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Santa Barbara News-Press : JOHNSON, Ron


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February 20, 2013 5:42 AM

Born in Wolverhampton, England on September 6, 1927, Ron Johnson lived an extraordinary life.

His early years, during the depression, were like a Charles Dickens' novel, where the kids had to work. At seventeen, Ron became an indentured apprentice jockey for the stables of Buckingham Palace. In 1944, he was called into the British army to serve during World War II. After the war, Ron became an agent for the British Blood Stock Agency and in 1956 after marrying Valerie Hadley, came to America to be a Steeplechase Jockey trainer.

The couple landed in Philadelphia where their first child Richard was born. In the early 60s, the family headed west for opportunities at the Southern California racetracks. After years on the track Ron went into the booming new home construction business, building precast fireplaces with a company called Rampart General and the family grew with the addition of daughter Elizabeth.

The marriage to Valerie ended in the early 70s. At this time Ron developed his singing career and remarried several years later to Joanne Stoddard. Ron and Joanne worked together at Rampart for many years traveled back to England and around the US and finally retired in Carpinteria California where they lived happily for several decdes. Ron developed his acting skills and played in shows like "Me and My Gal" at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara as well other entertaining venues via his "RJ the DJ" business where he sang with good friend Dorothy Kelly.

In 2007, Ron was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. As a result, Ron's health significantly declined and on Tuesday, February 5, 2013, he passed away. Ron was known for singing to the checkers at the grocery store, a hearty handshake, helping a neighbor in need and sharing a joyful smile with the words, "have a lovely day, Yank!". Ron is survived by his beloved wife, Joanne, his devoted son Richard, adoring daughter Elizabeth, and good friends like Dorothy Kelly and the Cuellars.


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