In Memoriam: Raymond Johnson, Pioneer in Asian Development
San Francisco, July 6, 2007 — Ray Johnson, one of the first Country Representatives of The Asia Foundation, died on July 6, 2007 in Ashland, Oregon at age 89. Ray joined the San Francisco-based Asia Foundation in 1954. The Foundation’s focus was on Asian nations’ social and economic development aspirations. Ray was in the forefront of this pioneer work in supplying private aid in response to Asian-identified needs. He became one of the Foundation’s most versatile Representatives, as he served in turn in: the Philippines in 1952-54 and again in 1964-67, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), Afghanistan, Vietnam and Indonesia. He was highly regarded by a broad range of people in Asia: from government ministers and technocrats to education administrators and students, even by country villagers. He retired in 1980.
Born and reared in Beverly, MA, Ray served in WWII in Europe in General Patton’s 20th Corps headquarters, and was awarded the Bronze star. Following the war he earned an A. B. from Harvard and an M. A. in journalism from Northwestern University. He was married to Eva Maria Christensen in 1946. Following her death in 1993 he married Sarah Nishball in 1996. In addition to his wife, he leaves behind his children from the first marriage: son Kirk and daughter Trina Johnson, both of Cobb, CA; son Erik and daughter-in-law Christine of Kingston, WA; granddaughters Andrea Dolan and Nicole Daley, and three great grandchildren.
A celebration of Ray’s life will be held on September 8 at 3:00 p.m. at the Mountain Meadows Club House, 855 Mountain Meadows Drive, Ashland, OR. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be given in Ray’s memory to the L. Z. Yuan Fellowship in Media & International Affairs at The Asia Foundation, Attn. Susan Joachim, P.O. Box 193223, San Francisco, CA 94119.
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