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May 02, 2013 7:46 am

R. Terry Johnson

(March 4, 1936 - April 2, 2013)

R. Terry Johnson said he wasn’t dying; he was just going away. On April 2, 2013, just past his 77th birthday, Terry did just that.

Terry was born March 4, 1936, and raised in Powell. The son of Robert “Bob” Johnson and Virginia Mudd Johnson, he spent his youth roaming the foothills of the Big Horn Basin with brother, Tom (Vicky) Johnson now of Boise, Idaho and sister Carol (Ron) Suckle of Traverse City, Mich.

Instead of growing up to be a Wyoming cowboy, Terry knew from an early age he wanted to be an architect and so he graduated with an architecture degree from Montana State University. Terry joined the architectural firm Page Werner & Partners in Great Falls, Mont., and became a partner at the early age of 27. He worked on notable projects including the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls and the MSU Creative Arts Complex in Bozeman, Mont. The Creative Arts Complex at MSU, Terry’s alma mater, consisted of interrelated buildings dealing with architecture, music and visual arts; ironic because Terry earned his five-year architectural program degree in the previous building on that site.

Terry started his own firm, RTJA, in Great Falls and designed many projects including Great Falls High School P.E. Facility and renovation of Paris Gibson Square. Many of Terry’s Montana projects earned AIA design awards. Terry and his family relocated to Seattle, Wash., when he was recruited by LPN Northwest. From his previous cross-type practice, Terry began specializing in LPN commercial and development projects taking him to Texas, California, New Mexico, Arizona and Washington.

Family ties brought Terry to Wenatchee, Wash., and for close to 20 years, Terry, along with the Seattle office of PKJB, have completed projects throughout the Pacific Northwest. Terry’s introduction to Wenatchee included major projects of The Performing Arts Center of Wenatchee, the CTC (Confluence Technology Center), the Wenatchee Convention Center remodel and longtime association with the Port of Chelan County.

Terry was a lifetime American Institute of Architects AIA member and had practiced for 52 years with more than 125 projects in 10 states. Recently, when asked what he did prior to his retirement, he announced “I am an architect!” proven by carrying his trusty pen in his shirt pocket ready to sketch out an idea on the always nearby “flimsy.”

Terry’s family includes his wife, Mary Lou; and blended family of daughter, Shawn (Eric) Johnson-Mudgett of Wenatchee, Wash.; sons Ty (Rochelle) of San Diego, Calif., Eric (Gail) of Pendleton, Ore., Cameron (Kerry) of San Diego, Calif., and Leigh of Portland, Ore. Terry was most proud of his Brady Bunch crew and the soon-to-be 10 grandchildren.

Sports-wise, skiing is the sport which ties the family together, while golf and squash were important sports before travel with dear friends became enjoyable for him. City planning in Great Falls and Downtown Rotary in Wenatchee were important civic involvements for Terry.

A celebration of Terry’s Life is scheduled for May 11 at 1 p.m. at the First Methodist Church in Wenatchee. Any appreciated gifts in honor of Terry would be to one of his favorite local architectural projects, The Performing Arts Center of Wenatchee or any non-profit of your choice. Terry’s favorite saying, especially to his boys upon leave-taking, was to remind them “Remember to keep your hood ornament between the fence posts!”

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