Darrell Dean “Bud” Johnson
Formerly of Rawlins, Wyoming, Bud passed peacefully while surrounded by loving family on February 16, 2019 in Billings, Montana.
Born July 6, 1928 to Lee and Blanche (McGee) Johnson in Sunset, Texas, Bud was the second of four children. His siblings included older sister Jimmie and younger sister Virginia “Nancy” along with baby brother Jerry.
Bud quit High School to join the US Army just in time to be deployed to Japan as part of our occupation forces. Shortly after his discharge from the Army in 1947, Bud married his soul mate, Doris Marie Stewart. They raised three children, Gloria, born in 1951 and twin boys, Darrell and Carroll “Wade”, born in 1955. Bud and Doris remained in love, and still held hands in the car, until Doris’s death from cancer in 1976.
After Doris’s death, Bud was blessed to find another special woman; Shirlee Ann. Shirlee brought a son, James, to the marriage and remained Bud’s best friend, travel companion and fishing partner for 28 years until her death from cancer in 2006. Shirlee’s calming effect on Bud’s high strung nature was appreciated by all, especially Bud.
Bud’s high intelligence far outweighed his lack of college education. He was a Millwright by trade and his working carrier found him in high demand in the heavy industrial construction business. Bud was a Cold Warrior, overseeing the construction of Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile sites throughout the western USA, including missile wings at Minot, North Dakota - Cheyenne, Wyoming - Rapid City, South Dakota - and Roswell, New Mexico. Once he had built enough missile sites to fend off the Russians, he turned his efforts to building massive electric power plants. Bud joined forces with a couple partners to start a company called Western Power Service in the early 1970’s. They are responsible for installing the huge power generators and steam turbines at the Jim Bridger Power Plant near Rock Springs, Wyoming, the Coal Strip Power Plant in Montana, and the massive power plant at Delta Utah. They also rebuilt the power units at dozens of other facilities.
Bud was a brutally loyal person, and those who filtered through his circle throughout his life were brutally loyal to him. As kids growing up in Bud’s shadow, his children continually crossed paths with accomplished people who would sit them down and tell stories of admiration for Bud Johnson. Bud was one of those people others' immediately realized, was not to be taken lightly. His children knew him more as “Dad”. Bud possessed an amazing sense of humor complete with a good natured ornery streak. He never required himself to see the look on someone’s face when he pulled a practical joke on them. He got a much bigger kick out of imagining the look on their face two days later when they figured out something had happened to them. A good natured ornery streak!
Even as Bud’s battle with dementia progressed, he never lost his willingness to speak a kind word, or supply a gentle, caring touch. His sense of loyalty to those closest to him never dimmed. On February 16, 2019, Bud realized it was time to move on to be with our Lord and to reunite with Doris and Shirlee.
Darrell Dean Johnson is preceded in death by his parents; wives Doris and Shirlee; step-son James; and sisters Jimmie and Nancy.
He is survived by his brother Jerry of Albuquerque, New Mexico; children Gloria (Don Brown) of Rock Springs, Wyoming, Darrell of Billings, and Wade (Dianne) of Billings. He is also survived by eight grandchildren and seventeen great-grandchildren.