Basketball All American, Don Johnson, of Denton, Texas, passed away on April 21, 2014, at the age of 83, after a long, fierce, and courageous battle with cancer. Johnson was born September 15, 1930, in Minco, Oklahoma, to Ben and Ira Mae Johnson.
By the time he went to high school in Chickasha , Oklahoma, he was a basketball star. Johnson was inducted into the Chickasha High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009 in the first of many honors for his outstanding basketball achievement.
In the fall of 1948 Johnson arrived at what was then Oklahoma A&M College in Stillwater, Oklahoma. His basketball coach was the great Henry Iba. Freshmen were not allowed to play on the varsity team but in 1949, Don Johnson became a member of that squad.
He was a junior and key member of the 1950-51 team that advanced to the Final Four. It was Oklahoma A&M College's fourth time in seven seasons to qualify for the Final Four. During that season, he led the team with 12.1 points per game and was named first team All- Missouri Valley Conference.
As a senior, Johnson averaged 14 points per game, leading the team in scoring for a second consecutive season. He was named an All-American by the Helms Foundation which was the only organization awarding All-American status at the time. Basketball honors continued to come his way as later that year (1952) he was drafted by the Boston Celtics in the fifth round of the National Basketball Association draft. However, he chose to play for the Phillips 66ers.
After his basketball career was over, Johnson worked as a distributor for Phillips 66 in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. In 1962, he started his own oil and gas distributorship in Denton, Texas, where he resided for the next 52 years.
Don Johnson was a highly respected businessman. He was an avid golfer, fisherman, and hunter. He had an incredible sense of humor in both business and family. He was dedicated to his family and loved being surrounded by them.
The family loved to celebrate Johnson's many honors and recognitions through the years. In 2011, he was inducted into the Oklahoma State University (formerly Oklahoma A & M) Athletics Hall of Fame for the class of 2011. Johnson, along with his family, gave the lead gift to Oklahoma State to renovate the men's and women's basketball locker rooms inside Gallagher-Iba Arena which was named Gallagher Hall during his playing days.
Don Johnson is preceded in death by his mother Ira Mae Johnson, his father Ben Johnson, his brother Ben Neil Johnson, and his son Jason Johnson.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years Lois Chappel Johnson; daughter Jacquie Johnson-Bechtel and husband Gary Bechtel; son Scott Johnson; daughter in law Joanie Stout-Johnson; and three grandchildren, Alison Rigsby, Jessy Stout, and Joshua Johnson. He will be missed by many, many friends and fellow members of the Denton Elks lodge and the VFW.
There is a saying at OSU, whose colors are orange and black, that "the sun never sets without a person wearing orange doing something to bring honor to his alma mater!" Donald Wayne Johnson was the personification of this saying.
Services will be held for Don Johnson on Saturday, April 26, 2014, at 3:00 p.m. at St. David's Episcopal Church, 623, Ector Street, Denton, Texas. The service will be followed at 4:30 p.m. by a Celebration of Life at the VFW Post 2205, 909 Sunset Drive, Denton, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society or to St. David's Episcopal Church.