'Dr. J' Johnson dies at 73
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[October 26, 2013]
-- Dr. Jim Johnson, who was a volunteer academic coordinator with the
Karin L. Bone Athletics Study Center and served nearly four decades on
the academic side at Illinois State, has died at age 73. Lovingly known
as "Dr. J," his influence on Redbird student-athletes, as well as all of
his students, was immense and will be remembered.
"Dr. J was a tremendous individual and dedicated mentor for Illinois
State student-athletes," said Larry Lyons, director of athletics at
ISU. "His dedication and passion for Illinois State Athletics and
its student-athletes was just one of his many remarkable traits. He
was an instrumental part of record-breaking GPA performances by our
athletic teams, and he will be sorely missed by everyone at Illinois
As an emeritus professor of psychology, Johnson was
devoted to his students, both in and out of the classroom.
After a 35-year career as a professor of psychology at Illinois
State, Johnson retired from teaching in December 2002 and joined the
staff of the Study Center as a volunteer in 2003, while continuing
to teach one course each semester. Through teaching large numbers of
student-athletes in his auditorium sections of Introductory
Psychology, he worked extensively with the Study Center staff and
coaches, while volunteering in several programs. He used his
knowledge of the teaching and learning process in providing study
skills workshops, as well as in working with individual
Outside of the classroom, he worked as the editor of The Illinois
Psychologist, a newsletter for the Illinois Psychological
Association, from 1972 to 1989 and coordinated the psychology
department's honors program from 1988 to 2000, while also
coordinating the graduate studies program from 1996 to 2000. Johnson
also served as a faculty sponsor for the Golden Key International
Honour Society from 1995 to 2002 and continued that role since 2005.
For his work, he earned the Student Psychology Association's
Outstanding Faculty Award six times (1983, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1993
and 2001) and was presented with the 1999 Central Region Advisor of
the Year Award by the Golden Key International Honour Society.
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Johnson was also a five-time departmental nominee for the
university's Outstanding Teacher Award. His accolades didn't
stop there, as he was presented the Herb Sanders Award for
Outstanding Academic Advisement in 2002 and was the psychology
department's 2006 Alumnus of the Year (Full Career).
In addition to his success in academia, Johnson supported the ISU
Athletics Department. He had worked as an official at the ISU track
and field meets since 1970 and served on the advisory committee for
two head coach selections. He was the chair of the ISU Athletic
Council from 1972 to 1974 and again during the 1994-95 school year.
For all of his efforts within the department, he was inducted into
the Illinois State Athletics Percy Family Hall of Fame in 2006 as
the Campbell "Stretch" Miller Award recipient.
He is survived by Pat, his wife of 51 years, their two children
and four grandchildren, as well as a sister. He was born Dec. 25,
1939, in Emporia, Kan., the son of Don and Dixie Johnson.
He earned his bachelor's degree from Washington University in St.
Louis in 1961 and continued with his master's from Illinois State
University in 1964 and his doctorate from Northwestern in 1966.
A celebration of life is planned for Nov. 9, in the Old Main Room
of the Bone Student Center at Illinois State. A reception will begin
at 1 p.m., followed by the celebration of life at 2 p.m., providing
an opportunity to share stories and memories of Jim.
news release received from
Illinois State University]