John Francis Johnson

Navy veteran, Genrad manager, active volunteer

John Johnson. (Courtesy photo)

John Francis Johnson, 76, of Harvard, died Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, surrounded by his loving family. He was the beloved husband of 51 years of Diana M. (Piekos) Johnson.

John was born Oct. 20, 1943, in Philipsburg, Pennsylvania, son of Burton and Helen (Southard) Johnson. He graduated from Philipsburg-Osceola High School in 1961. John enlisted in the United States Navy and proudly served his country on the USS John R. Pierce from 1961 to 1964. He achieved the rank of radarman class A in 1962 and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.

In the years following his naval service, John began a career as an electronics manufacturing systems manager for Genrad in Concord. He attended Allegheny Technical Institute, earning an electronics technician certificate in 1967. John and Diana met through mutual friends while working in the Washington, D.C., area. They were married Sept. 7, 1968, at Our Lady of the Rosary in Springfield.

John lived a full and wonderful life. He enjoyed reading, singing, biking, carpentry, comic books, and attending Bible study. Faith and family were the center of John’s life. He served for many years as lector at St. Theresa’s of the Little Flower in Harvard. Often volunteering in Worcester at the Mustard Seed Catholic soup kitchen or the Urban Missionaries of Our Lady of Hope, he was an active member of the community. From 1993 until 2003, John worked as a postal carrier for the U.S. Postal Service in Acton.

A devoted husband and father, John cherished time spent with his family. He was a great friend and will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

Along with his wife, John is survived by his seven children: Kelley Malin and her husband, Bill, of Reading, Pennsylvania; Jennifer Carrara and her husband, Christian, and their children, Allie, Ben, and Sam, all of Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Elizabeth Brown and her husband, Eric, and their children, Jeremy and Malcolm, of Harvard; Joseph of Brookline; Daniel Johnson of Brookline; Catherine Johnson of Bolton; Zachary and his wife, Jenya, and their children, Olivia and Madelyn, of Quantico, Virginia. He was predeceased by his son-in-law, Sean Elliott, of Bolton.

John is also survived by his siblings: Julie (Johnson) Linn and her husband, Rick, of Vineland, New Jersey; Mark Johnson of Santa Rosa, California; and David Johnson and his wife, Lauré, of Sunbury, Pennsylvania.

Friends and family gathered to honor John on Sunday, Nov. 3, at the Badger Funeral Home in Littleton. His funeral Mass was celebrated Monday, Nov. 4, at Saint Francis Xavier Parish in Bolton. John was laid to rest with military honors following the Mass at the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Winchendon.

Donations in John’s memory may be made to Massachusetts Audubon Society, 208 South Great Road, Lincoln, MA 01773, www.massaud; or to Urban Missionaries of Our Lady of Hope, 242 Canterbury St., Worcester, MA 01603,


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