Claire D. Johnson died Monday, June 6, in Pasadena, California, at the age of 90. He was born to the late Carl and Mamie Johnson in Tilden, Nebraska on November 28, 1931. Thus began his life’s adventure.
In 1959, Claire Johnson and Charlene Anthony got married in Sidney, Nebraska. They became a wonderful team, and 63 years later, were still as in love as when they first met.
A resident of Southern California for over 60 years, Claire never gave up his midwestern values and sensibilities. He loved the simple things in life and his joy came from his faith and the gifts of family and friends. He was an extraordinarily loving and dedicated husband to Charlene and father to CJ (Cathy) and Carrie.
Claire attended the University of Nebraska and graduated in 1954. He next attended law school at the University of Nebraska’s College of Law and after two years, was called to serve his country. He served in the army as 1st lieutenant during the Korean War and was there appointed trial counsel. He tried over 70 court martial cases. After that, he returned to law school in Nebraska and graduated with honors. Claire was a member of Phi Delta Phi honor society, Moot Court, the Nebraska Law Review and Order of the Coif.
After graduating, Claire became a teaching associate at the University of Nebraska Law College. He later was hired as an associate at Healey, Wilson, and Barlow Law Firm in Lincoln. But it was not too long after that newlyweds Claire and Charlene were suddenly propelled into an exciting journey to California, and they never looked back. Claire was hired by the law firm of Swanwick, Donnley, and Proudfit in 1961. Within a few years, he made partner at this firm, which later changed its name to Donnley, Clark, Chase, and Johnson.
He eventually joined another law firm, Parker, Milliken, Clark, O’Hara, and Samuelian in the 1970s, became partner, and remained there until his retirement. In the end, Claire had practiced law for more than 60 years. A respected corporate litigator, he was a member of the Nebraska State Bar, California State Bar and American College of Trial Attorneys, and will also be remembered for his successful precedent-setting case he won for United California Bank regarding bank related credit insurance.
Claire was a very active man who was a life-long Cornhusker super-fan. He loved Nebraska football, hunting, waterskiing and even played minor league baseball for the Baltimore Orioles. He enjoyed being involved in community groups that helped make a difference, such as the San Marino City Club, of which he served as president. He also served as president of the Californians for Nebraska and was a member of the University of Nebraska’s Foundation Board.
His greatest loves were his faith, family, and friends. He was a selfless, generous, and godly man, who was always available to help others, while being the most loyal of friends to those who knew him. Claire touched many lives with his humor, kindness and humility. We will miss him greatly but take tremendous peace in knowing that he is now in the good hands of his Lord and Savior.
Due to the challenging times, a private family service has taken place. Memorial donations can be made to the Claire D. Johnson Scholarship Fund College of Law (University of Nebraska Foundation 1010 Lincoln Mall, Suite 300, Lincoln NE, 68501) or to Villa Esperanza Services (2116 E. Villa St., Pasadena, CA 91107).