Russell Johnson

Profile Updated: March 13, 2019
Russell Johnson
Residing In Half Moon Bay, CA USA
Spouse/Partner Sue Reyneri (Stanford '81), Bond Trader, CFO, married 1984
Occupation Lockheed Martin Fellow (Satellite Communication)
Children Eric Johnson (born 1988), graduated Georgetown law and Boston College. Matthew Johnson (born 1991), More…graduated University of Oregon, now doing finance in San Francisco.
Yes! Attending Reunion
Comments

I met Sue, my wife, on Waikiki Beach during vacation trip to Maui with Doug Sharpe back in 1983. We married about a year later and flew a plane around Hawaii for our Honeymoon. Eric was born in '88 and Matt in '91. We've lived in Half Moon Bay for the past 23 years. I enjoy kite surfing, snow skiing, water skiing, tennis, and bike riding when not at work.

School Story

Some of my favorite memories include skiing at Squaw Valley and Heavenly Valley nearly every weekend with my brothers Dave and Rick, and sisters Karen and Cindy. We had passes at both Squaw and Heavenly. We often met up with Deming Wuthmann (Paly '72), Doug Sharpe (Paly '72), Pete Latham (Paly '72), and others -- great fun. I also earned a Private, Commercial and Instrument pilots license during this time. I flew all over California and Arizona. I remember flying with Rick Konrady down to Disneyland and then on to San Diego. At that time of that flight I hadn't yet earned my instrument rating. Visibility exceeded 100 miles all over California that day, but when we arrived in the LA area the visibility was less than 1-mile due to smog in the LA basin, which is too low for a private pilot without an instrument rating to land. I had to get a special clearance from air traffic control (ATC) and get radar vectored to the airport. I asked Rick to help spot the airport. He always gave me grief about that, apparently the pilot should not ask a passenger to help out (lesson learned). Although, a fellow Lockheed Martin employee, astronaut and former space shuttle commander/pilot Steve Frick informed me that I did exactly the right thing. It's all about teamwork he assured me.

My favorite stunt in the airplane was parabolic dives. You take out a pencil, hold it directly in front of you and drop it. At exactly the same time you dive the airplane, the pencil (and you) float weightless for quite a while. The airspeed builds super fast, and soon your heading straight for the ground, but still weightless. It's awesome; I showed this stunt to nearly everyone who flew with me -- many didn't return for another flight. Especially one college roommate who totally freaked out.

Larry Brittain reminded me about a flight we made together to Sacramento Municipal Airport back in high school. There were large updrafts and downdrafts over the Eastbay foothills. I looked at Larry said, "don't get sick it's not my plane." Larry claims I said, "If you do feel sick let me know, I'll make a sharp banked turn so the vomit goes out the window." I don't exactly remember saying that, but if Larry says it's so -- it must be true. I must not have heard of barf bags.

My sister Karen tells a story about me flying her to Half Moon Bay Airport and eating at the '3-Zero Cafe' there (3-Zero is the magnetic heading of the main runway at Half Moon Bay). Karen claims that as we ate, a huge marine surge (fog layer) came in and the airport visibility dropped to near zero. Karen claims that, despite my not having an instrument rating at the time, we taxied out, took-off, and climbed through the clouds until we reached clear conditions on-top of the marine layer. I take the fifth on this one, I have absolutely no memory of this. But, if Karen says it's so ...

The airplane was such fun, i probably have 10,000 stories, but enough already...

It seems strange to me that I took zero physics or electricity in high school -- today I spend 100% of my time at work doing physics or electrical engineer / space communications type things.

I also remember driving people to school senior year (myself, Bente Stangenes, Rick Konrady, my brother Dave). One day a very strong storm had just subsided and the streets were flooded with water. We had all the windows open in the car and drove through the underpass below Alma street on the way to school. We didn't notice in time that the underpass was completely flooded. We drove into the watery mess pretty fast. Other cars were coming the other way and a huge wall of water entered the car through the open windows -- we all got soaked and had to return home to change. Even today I always think of that when a travel through the underpass at Alma.

During Junior High at Jordan we had great times in the Sierra hiking and camping. Our Boy Scout troop (Troop 48) had a two week camping trip in the High Sierra, we hiked in from Bridgeport into the back country of Yosemite. These were great times with super people like the Frykmans (Dave and Walt), the Zwakenbergs, and others.

Lunch in the old Paly amphitheater was always fun also.

Russell's Latest Interactions

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Russell Johnson has left an In Memory comment for Rebecca Lancaster.
Sep
17
Sep 17, 2019 at 4:34 AM

The opiod crisis has been devastating to the entire country.  More people died from opiod overdose just last year than in the entire Vietnam conflict (ha, ha -- aka war).  Yet, despite losing their 12-billion dollar lawsuit, there is no way Purdue Pharma (PP) will pay that out.  This last week Purdue Pharma declared bankrupcy.  PP will continue to pull these legal shenanigans and will probably pay almost nothing to opiod addiction victims.   Its likely PP will reorganize under the direction of the  bankrupcy courts, pay victims close to nothing, and go on almost unscathed, but possibly under a new corporate name -- but the same old leadership.  Welcome to corporate greed -- even at the expense of epidemic death and family destruction.

Russell Johnson has left an In Memory comment for Donald Tyler.
Jun
14
Jun 14, 2019 at 4:33 PM

Don Tyler, 63, passed away on May 17, 2019. Don was the son of Charles and Claire Tyler of Palo Alto, and the brother to Charles II, Janet, and James, all of whom were raised in Palo Alto. Don's father Charley was the publisher of the now-defunct Palo Alto Times. Don graduated from San Jose State University and had a long career in Marketing in Silicon Valley. He enjoyed fishing, sports, progressive rock, and travel and was working on his second volume of speculative fiction. He is survived by his two children, Maia and Liam of Mountain View, his siblings and nieces and nephews, and many dear friends from 'the old days'.

Russell Johnson added a photo to profile gallery.
Mar
13
Mar 13, 2019 at 10:47 PM
Kite Surfing Maui 2012
Russell Johnson added a photo to profile gallery.
Mar 13, 2019 at 10:47 PM
Hell skiing 2019 with brother Dave and Phil Osborne in Canada (Purcell Wilderness)
Mar 13, 2019 at 10:43 PM
Russell Johnson added a photo to profile gallery. New comment added.
Jul 29, 2018 at 9:25 AM

Posted on: Jul 29, 2018 at 9:24 AM

Russell Johnson has left an In Memory comment for Bruce McGregor.
Jun 06, 2016 at 12:33 PM

I recall fun times with Bruce launching model rockets, flying free-flight and radio controlled model airplanes in the Stanford fields.  It's very sad he has passed at a relatively young age.  Bruce died from cardiac arrest/heart failure due to aortic valve disease.

Russell Johnson has left an In Memory comment for Profile.
Apr 23, 2016 at 12:33 PM

Andy and I shared several adventures in High School.  The most notable was our bicycle ride back from Lake Tahoe in the Summer after 10th grade.  We figured it would be easier to ride back from Lake Tahoe (versus riding up).  We discovered that there are also perils to riding back.  Although there is an 8652 foot downhill from Carson Pass on Highway 88 down to Jackson, its actually fairly up and down, with significant uphills.  Also, we weren't very good at planning the trip or where to spend the overnight.  Instead, we just rode until it got dark.  So, we ended up along side the Clements Diner on HIghway 88, at mile 148.  There was nowhere to sleep except right on the side of the road.  We threw our sleeping bags down by some oak trees on the side of the road.  There were large semi-tractors roaring by all night so we got little sleep -- it was very uncomfortable.  I had just gotten my braces off and I was supposed to sleep with a very uncomfortable positioner in my mouth.  Luckily, I accidently left that positioner near the oak tree in Clements and never saw it again.  I just lied to the dentist about consistently using my positioner. 

Day 2 was even worse.  Today Altamont pass is full of windmills, and there is good reason for that.  We rode along Highway 4 and finally arrived at Vasco Road (near Altamont Pass).  Vasco Road back then was just a winding country 1-lane road (nothing like today's multi-lane road) with a horrible headwind.  We were probably bucking a 30-mph headwind all the way up Vasco Road into Livermore.  This was probably the toughest section of road I've ever been on (worse than any uphill).  Another interesting point, back then some sections of our route were still dirt road, e.g. Camino Diablo road. 

Anyway, we both made into Palo Alto by the end of the second day( day 2 was 107 miles, total 2-day trip was 255 miles).  It was a great adventure.  Andy apparently had enough of that for a lifetime and never did the Lake Tahoe bike ride again.  I've done several times since (both directions).  That first time was probably the most memorable.

I had not seen Andy until the 40th reunion.  I was happy to see him and discuss some old memories.  I'm very sad that he's gone now.  Rest in peace Andy Berte.

Russell Johnson added a photo to profile gallery. New comment added.
Feb 07, 2016 at 9:18 AM

Posted on: Feb 07, 2016 at 9:16 AM

Russell Johnson added a photo to profile gallery. New comment added.
Feb 07, 2016 at 9:18 AM

Posted on: Feb 07, 2016 at 9:16 AM

Russell Johnson added a photo to profile gallery. New comment added.
Feb 06, 2016 at 12:54 PM

Posted on: Feb 06, 2016 at 12:53 PM

Russell Johnson has left an In Memory comment for Jeff Carlson.
Feb 12, 2015 at 12:33 AM

I think it is appropriate to post the obituary that appeared in the Los Angeles Times regarding our beloved classmate.

July 28, 1954 - February 4, 2015 Jeffrey Carlson lost his hard fought battle with cancer on February 4, 2015 in Los Angeles, California, surrounded by family and friends. Born in Buffalo, New York on July 28, 1954, Jeff was raised in Palo Alto, California, where he attended Palo Alto High. It was at San Diego State University, where he met and fell in love with his wife Nancy. After graduation, the couple married and moved to Los Angeles where they raised their two sons, Steven and Matthew. While Jeff navigated a successful career in children's clothing manufacturing, he will be more famously remembered as a devoted husband & father, an avid mountain biker, San Francisco Giants & 49ers fan, Grateful Dead / jam band fanatic, skier, outdoorsman, and all around handyman. He will be intensely missed. Jeff is survived by his wife Nancy, sons Steven and Mathew, parents, Rod and Carole Carlson, his brother Tom, sister-in-law Brenda, and their sons James and William, Jeff's sister, Sarah Carlson, her son, Josh, and husband Ras Bonitto.

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Posted: Mar 13, 2019 at 10:47 PM
Hell skiing 2019 with brother Dave and Phil Osborne in Canada (Purcell Wilderness)
Posted: Feb 07, 2016 at 9:16 AM
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 1:27 AM
Russ back in 1973
Posted: Feb 07, 2016 at 9:16 AM
Posted: Mar 13, 2019 at 10:47 PM
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 1:27 AM
My son Matt (born 1991), Saint Francis High School, currently a sophomore at University of Oregon
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 1:27 AM
My wife Sue (married in 1984), Stanford '81 BA in Economics and Mathematics. Bond trader in the 80's. Currently CFO at Castilleja School in PA.
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 1:27 AM
My son Eric (Saint Francis High School, Boston College 2010, Georgetown Law)
Posted: Jul 29, 2018 at 9:24 AM
Posted: Dec 17, 2013 at 1:27 AM
Russ Johnson at the controls, about to depart Palo Alto airport in 1973.