Spotlight on Seniors

  • Mon Dec 27th, 2010 6:52am
  • Life
Top photo: Bill Johnson high school  graduation

Top photo: Bill Johnson high school graduation

“I wrote my doctoral dissertation on Rock Music in the 20th Century,” said Lopezian Bill Johnson who majored in psychotherapy at the University of California and received his Doctor of Ministry at San Anselmo Theological Seminary in 1976.

“I’d like to rework my dissertation as a book. I love the music and follow the bands. I’m most interested in the impact of rock music on the contemporary culture of youth. Since the 1500s, most music has had a 30-year life span—10 to develop, 10 for popular usage and 10 years being replaced. That is not true of rock music. It has been influential for a much longer period.” The music is the subject of many books in his extensive library.

This man of many interests was born in Seattle but graduated from high school in Bellingham in 1952 and from Western Washington University in 1956. He was introduced to his future wife, Nancy Pedersen, by a mutual friend. She needed a ride to her home in Seattle and he offered to take her.

“He had a hot car,” Nancy added. “It was a modified 1941 Buick,” Johnson said, confessing to a long time love for cars. “I bought a 1966 Mustang Coupe for family transportation. Our three kids and two foster children were quite a tribe for that little car.” Restoring Mustangs, many to award worthy status, has been an enjoyable hobby and led to leadership positions and serving as national president of the Mustang Club of America.

Johnson was president during a third term of office for the national organization when they celebrated the 40th anniversary of the “Introduction of the Mustang” held in Nashville, Tennessee. As a west coast member of the organization he helped the membership expand by 3,000 new enthusiasts. His most prestigious honor was receiving the coveted Lee Iacocca Award for achievement in excellence in automotive hobby in 2009. Three grandchildren have been the lucky recipients of his restored classic Mustangs.

Johnson was a member of the United Methodist Clergy from 1955 until retirement in 1978, with 24 years of serving churches throughout Washington. Work with youth has been a lasting interest.

His boyhood experiences with the Boy Scouts continued into work with them as an adult. From Eagle Scout to Adult Chaplain at the 1966 National Jamboree and his current position with the Mount Baker Council, Johnson credits scouting for being an impetus for his life of service. His love of camping and the outdoors extended into mountain and rock climbing and participation in mountain rescue.

During a sabbatical from the ministry, Johnson worked in sales for Crown Moving. Through his work there, he discovered a niche in the moving industry. Moving data tapes and computer departments for international businesses and organizations was an unexpected opportunity that requires unique knowledge and skills. Johnson created his own company specifically for that purpose. He founded Media Migration Services, Inc., an international computer room and data center relocation company, in 1999.

He sold the business to his son in 2004. Johnson now works for him from home. Large international businesses and organizations use the service as data centers are moved or consolidated. Johnson considers himself fortunate to participate in two lifelong loves—the church and the ability to test his creativity in business ventures. The Johnsons have been able to successfully combine their love of travel with business and their Mustang interests.

Trips to Lopez Island with youth groups grew into a love for the area for Johnson and his wife. Learning that a lot was available at Flat Point, the Johnsons bought it in 1971 with payments of $25 per month and began the ten-year construction of a pay-as-you-go cabin, doing most of the work themselves. The couple moved to the island permanently in 1999 and added a master suite to the main floor of their home. “More importantly,” according to Johnson, “we added space to the garage. It is now a home for our five Mustangs.”

Locally, Johnson has joined the Yacht Club and the Lion’s Club. He is restoring a Ford Bronco. A recent passion is genealogy and an understanding of family. “Love it, love it, love it,” said the enthusiastic Johnson about that interest. “I am fascinated by writing and am currently writing a genealogy.” He recently discovered that his grandfather was a pioneer on Fir Island near Mt. Vernon. “He moved there in 1889. It’s hard to imagine how difficult life was then. They had to deal with continual floods and demanding seasonal changes, all with limited resources.”

As concluding words, Johnson said, “Love life and remember we’re here to serve humanity, not take from it. Thank God for Jesus and our ability to be called to live that kind of life. That is the great joy.”