In Memoriam: Judge Charles A. Johnson

Charles A. Johnson, retired judge of the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, died over the weekend, Presiding Judge Scott Rowland announced on Monday. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Judge Johnson graduated from Ponca City High School. He received a B.A. degree from the University of Oklahoma and his L.L.B. from the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

After release from active duty with the United States Air Force, Judge Johnson began his practice of law in Pawhuska, later moving to Ponca City where he started a solo law practice. He was a senior partner with the firm of Phipps, Johnson, Holmes & Hermanson, which became Johnson & Hermanson before he returned to solo practice with the Johnson Law Firm.

In November 1989, then-Governor Henry Bellmon appointed Charles Johnson to a vacancy on the Court of Criminal Appeals created by the retirement of Judge Bussey. During his 25 years of judicial service in Judicial District No. 2, Judge Johnson served three terms as Presiding Judge on the state’s court of last resort for criminal cases.

Judge Johnson served his church, his community, and the legal profession throughout his life. He was president of the Kay County Bar Association in 1971-1972, was selected as one of three Outstanding Young Oklahomans honored by the Oklahoma Junior Chamber of Commerce and served as a member and chairman of the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. He was an Elder and Sunday School teacher in his church for many years and an active member of the Oklahoma and American Bar Associations, together with the Oklahoma Trial Lawyers Association. He contributed his time to the YMCA, Kay County Guidance Association, Boy Scouts, United Fund, and various civic organizations.

He was active in the United States Air Force and the Reserve component of the Air Force, where he retired as Colonel, USAFR, and received the Distinguished Service Medal and the Legion of Merit. In 1993, the Oklahoma Trial Lawyers Association named Judge Johnson as the Outstanding Appellate Judge of the year.

Judge Johnson is survived by his wife, Jan Grant-Johnson; daughter, Jill Brennan; and step-son, Edward Grant and his wife, Jacquelyn Grant. He is also survived by many grandchildren, dear friends, and colleagues. He was preceded in death by his son, Michael Downing Johnson, and step-sons, Monte Lee Grant and Ray Dean (Bubba) Grant