles of Panama. Later during WWII he served in the Pacific where his ship, the USS Hornet went down in the Coral Sea.

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   After a 30-year career he returned to civilian life in Chula Vista, California, where he set up a cabinet shop. He made cabinets and created custom-built furniture for five years until the Korean War broke out, and he returned to the Navy for two more years. After that war he returned to cabinet making until he retired in 1969.

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   He 1959 he and Mildred joined the San Diego Mineral & Gem Society, where they were very active. Johnny became the President of the Society three times during the 1960's. He mastered all phases of lapidary from faceting and sculpting to gold casting and silverwork. He also taught gem carving, a skill in which he was so proficient that when he entered competitions, the judges refused to accept his work, since they said it was of museum quality and therefore unfair to his competition. He also created five commessi (intarsias). Johnny passed away on September 17, 1990.

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