Dr. Ray Alan Johnson

Class of 1958

1958 Maroon SpotlightRay Johnson
Ray Johnson

Class President 55-56; All School Revue 55-56; 57-58; Boys’ State 57-58; Homeroom President 55-56; Football 55-58; Teen Town Council 56-58; Teen Town Mayor 57-58; Football Co-Captain 57-58; Wrestling 55-58; Junior Rotarian 57-58; Senior Play 57-58; 2nd Team All Conference Football 57-58; Assemblies 55-56, 57-58.

Dr. Ray Alan Johnson

October, 1941 – January 3, 2023

A beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and mentor, Dr. Ray Johnson of Oro Valley, Arizona, passed away on January 3, 2023, at the age of 82.

He was born and raised in Perry Oklahoma, to Hortense and Leo Johnson, the middle son of three siblings. He was a 1958 Perry High graduate. During high school, Ray played football, wrestled, was an Eagle Scout, and attended the First Christian Church. While at the University of Oklahoma, Ray earned recognition as a national wrestling champion.

Ray began his teaching career as a middle school teacher and coach in Colorado, and then continued his studies, first at Stanford University and then the University of Massachusetts where he received his doctorate in education. Ray and LaNelma were active members of the Baha’i Faith and in 1971 they moved their young family (children ages 3, 5, and 7) to India where he began serving as the principal of the New Era Baha’i School, which was set 200 miles south of Mumbai, India.

Following their 12-year stay in India, Ray (always with LaNelma) has done the following: served as the founding Head of the Maxwell International School; a professor at Fort Hays State University; and Head of the Townshend International School in the Czech Republic. Ray has often been recognized as an innovator and leader in distance and online education. After his retirement Ray and LaNelma continued to travel the world, teaching and serving wherever they went. A great lover of nature, Ray was an avid photographer and filled albums with the beauty of life and the nature around him. His woodworking left us with beautiful lamps and fine carpentry, as well as many other crafts. He sought to raise up everyone regardless of their background through his shining example and unselfish aim for the betterment of society. He loved his family, friends, students, and life.

Ray leaves behind his wife of 62 years, LaNelma (who was his high school sweetheart), his brother Robert, his children, LaRae, Craig and Kirk, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Ray’s life was characterized with kindheartedness, sense of duty, acceptance, and intellectual talent and creativity. In remembrance of Ray, please continue with your service to humanity and especially the education of the children of the world.