William Reid Johnson
August 5, 2022
William (Bill) Reid Johnson, 93, of Arlington, Va., passed away on August 5th after a short illness.
Bill, born on May 20, 1929, grew up in Durham, New Hampshire. He graduated from Phillips Academy-Andover in 1947, earned his undergraduate degree from Oberlin College in 1951, and a masters degree from the University of Washington in 1955. After graduating, Bill enlisted in the US Army and served at a language school in Monterey California as well as the Philippines. In 1958, Bill returned to Seattle to complete his PhD in Chinese History at the University of Washington. After teaching at Penn State and the University of Washington, Bill landed a teaching position at the George Washington University in the Nation’s capital in 1966 where he stayed until his retirement in 1996.
At George Washington University, Bill served as Chair of the History Department, Director of the Institute for Sino-Soviet Studies, Associate Director of the Gaston Sigur Center for East Asian Studies, and Director of the East Asian Studies Program. At the time of retirement, the University awarded him Professor Emeritus status. Bill loved learning and spent his career reading, researching, traveling and educating the next generation.
At the age of 26, Bill married Norma (Owen) Johnson of Kansas, and went on to have 3 children and 1 grandchild. He enjoyed dancing, sailing, traveling, painting, and gardening.
He is survived by his wife Norma and his children, Janice Johnson, Linda (Robin) Pettit and their son Tony, and Douglas (Ann) Johnson. Bill is survived by his sister Mary Virginia Johnson of Colorado and his nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his parents, and sister Miriam.
Bill suffered from macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness, and memorial donations may be made in his honor to the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins (https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/wilmer/charitable-giving ). A celebration of life will occur at a future date.