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David Wesley Johnson | News, Sports, Jobs – The Adirondack Daily Enterprise


David Wesley Johnson, of Tupper Lake, passed away on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. He is survived by his wife, Beth Nichols Johnson; his brother, Tony Johnson and wife Beth Kiley Johnson; along with his children and stepchildren: Marco Johnson and his wife Anne Magnan, Paul Johnson and his wife Marilyn, Susan Johnson, Derek Gagnier and his wife Lara Marshall, and Kirk Gagnier and his wife Debby. He also leaves behind many dearly loved grandchildren and great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. David was predeceased by his father, Hugh B. Johnson, mother Ida, and his older brother, Hugh Johnson.

David spent summers in his youth at the family camp on Raquette River Drive in Tupper Lake, where he, siblings and friends slept in tents on the hills behind. He always loved Tupper Lake and was well known for many episodes as a teenager: At age 14, he and cousin Charlie Emmons canoed from Old Forge to Tupper Lake, enduring mosquitos, long portages and hot summer nights in their tent. In later years he and friends got their long-regretted tattoos at the local carnival, and once, they were caught by their fathers in a pool hall. Such events dearly tried his mother’s patience.

Always a lover of music, he was a proficient pianist in his youth and a member of the Washington-Lee high school chorus in Arlington, Virginia. The chorus performed at Harry Truman’s inaugural party, and a photo was taken of the chorus with Lena Horne. As an undergraduate at The University of Rochester, he was social chair of his fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon (Deke), and he once persuaded Dave Brubeck to perform all night at the frat house after a local gig.

David graduated from University of Rochester in 1954, and married Maureen Lee, of Rochester. Following two years in the U.S. Army, he entered Columbia Law School. He practiced law in New York City for 16 years, and after many summer vacations, and ski trips in winter, David moved with his family to Tupper Lake permanently in the early 1970s.

During his years practicing law in Tupper Lake, he was well known for his compassion, sense of humor, and judgment-free manner, expressed on the job and throughout his life. His work ethic was second to none, and his caring ways led him to do a great deal of pro bono work for a great many people and organizations. He was a law guardian for unfortunate young people, always generous with his time. He accepted everything from a raspberry pie to a load of wood in lieu of a fee at times.

He and his wife Beth were married in 1983. During their time together, they filled their lives with music, art and their love for travel. David shared his love and knowledge of jazz with friends and family. He enjoyed singing in the Adirondack Chorus. He was also an avid stamp collector.

David and Beth traveled extensively over the years. An avid athlete, he enjoyed snow skiing, water skiing, hiking and bicycling. He founded the Tupper Lake Kite Flying and Water Ski Club and brought the sport of flying huge kites behind motorboats to the lakes and ponds of Tupper Lake. Friends and acquaintances will remember the kiting competitions held on Raquette Pond in the 1970s. He loved teaching kids how to water ski, and many adults fondly remember those sessions from their childhood.

During his professional career in Tupper Lake, he served on the boards of a great many organizations: the Tupper Lake Chapter of the American Red Cross, Franklin County Children’s Legal Services, Franklin County Bar Association, North Country Community College, Tupper Lake Chamber of Commerce, High Peaks Hospice, Inc., Franklin County Arts Council, Lake Placid Center for the Arts and Adirondack Community Trust. He was a longtime member of the Tupper Lake Lions Club. He was attorney for the town of Tupper Lake and the town of Piercefield for many years.

Possibly his most treasured position was as a founding member of the board of the Wild Center (Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks). He delighted in each step of the lengthy process of building that great facility in Tupper Lake.

During the last few years, when David was ailing, he lived at Neighborhood House in Keene Valley. The superb facility boasts a most caring and dedicated staff. He was lovingly spoiled by the employees and relished in dessert every day for lunch and dinner.

No funeral is planned. A celebration of his life will take place at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake on May 21 at 5:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Wild Center, Neighborhood House, or to Elizabethtown Hospital.

Online condolences may be made to: www.fraryfuneralhome.com.





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