Obituary: Rev. David Forrest Johnson, 82, formerly of Bardstown

Rev. David Forrest Johnson, 82, died during the morning hours of Wednesday, March 13, 2019. He was born in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, on June 20, 1936. He graduated from the University of Akron in 1958 with a degree in psychology. He also received a Masters of Divinity from the Chicago McCormick Theological Seminary and a Masters in Sociology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. It was during his time at McCormick Theological Seminary that he met his future wife, Polly. They met in Greek class when he turned around and smiled at Polly. After that, it was a date in downtown Chicago, a steady stream of lunch and study dates, and a marriage on July 1, 1961. Their marriage was a true partnership of love, support, activism, and dedication to family, friends, and community.

He spent most of life as a Presbyterian minister. His assignments included First Presbyterian Church in Dayton, Ohio, First Presbyterian in Hamilton, Ohio, First Presbyterian in Bardstown, and finally, Pleasant Grove Presbyterian Church in Springfield where he served for 25 years until his retirement. In addition to the ministry, he worked in the long-term care profession as the executive director of Park Vista, Ohio, Presbyterian Homes in Youngstown, Ohio, and as a development specialist for Westminster Terrace in Louisville. He also served the Commonwealth of Kentucky as a social worker for seven years.

He retired in 2005, but remained very active in his community. He remained active by attending a bi-weekly meeting of a lectionary group with other Presbyterian ministers, singing in the choir of Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church, attending a breakfast gathering every second Wednesday with a small group of friends, having breakfast with a fellow pastor every third Thursday of the month, and volunteering at special events at Bernheim Forest. In 2016, he fulfilled a long-term goal by starting a 501(c)(3) nonprofit-called Supporting Hope. Supporting Hope exists to provide practical help to nonprofit social service organizations in the developing world. He and his wife also enjoyed going to the Louisville Orchestra concerts, as well as Actors Theatre of Louisville productions. He had a great love for jazz music, which was often a great “date night” event for them. They were proud season tickets holders to the University of Louisville women’s basketball games.

He is survived by his wife, Polly Johnson; one daughter, Elizabeth “Betsy” Johnson of Lexington; two sons, Scott David Johnson (Vonnie) of Danville and Todd Andrew Johnson (Lee Margaret) of Bardstown; one sister, Ruth Syler of Sweetwater, Tenn.; one sister-in-law, Sharon Johnston of Webster City, Iowa; eight grandchildren, Noelle (Zack) Poe, Edith Johnson, Nathan Johnson, Bess Johnson, Isaac Johnson, Eve Stoltz, Mary Stoltz, and Annie Johnson; and countless nieces, nephews, and long-time friends.

A Celebration of Life is 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 19, 2019, at Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church, 142 Crescent Avenue, Louisville, followed by a reception in the Fellowship Hall. He chose cremation.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to one of David’s favorite charities, Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, www.bernheim.org; Children’s Hospital Foundation, www.nortonchildrens.com; the jazz program at the University of Louisville School of Music; Presbyterian Church Israel/ Palestine Mission Network, www.presbyterianmission.org; and Supporting Hope, www.supportinghope.net.

The Ratterman & Sons Funeral Home on Bardstown Road is in charge of arrangements.


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