Ronald Nils Johnson was born in New York City on January 9, 1941, to Nils and Julia (Jansen) Johnson, immigrants from the Åland Islands, Finland. Ron grew up in the South Bronx near Yankee Stadium and was a lifelong Yankee fan. Despite growing up in the Bronx, he loved the outdoors. He was an avid fly fisher, hiker, telemark skier, and surfer.
His love of the outdoors and interest in forestry brought him to Utah State University, where he earned a BS in Economics and a minor in forestry. He served in the US Navy and also as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala. Then Ron’s interest in economics and natural resources led him to the University of Washington, where he earned a PhD in economics.
He became a professor at Montana State University, where he enjoyed teaching and doing academic research for twenty years. Many of his published papers dealt with natural resource issues. It was also at MSU that he met Cel, his wife and traveling companion of 30 years.
Ron retired from MSU in 2000 and moved with Cel to San Diego. He continued to teach for a few years but spent much of his time surfing and traveling around Mexico and Central America with Cel. They moved to Vero Beach, Florida in 2013, where Ron enjoyed spending time in the ocean and on the beach—and continued to travel frequently through Latin America and Europe.
He is survived by his wife Celia Johnson, Vero Beach, FL and sister June DeVaris, Briarcliff Manor, NY. Memorials may be made to VNA Hospice House, https://vnatc.org/waystogive/memorials-and-honorariums/; Property and Environment Research Center, https://www.perc.org/donate/; or a charity of your choice.
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