Herb entered this world on March 21, 1945, in Miles City, the son of Ernest and Alma Johnson. Herb passed away at Billings Clinic on June 14, 2014, after a short and courageous battle with cancer.
Herb graduated from Custer County High School in Miles City in 1963 and Montana State University, Bozeman, in 1968, with a degree in electrical engineering. He was recruited into Federal service by the U.S. Navy upon graduation, and spent nine years installing and testing surface missile systems aboard naval ships around the world. The Navy allowed Herb and fellow friend and co-worker Bill Rose to take a two-year leave of absence to develop and test their invention of a replacement carburetor for gasoline engines. In 1977 Herb wanted to be closer to Montana, so began a career with the Federal Aviation Administration in Bismarck, N.D. His FAA career took him to regional headquarters in Chicago for two years, then finally to Billings as Assistant Sector Manager in 1987. Herb received the nationwide Federal Energy Efficiency Award for exceptional accomplishments in 1984. He retired Jan. 3, 1997, with nearly 28 years of Federal service. He later was asked to work temporarily for the Transportation Safety Administration to provide indoctrination services to new TSA agents after 9/11.
He finally found time to really enjoy his favorite pastime — fishing. His cabin at Fort Peck Lake became his sanctuary, and he spent as much time there as possible, winter and summer. He cherished his annual month of fishing with good friend Will Suralski off the Baja peninsula of Mexico. When he wasn’t at the lake, his other passion was car restoration. He found many friendships in the Yellowstone Roaring 20’s car club with other car enthusiasts. During Herb’s lifetime, he owned over 30 vehicles.
Herb is survived by his wife of 44 years, Brenda Johnson; brothers-in-law Keith Johnson (Miles City), Randy Wilson and Steve Wilson (Dayton, Tenn.); niece Renee’ Strand (Chuck) (Miles City); nephew Jason Schieffert (Miles City); cousins Holly Kittleson (Clay) (Fort Peck), Glenda Dix (Lee) (Glasgow), Brian Wittmayer (Lynn) (Glendive). He was preceded in death by parents Alma and Ernest Johnson, and sister Phyllis Johnson (all of Miles City).
His friendships made during childhood, and through college, his work career and hobbies have lasted a lifetime. Best friends Jerry Michels, George Foster, Keith Trafton and Bob Johnson were his beloved extended family. If you knew Herb and spent time with him, you knew you were important to him. He had a tender heart and loved his four-footed “children” deeply.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society or The Salvation Army.
A celebration of life for Herb will be held at noon at the Yellowstone Roaring 20’s car clubhouse at 7400 Grand Ave., Thursday, June 19, 2014. Lunch will be served following the service.
Arrangements by Smith Funeral Chapels of Billings.