In memory of
Johnson, Don 88 Nov. 12, 1926 Feb. 10, 2015 Don was born Nov. 12, 1926, in Portland, to Gus and Judith (Burklund) Johnson. He attended Kennedy Elementary School and Jefferson High School. At Jefferson, he excelled as a pitcher on Lindsay Campbell's baseball teams, attracting the attention of major league scouts and was signed by the New York Yankees in 1943. WWII interrupted Don's early baseball career. He served two years in the U.S. Army and had the good fortune of playing with other professional ballplayers for the undefeated Ft. Lewis Warriors. At the age of 20, Don made his major league debut with the 1947 Yankees, going the distance against the Philadelphia Athletics in a 10 inning 3-2 victory. This great Yankee team, led by Joe Dimaggio, went on to win the American League pennant and World Series. Don's professional baseball career spanned 16 years with the Yankees, Chicago White Sox, Washington Senators, Baltimore Orioles and San Francisco Giants. He also pitched for Toronto in the International League, where he led the league in ERA and strikeouts and in 1957, was named the league's MVP. In 2010, he was honored at an Old-Timers Day at the new Yankee Stadium and featured in an article in the New York Times. On the home front, Don was inducted into the PIL Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006. In July of 2013, he was honored where he grew up, at the old Kennedy School with an evening that featured an interview and stories with Don, photos projected on a big screen and an opportunity for parents and kids to meet the star of the show and get his autograph. His first marriage to his high school sweetheart and mother of his children, Betty Duncan, ended in divorce. He is survived by his wife, Karen Morgan-Johnson; sons, Steve (Oh Nim) and Don Jr.; daughter, Lori Grennan; grandson, Keith Grennan (Kristi); and great-granddaughter, Kallie. Donations may be made to the animal shelter of your choice. A memorial gathering will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, 2015, at Kennedy School, 5736 N.E. 33rd Ave., Portland. All are welcome! Don's complete obituary may be accessed at: www.rose cityfuneralhome.com .
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