Durwood Milton Johnson died at RiverStone Hospice Home on Monday, June 2. The eldest son of Milton and Claresse (Hickman) Johnson, he was born on Jan. 13, 1932, in Havre.
He lived in New Mexico and Washington before moving to Billings in 1942. In 1950, he graduated from Billings Senior High and entered Montana State University (now University of Montana) where he joined AFROTC and Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Upon graduation with a degree in geology, he left for Houston to fulfill his ROTC responsibilities with the Air Force as a navigator with SAC. He was later stationed in Tucson, Ariz., at Moffet Air Force Base.
Honorably discharged, Durwood finished his master’s degree at U of M and began his career as a geologist for Texaco in their Lewistown office. Six months later, the office moved to Billings. In 1958, he left Texaco to become an independent geologist.
Shortly after arriving, he met the woman he would spend 52 years with, Kay Klampe. They were married in 1961 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Billings. St. Luke’s has been an ongoing part of their lives.
The next years were spent raising four children while continuing to work in the oil business he loved. Camping and skiing were favorite activities. Durwood liked to fish the Stillwater, play golf and garden. He worked out daily at the Billings Athletic Club. After he retired, he volunteered at the Billings Clinic and the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center. The best times were spent in Missoula watching Grizzly football with old friends. He was content with living in Billings, greatly due to all the friends he had made in his 70 years here. There was no place he would rather be.
In later years, he and his wife spent many happy times visiting their four children who had spread to the four winds. He is survived by his wife, Kay, and four children and families. They are Nancy and spouse Steve Theran and their two boys, Drew and Colin of Boston; Sue and spouse Tim Butzow and their two boys, Luke and Will of San Jose, Calif.; Keith Johnson and companion Joyce Song, and his children Natasha and Cole of Kalispell; Katherine and spouse Jon Bridges of Boston, and their children, Adam and Sylvie. He is also survived by his brother Reese and spouse Alberta Johnson of Edwards, Colo.; his aunt Azalea Chandler Schmer of Walla Walla, Wash.; and former daughter-in-law Kathleen Johnson.
Services will be held on Saturday, June 7, 10:30 a.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church at 119 N. 33rd St. in Billings. A light lunch will be served in adjoining Cardwell Hall after the service. Interment will be held at a later date.
Those wishing to send memorials might want to consider St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Wounded Warriors, Billings Rescue Mission or Billings Food Bank as recipients.