Douglas Ryland Parkinson Johnson

Doug Johnson died on Monday, November 1, 2021, at home from complications of strokes. He was born in Martinsburg, West Virginia on September 30,1942, to Elizabeth T. Parkinson and Roy H. Parkinson.  His father was MIA in Italy during WWII and presumed deceased in 1944. Doug’s mother moved the family to Salisbury, MD. She married Sanford G. Johnson and he adopted Doug and his sister, Adele. Doug grew up in Salisbury, MD during the 1950’s and loved life, the beach and dancing. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1961 and served four years. After discharge from the Air Force, he attended college where he met and married Cheryl Bornt.  He graduated from Delaware State College with a bachelor’s degree in Parks & Recreation and one in History. 

Doug and Cheryl moved to Laramie in May of 1975 where Doug began work on his master’s degree in Parks and Recreation at the University of Wyoming which he completed in 1977. Cheryl and Doug had a son named, Jeremiah, who died at the age of 3 months. In 1978, they adopted a daughter from Guatemala. Doug and Cheryl divorced in 1981.

Doug obtained his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of Wyoming. He continued volunteering at Fort Laramie National Historic Site by helping teach a living history course. Doug worked at Cathedral Home for Children where he helped establish the on-grounds school. He then became a residence hall director of White Hall and McIntyre Hall in 1985 where he found joy in working with students and staff. In 1984, Doug and Karen met again. They had initially met in 1975 while in graduate school and became friends. They subsequently lost touch until their chance meeting. They renewed their friendship and by 1985 were falling in love.

The couple moved to Delaware and married in December of 1987. Doug had hoped to teach but was able to secure an active duty recruiting position with the Army National Guard. He worked with the Delaware Army National Guard for 7 years. Karen and Doug returned to Wyoming where Doug became a recruiter for the Wyoming Army National Guard. He was a recruiter for 14 years. His gentle demeanor and honest approach made him an incredible recruiter. He retired from the military in September of 2002. After a short leave, he began working at the University of Wyoming as a Senior Office Associate and Bookkeeper for the History Department in 2004. He retired at the age of 73 years.

Doug was preceded in death by his mother, his biological father, his adoptive father, his sister, Carol Adele Johnson, and his son, Jeremiah Johnson. He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Karen Ellen Robertson of Laramie; his niece, Carol Johnson Cain of Maryland; many friends, multiple nieces and nephews, multiple in-laws, cousins, and adopted daughter, Brenda Bornt-Johnson.

Doug was the kindest, most gentle soul and his loss will be felt by many. A Celebration of Life will be held on November 13, 2021, at 1 PM at Montgomery Stryker Funeral Home in Laramie, Wyoming.      In lieu of flowers, we would appreciate donations to the Wyoming Nature Conservancy or your favorite charity.

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Condolences (17)

  • Becky Riley

    Karen, Doug will be missed by many. He was so kind and unassuming. I am better for have known him. Becky Riley

  • Barbara Powell

    A gentle soul, kind man and joyful person. He will be missed but not forgotten. Karen we love you and you are close to our hearts, especially during this time of deep loss of your loved one. The Powells: Terry, Barbara, Adam and Sarah.....

  • Anonymous

    I worked with Doug at the university and he was delight to work with and visit when he stopped in the office. So determined that everything was done right on his end. A calm and genuine soul! Nancy Courtney

  • Sharee Larsen

    Karen, So sorry for your loss. Doug was a sweet kind man. With a wonderful smile. And a great sense of humor. That's how I will remember him. He will be truly missed by so many!

  • Martha Miller

    I had the pleasure of working with Doug on campus. I always looked forward to talking with him and he always made me feel like I had been a life-long friend of his. This world needs more individuals like Doug was; kind, gentle, and appreciative of all individuals. God Bless You Doug.

  • Lucy

    Doug was a special person - kind, loving, warm. He lives on in our hearts. Our condolences to his loved ones. Rest in peace, friend.

  • Sue Woirhaye

    I worked with Doug on campus. His smile and positive attitude were a breath of fresh air. Condolences to the family.

  • Marianne Kamp

    Doug was so kind and thoughtful. I always enjoyed dropping by his office in the History Department and chatting. No matter what kind of day I was having, Doug had a smile or a word of encouragement. He would talk about running, or about his dogs, or about his beloved Karen, or about military history. Doug, I was privileged to know you.

  • Dale R. Wood

    A gentleman. Always willing to talk. He would give advice if asked. I served with him in the Wyoming Army National Guard for many years. He always had the soldier’s best interest in what ever task he was working on.

  • D Mark & Sandra Robertson

    The loss of Doug leaves a hole in the lives of all who knew him, but the time he spent with each of us brings solace. Karen’s description is absolute truth: “Doug was the kindest, most gentle soul…” There are not adequate words to convey our sense of loss, but we are comforted that Doug and Karen loved each other, were dedicated to each other completely, and that is a life well lived. Doug was an avid UW Cowboys fan, so it is appropriate to quote a cowboy for Doug, even though an excerpt: The Lord spoke to the heavy hearts that stood with hats in hand “Your sadness pains me deeply and I know you’ll miss this man But, it’s true what you’ve been hearing, Heaven is a real place.” – Baxter Black Love you Doug! Love you Karen! Mark and Sandy +++

  • Dru and Tracey Nichols

    I am so grateful to have called Doug my friend. He made me laugh and I loved his stories. I have never met a sweeter couple than you, Karen and Doug. I am regretful that I haven't been able to see Doug over the last year. I will miss seeing him walking Jasper, meandering through Walmart or just simply being able to sit and talk. His smile was beautiful and his laughter was contagious. . Karen, Dru and I are so sad, but, we know Doug is in a better place. You have been an amazing caregiver to him and I know your amazing love story will carry on. We love you! God Bless You Doug, I'm sure you've already received those angel wings.

  • Sophia Beck

    Doug was a gentle human being. We worked together for several years and became friends. Feel blessed to have known Doug.. Blessings to his family..

  • Terry Lemm

    Karen I didn’t know Doug but I know you so in my eyes that makes Doug a very special person may god be with you in this hour of grief I love you always have may god bless you always sweet cousin

  • Jerry Kyte

    Doug was such a good natured and positive person. I am glad he was there to share so many happy years with Karen. They took care of each other and made the community around them better. He loved Wyoming basketball, walking the dogs, and he was a great story teller. I am glad I got a final chance to visit with him this past summer. He was always looking for ways to help people out and solve problems, even in his final days. He will be missed.

  • Gary Chaffee

    I'm so sorry to hear of Doug's passing. I was lucky enough to meet him on a few occasions and he was always so kind - and it was obvious that he loved you, Karen. Love and light to you. x

  • Jan M ODell

    It was always such a pleasure to be involved in meetings with Doug while we were both in A&S, he kept me smiling, and usually kept me from speaking my mind to loudly. I will miss his wonderful smile and friendship.

    • Anonymous

      Deepest condolences for Karen and the family. Doug will be missed by many. I worked with Doug at UW and enjoyed that time because he was so kind and accepting. Love, hugs and prayers for Karen.


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