May 14, 1931 – July 11, 2019
Eric Lynne Johnson was born in Peabody, Massachusetts, during the height of the Depression. He was the elder of two sons born to father Eric Lynne Johnson and mother Betty Nash Johnson. A true son of the north Atlantic, Eric spent his early years juggling his love for sailing with earning money to support his extended Nash family, with whom he was very close.
Eric attended St. Mary’s High School in Lynn, Massachusetts. From there, he went to Boston College, where he majored in Economics. His work was so exemplary he was asked to stay as a teaching assistant. Instead, Eric enrolled in Harvard Business School where he obtained his MBA. At H
arvard, Eric made lifelong friends who continued to enrich his professional and personal life.
Eric spent his 26-year career as a railroad man for Southern Pacific. He started in Chicago as an office boy but was soon sent to San Francisco, where he worked in the Bureau of Transportation Costs. Eric was so capable and hardworking that he rose to chief financial officer mid-way through his distinguished career. He was described by many as their best boss and was known for his honesty, loyalty, and good humor. He had a particular talent for mentoring young people.
It was during his time at Southern Pacific that Eric met his wife, Barbara. Eric didn’t marry until later in life and described their 30-year marriage as a great gift. Eric and Barbara spent their time together traveling, enjoying part of the year in the High Sierras. Both were gracious hosts to their many friends and treasured quiet hours reading side-by-side in their Belvedere home. Eric was Barbara’s primary caregiver after her surgery for a brain tumor. Their marriage to each other was their greatest joy.
Eric was a long-time member of the San Francisco Yacht Club and Knarr sailing fleet. Eric served for many years as class secretary and one year as admiral of the fleet. He was fortunate to have a loyal crew of good friends and enjoyed many happy hours on the bay. He attended regattas in San Francisco, Norway, and Denmark and participated in many of the events given by the Knarr fleet.
During his final years, he enjoyed the company of his godchild and her children. His caregiver, Margaret, and his devoted staff were always at his side and for this, his family is grateful. All who knew him enjoyed Eric’s sunny disposition and sense of humor, which remained intact as his memory faded.
Eric’s family would like to thank his many loyal friends who shared with Eric memories of their earlier times together. A memorial mass will be offered by Bishop Ignatius Wang at a later date. Eric supported the St. Vincent School for Boys and Whistlestop in San Rafael. He also supported the Truckee Donner Railroad Society. Donations in his memory would be welcomed.