Edward Reeves Johnson, 86, of Vero Beach, FL, passed away on June 17, 2022 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Ed was born on December 15, 1935 to John and Victoria Johnson in Wyckoff, NJ. Known as Teddy growing up he was an avid scout achieving the honor of Eagle Scout. After graduating from Ramsey High School in 1953, he went on to study Business Management at Farleigh Dickinson University. Ed served in the Army Reserves from 1957-1963. He also earned his pilot’s license in 1957.
Ed began his career selling Pontiacs, then in 1958 he joined a Renault Distributor as Warranty Claims Manager in the northeast. This led to a twenty-year career in the imported car business. In 1960 Ed moved to Chicago and worked as District Manager of a five-state distributor for British Motor Corp. His next step was to Toyota working in dealer development. Ed became Sales Vice President of MidSouthern Toyota Distributors where he recruited the original 150 dealers in fourteen states. Following this Ed was the owner of a Toyota dealership in Glen Ellen, IL. for four-years.
Ed’s love of cars both new and old became a lifetime interest. He acquired a collection of antique cars and was a member of the Pierce Arrow Society, Metropolitan Car Club of America, CCCA, VMCC, as well as the Indian River chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America. Ed showed his cars at the Amelia Island and Burn Foundation Concours de Elegance.
In 1975 Ed began a new career in the welding products and industrial gas industry. He relocated to Long Beach, CA as a Regional Manager with Airco/British Oxygen Corp ultimately becoming Marketing Vice President of the Welding Products Division in Murray Hill, NJ. Ed left Airco in 1983 and formed several related businesses after moving to El Paso, TX and ultimately founded TriGas Industrial Gases, Inc in Dallas, TX. During this time his daughter, Victoria was born in 1981, with then wife Robin.
After retiring in 1993, Ed moved to Vero Beach, FL, where he developed a love for boating, keeping his cruiser in the Bahamas where his ashes will be spread. He also took up golf, playing with the men’s weekly group and “duffing” on weekends. Not only did Ed serve on key committees with the Indian River Hospital Foundation, bringing the Boston Pops to Vero Beach twice, he was a board member of the Hibiscus Children’s Center. Ed extended his philanthropy to many other agencies including United Against Poverty and the Vero Beach Opera Society as he was an avid opera aficionado.
Ed lived life to the fullest. He was noted for his contagious sense of humor and often said his life had been a “wild ride”. He was a devoted husband and father and his long-awaited granddaughter Riley was the apple of his eye. Ed and Gina were together for 15 years and often described their marriage as “third time’s a charm”. A dear friend recently described Ed saying “he never walked into roomful of dull people and left it that way…he was dedicated to making people happy”.
Ed was predeceased by his parents, John and Victoria, and brother, Robert Ebersbach. He is survived by his wife; Mary Regina ‘Gina’, daughter; Victoria, son-in-law Jason Leet, and granddaughter Riley. Also by his sisters; Joy Garde and Joanne Ebersbach and brother Jim Ebersbach, as well as multiple nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Life will be planned for a later date. In honor of Ed, donations may be made to the Vero Beach Opera Society at PO BOX 6912, Vero Beach, FL 32961
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