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Elmore H. "Jake" Johnson

Obituary for Elmore H. "Jake" Johnson

February 17, 1923 - May 13, 2017
Manchester, New Hampshire | Age 94


Elmore "Jake" Johnson, 94, died peacefully on May 13, 2017 at The Manor at Birch Hill Terrace, after missing his wife of 68 years, Barbara Gibson Johnson, for thirteen long months since her death on April 8, 2016.

Born February 17, 1923 in Weymouth, Massachusetts, he was the son of Hugo Johnson and Anna Olson Johnson, both of whom had arrived in America from Sweden through Ellis Island and met in Quincy, Massachusetts, where both of their families had settled. With the intervention of his father's sister, Jenny, a nurse employed by the Carpenter family of Boston, Jake and his family relocated to Wolfeboro, New Hampshire in the 1930s, affording lifetime employment for his father as jack-of-all-trades for the Carpenter Estate on Lake Winnipesaukee. Jake grew up with the Carpenters' son, John, and the two of them were inseparable throughout school and in their adventures on the lake, hunting, and skiing. Jake graduated from Brewster Academy, Wolfeboro, and then enrolled at the University of New Hampshire. The United States entered World War II, and Jake left school to enlist in the U.S. Navy. He qualified for flight school, and headed to Pensacola, Florida for training. Jake's skills as a pilot resulted in his remaining stateside in Memphis, Tennessee, instructing aerobatics in advanced pilot training. Among his students were naval cadets from France, which resulted in earning his wings in the French navy. Jake's end-of-life reflections were filled with details never before revealed about his many U.S. Navy experiences and colleagues, as well as fond remembrances of his trip with Honor Flight in 2008 to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

At the end of World War II, Jake was among the GIs returning to the UNH campus, where he met his future wife, Barbara Gibson, on a blind date. They married in 1948, and Jake began his career with Public Service Company of NH, first in sales, and then assigned to regulatory staff. He was then promoted to district manager, serving first in Laconia and then in Portsmouth. Jake was active with the Exchange Club in Manchester, and the Rotary Clubs in Laconia and Portsmouth. He also served as the President of the Laconia Chamber of Commerce, as well as in many other community endeavors.

Retirement brought Jake and Barbara to North Port, Florida, where for 22 years they were active members of St. Nathaniel Episcopal Church, enjoyed golf, and forged lasting friendships. In 2006 Jake and Barbara returned to New Hampshire, settling at Birch Hill Terrace, to be closer to family. Jake's arrival in New Hampshire coincided with the opening of the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire, where he served as a docent for several years.

Jake is survived by his two daughters, Judith (Jaye) Gibson Duffy (Patrick Duffy) of Manchester, Nancy Coolidge Tortolani (Mark Tortolani) of Richmond, RI; three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren; his sisters-in-law, Patricia Gibson Baker and Joan Gibson Reid, both of California; and several nieces and nephews. In addition to losing his beloved wife, Barbara Gibson Johnson, in April 2016, he was predeceased by his sister and only sibling, Eleanor Stagg, in June 2016, and by his son, William Gibson Johnson, in October 2016.

The family is grateful to the staff of The Manor at Birch Hill Terrace and to VNA/Hospice for their loving care of Jake.

Private burial will take place at the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery, Boscawen. Lambert Funeral Home & Crematory will be assisting the family with services.
Memorial donations may be made to Birch Hill Terrace Benevolent Fund, 200 Alliance Way, Manchester, NH 03102, or VNA/Hospice of Manchester & So. NH, 1070 Holt Avenue, S-1400, Manchester, NH 03109.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • Birch Hill Terrace Benevolent Fund
    200 Alliance Way
    Manchester, NH 03102
  • VNA Home Health & Hospice Services
    1070 Holt Ave., Suite 1400
    Manchester, NH 03109

Arrangements By

Lambert Funeral Home & Crematory

1799 Elm St
Manchester, NH 03104
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