Stanley Curtis Johnson was born in Geneseo, IL on November 13th, 1928, to Raymond and Mary Andrews Johnson. ‘Curt’, as he was nicknamed, probably did not attend high school. He is noted as having worked for Iowa-Illinois Gas and Electric before his enlistment in the Navy during World War II. Since he would have needed to be 17 years old minimum to enlist with parental consent, and he turned 17 in 1945 near the close of the war, it is likely that he worked to support his family at Iowa-Illinois Gas and Electric during his teenage years rather than attending high school. Since much of his childhood was set in the backdrop of the Great Depression, subsistence money may have been a priority over education for the Johnsons. Johnson’s enlistment at 17 years old perhaps indicates that the young man was planning to make a career for himself in the military.
After his service in the Second World War, Johnson continued to serve in the military. In 1950 he transferred to the Marine Corps, where he would serve through the Korean War, Vietnam War, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. During his service in the Marine Corps, Johnson achieved the rank of Gunnery Sergeant, which put him squarely in the heat of the fighting of these wars;
During company operations the company Gunnery sergeant coordinates weapons and indirect fire, manages firepower logistics, and works with the Company Commander on logistics and company operations strategy. Promotion to Gunnery Sergeant requires a great deal of leadership skill and an excellent command of specialized knowledge of weapons systems and combat logistics.
Johnson’s achievement of this rank indicates that he was capable of keeping a cool head during the heat of battle, amidst the whizz of bullets and explosions of shells, where he was able to remain calm and guide his fellow Marines through the chaos of combat. This conduct speaks to Johnson’s courage and competency as a member of the United States armed forces.
Johnson retired from the Marine Corps in 1973, after twenty-eight years of service to his country. He was married twice during his life, marrying his second wife Nadine Jump in 1956; The two enjoyed fifty-three years of marriage. After his retirement from the Marine Corps, Johnson worked for the Des Moines, IA Metropolitan Transit Authority as superintendent of transportation. In this civilian role Johnson continued to serve his fellow citizens by helping to provide them with public transportation. He later worked for John Ruan in Des Moines as a loss-prevention engineer until his retirement in 1991. After his retirement, he and Nadine moved back to the Quad Cities area, where he passed away on September 24th, 2009. He was survived by his sisters, two children, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren, as well as beloved family pets; dogs HoJo and Baby Girl, and cats Inky, Smedley, and Little Guy. He also leaves behind a long legacy of service to his country across multiple wars and vicious fighting, a testament to his bravery as a sailor and marine.