Northcrest Community

Howard Johnson

Howard Johnson

Howard Paul Johnson (95) of Ames, Iowa ceased tenure on this good earth on Sunday December 9th, 2018. 

He was born on a farm in Sac County, Iowa to Gust and Ruth Johnson on January 27, 1923. He attended country school and graduated as Salutatorian from Odebolt High School. After employment with his father and as a farm hand with neighbors, he was drafted into the Army during WWII. He entered the service January 1943 with the armored forces. Later while attached to a vehicle maintenance school, he was assigned to the Army Specialized Training Program. When the ASTP program closed, he was transferred to the artillery in the 69th Infantry Division where he served in the European Theater from the end of the Bulge, across Germany to contact the Russian Army at the Elbe River.

After discharge from the Army in January 1946, he began studies at Iowa State College in March 1946. With the aid of the GI Bill he completed the BS and MS degrees in engineering. He was ever grateful for the support of Congress and taxpayers who enabled veterans to attend college. He completed an MS degree in hydraulics at the University of Iowa in 1954 and was awarded the PhD jointly with Civil Engineering (Soil Mechanics) and Agricultural Engineering, soil and water resources in 1959. While in undergraduate and graduate school, he was elected to six academic honories including Phi Kappa Phi, Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Xi.

In June 1952 Howard and Patricia Larson were married. They were blessed with three children, Cynthia Jean, Lynette Ann and Malcolm Paul by 1959.

In 1960 Howard began a career with the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department at Iowa State University after several years as a research associate. His teaching and research responsibilities related to soil conservation, agricultural hydrology, computer modeling and, with peers, the transport of sediment and degradation of chemicals in the agricultural environment. Howard served on the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ASABE) as Technical Council Director, Soil and Water Division and was Chairman of the Soil and Water Division Steering Committee. He served as Chairman of the ASABE of the Committee on Graduate Instruction. He received the Hancor Soil and Water Engineering Award for Advancing the Science of Agricultural Hydrology in 1978 and The John Deere Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement in the Application of Science and Art to the Soil after retirement. He was elected to Who's Who in Engineering by the Engineer's Joint Council in 1977. Howard was named Acting Head of the ASABE Department in 1980 and Department Head in 1981. In 1983 the faculty of the College of Agriculture elected him to Gamma Sigma Delta, an Award of Merit for Distinguished Service to Agriculture. In 1986 he was selected as Anson Martson Distinguished Professor of Engineering. He was pleased to receive the associated plaque signed by President Robert Parks. In 1973 Howard was named Fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. In 1988 he was elected to Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science. With the aid of peers, he compiled the history of the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department in Agricultural Engineering Century: Iowa State University, which was published in 2005.

Howard was a member of the Ames Rotary and the First Baptist Church for which he served several capacities. He served as chair of Abbie Sawyer PTO.

Howard's interest in the environment encouraged family camping across Canada and Western United States. Fishing, canoeing and hiking involved vacation time. He developed an interest in photography, especially of nature. He was Chair of the Ames Camera Club in 1994. He was a member of the Ink Spots Writers, an Ames Library group. He was also a member of Northcrest Writers. He composed three poetry chapter books and published poetry for many years in Lyrical Iowa, annual book of the Iowa Poetry Association. His prose essays related primarily to family recollections, WWII memories and economics. He wrote the genealogy of both sides of his family, his father an immigrant, his mother a first-generation citizen. 

In retirement Howard enjoyed foreign travels, hobbies, reading and investment and bridge club.

Howard is survived by his wife Patricia, their three children Cynthia, Lynette and Malcolm, his siblings Elaine, Virginia, Helen and Wayne, and grandchildren Erica, Kristen, Benjamin and Drew.

In lieu of flowers we invite you to contribute to a Memorial Fund in Howard's honor benefiting Iowa State University and the First Baptist Church of Ames. Memorial gifts may also be directed to Northcrest Community.

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