- Teacher - Poet - Lover of Life
David Johnson was born in McKenzie, Tennessee on March
11, 1949. He received his B.S. in mathematics (1971) and
M.S. (1974) and Ph.D. in Biophysics (1976) from Michigan
State University. After postdoctoral training at Baylor
University, he became an Assistant Professor at the
University of Cincinnati in 1978. He moved to the
Department of Medical Biochemistry at Ohio State
University as an Associate Professor in 1983 and was
promoted to Professor in 1988. David was respected as an
outstanding scientist, innovative teacher and dynamic
leader in departmental and college affairs. Also he had
a great zest for life.
David's professional life nothing was more important
than designing and executing provocative experiments.
His mind always was working on research ideas. He
published 98 scientific papers. He had established
research collaborations with scientists from around the
University and around the world. He had an undeniable
reputation for reliability. If David said that he would
do an experiment, it was always done and in a timely
manner. He possessed tremendous energy and was very
unselfish with his time and willing to share ideas with
others. He did not usually attend scientific meetings
because he did not want to be away from the laboratory
for extended periods of time. He often conducted
experiments in the laboratory side-by-side with his
students, technicians or postdoctoral fellows. He was an
excellent mentor of graduate students. But he also was
demanding. He expected his students to share his love
for good science and hard work. But he never demanded as
much from anyone as he demanded from himself.
loved to teach and was a marvelous teacher. He was as
precise and dedicated in his teaching efforts as he was
in his scientific endeavors. He and his laboratory
technicians spent literally hundreds of hours developing
novel computer animations that were utilized during his
lectures on calcium and muscle contraction. His lectures
were beloved by medical and graduate students alike.
True to form, David challenged students to think deeply
while entertaining them at the same time. His lectures
incorporated the latest knowledge and included original
scientific results where David deemed appropriate. So
impressive were these lectures that the Dean of the
College of Medicine elected to show a segment of one
lecture as an example of outstanding innovative teaching
in the College.
was a dynamic, challenging leader. He developed his
arguments with the same clear logic and data gathering
that characterized his scientific studies. He believed
deeply in rewarding excellence and the preeminence of
departments in molding the future of the College. He was
a major architect of the new School of Biomedical
Science in the College of Medicine. He personally wrote
much of the document describing the School and its goals
and ambitions. Because of the thoughtfulness that David
employed to develop his views, he was difficult to argue
against. But in his mind, logic and facts always ruled
the day. If your facts were stronger than his facts, he
accepted that and modified his view. To David, right was
right and wrong was wrong. He didn't believe that wrong
should be accepted as right for political convenience.
love of science was matched only by his zest for life
and his caring for family and friends.
He was always working around his home in the country
with its many acres of woods and stables where his wife Cynde boards horses. He could be found cutting down
trees, splitting wood or cleaning the stables, etc. An
event that exemplified David's adventuresome spirit
occurred when he Bungee jumped off a bridge over a river
in New Zealand. David had the Bungee cord adjusted so
that his head just touched the water on the jump. David
was indeed a remarkable person. We will miss him!
from an overview of David's life and work prepared by
Professor Jack A. Rall of Ohio State University -
J. DAVID JOHNSON MEMORIAL FUND
family and Ohio State University College of Medicine have established a
memorial fund to provide an annual award for outstanding
academic achievement to a student in the College:
J. David Johnson Memorial Fund
Stephen E. Tumblin, Director of Development
660 Ackerman Rd, 6th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43218
Those close to David knew him as one who often expressed
his feelings through poetry - as had his
grandfather before him.
Here are three selections that highlight both David's
zest for life and more somber reflections on life
Michigan: Funeral services for
Sarah A. "Sally" Remus, 79, of Regent Street in Niles,
were held Friday, April 2, at 2 p.m. at First Baptist
Church in Niles with the Rev. John W. Schindler of the
church and Rev. John R. Tolly of Niles officiating.
Burial was in the Silverbrook Cemetery. Mrs. Remus died
on Wednesday at 6:45 a.m. at Riveridge Manor Nursing
Home. She was born on July 26, 1924 in Lenawee County,
Michigan. In 1940, in an airplane over Bay County,
Michigan she was married to J. B. Johnson of Gleason,
Tennessee who died on March 26, 1957. In December of
1963, in Niles, she was married to Harold Remus, who
survives. Mrs. Remus was employed at the medical offices
of Dr. Scott Moore and had been a real estate agent in
Niles. She was a member of First Baptist Church and a
volunteer at Pawating Hospital Auxiliary. She was a
member of the Southwestern Association of Realtors.
Besides their own, she and her husband Harold, also
helped raise several other children in their home.
Survivors include her husband, Harold; two sons, James
H. Johnson, Ph.D, of Gainesville, Florida and Gary
Johnson, Ph.D. of Richmond Virginia; two step-children,
Gary Remus of Berrien Springs and Linda Wilson of Niles;
two grandchildren Trey and Jamie Johnson; nine
step-grandchildren, Kim, Jonathon, Matt, Steve, Josh,
Chris, Jeremy, Nate and Taylor; a brother, William T.
Ossmer of Daytona Beach, Florida; three sisters, Nancy
Anton, Barbara Taylor and Margaret Gillette, all of
Niles. She was preceded in death by her first husband,
J.B. Johnson; a son, David Johnson, Ph.D. in January of
2000; two brothers, Daniel and David Ossmer. Funeral
arrangements were handled by Halbritter Funeral Home.
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