Santa Paula Times

Wayne Johnson: Former Mayor, Planning Commissioner dies at 62

June 07, 2003
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesThe flags at City Hall were flown at half-mast when it was learned that former Mayor Wayne Johnson, who served the community on the Planning Commission, City Council and through service clubs and organizations, had passed away Thursday, May 29, 2003 after a sudden illness.Johnson was 62 years old at the time of his death.Born in Culver City and a resident of Santa Paula since about 1960, Johnson’s interest in community service - he served eight years as Chairman of the Santa Paula Housing Authority - included terms on the city’s Planning Commission and City Council.“Wayne just always loved,” community involvement, said his wife of 29 years, Glenda Johnson. “Wayne had always been a public speaker and was always involved in politics and the community.”And, she added, “He just loved Santa Paula. . .”“It’s a big loss to us. . .we were like sister and brother; he’d do anything for me. He loved to cook and would chop up the giblets tinny tiny for me so I wouldn’t see them,” said Nancy Harringer of the friendship she and her husband Alan had with the Johnsons.“Wayne loved the holidays, especially Christmas. . .he was always good at decorating,” and the holidays provided him the opportunity to decorate.Harringer said the Johnsons “were always there to help. . .they were always there to share; it’s a loss.”
Harringer, the City of Santa Paula’s executive assistant, first met Wayne Johnson when he joined the City Council, so “we’ve been friends since 1990. He was very proud,” of his service on the Planning Commission and City Council and their accomplishments.Johnson had a long career in management and sales with the Automobile Club of California, retiring after 33 years in 1995.Johnson served on the city’s Planning Commission for numerous terms, including year-long stints as Chairman five times. Following his Planning Commission duty, Johnson decided to run for City Council in 1990 and was easily elected. He served one term on the council and acted as Mayor, the post he held when he lost his bid for a second term.The present President of the Santa Paula Lion’s Club, Johnson had served as president four times previously and was deeply involved in all club programs.He also served the club organization as past Zone and Regional chairman. A member of the Santa Paula-Fillmore Masonic Lodge, Johnson and Glenda were heavily involved in the United Methodist Church where he was the present United Methodist Church Council Chairman.Johnson’s last public statement in 1994 as a councilman and Mayor noted that “it was an honor and pleasure serving the community.”A memorial service is pending.