Rodney James Johnson, PhD, MD, was born in Trenton, New Jersey on January 22, 1951. He was the fourth of five children born to Richard and Rose Mary Johnson. Rodney and his family lived in Lambertville, NJ until the age of 3 when his family moved to Levittown, PA in October 1954. Rodney grew up in Levittown attending Immaculate Conception Elementary School and then Abraham Lincoln Elementary School. He then attended Benjamin Franklin Junior High School where he developed his love for music. He became an accomplished bassoonist and won the position as first bassoonist in the Bucks County High School band. He attended Woodrow Wilson High School from 1965 to 1968 and then attended Temple University in Philadelphia, PA majoring in chemistry. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Temple with a BS in chemistry and with Chemistry Department Honors. Rodney then went on to attend graduate school at Harvard University with a focus in Biochemistry. He earned a PhD in Biochemistry and then entered medical school at Pennsylvania State University. After completing his MD degree in 1982, Rodney moved to Seattle to pursue residency at the University of Washington. He became Board Certified in Neurology and began practicing Medicine at the Everett Clinic in Washington State. Rodney then joined Neurological Associates of Washington where he practiced for 31 years before retiring in 2018. Most recently, Rod was performing independent medical exams for patients with on-the-job injuries.
In 1992, Rodney interviewed and hired a young woman, Maggie Bowers, as his medical assistant. Rodney and Maggie developed a friendship that quickly evolved into a deeper relationship. They were married July 19, 1997 at St. James Cathedral in Seattle, WA and this began a journey that would shape Rod to be the man for which we remember him most. Rod and Maggie welcomed their first child, Matthew, on September 15, 1998 and were later joined by Alexandra on March 20, 2000. Rod wholeheartedly embraced fatherhood and there was nothing that he would rather do than spend time with his family. He passed on his love of music to his children which led them both on a musical path. Rod made the time to attend his children’s musical performances and was their biggest fan. He encouraged his children to pursue what they love. When the kids were young, Rodney and Maggie decided to homeschool their children so that they could spend more time as a family. This allowed them to travel extensively on pilgrimages and leisure vacations. In total, Rod gifted his family with visits to around 27 countries. Matt and Allie were Rod’s greatest accomplishments and continue to be his most precious blessings.
Rodney prided himself as a “Renaissance Man” having a variety of interests and knowledge of many topics including science, medicine, history, politics, religion, art, music, and more. He was an athlete who enjoyed mountain climbing with his brother, Robert. Rod summited Mt. Rainier twice and climbed many other mountains in the Pacific Northwest. At the age of 50, he and Maggie ran a marathon together in San Diego, CA. Exercise was something that Rod enjoyed and something he worked into his schedule every day. He also enjoyed hiking, biking, swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving.
While Rod was extremely intelligent, he was a man of great humility and was truly one of the most down-to-earth people you could ever meet. Many of his patients would tell you that their appointments were more like social visits even though he took great care to do what he could to treat and heal. Rod would often quote Benjamin Franklin, “God heals, and the doctor takes the fees.” Rodney loved the practice of medicine because it allowed him to use his brain while doing the most good for others. He developed wonderful friendships with many of his patients and colleagues in the medical field. Many will remember him most for his amazing sense of humor.
Devoted husband, father, friend, brother, physician, and patriot are all words that could be used to describe Rodney. However, beloved son of God is the definition that would take precedence over all others. Rod had a deep and abiding faith in Our Lord and His Holy Catholic Church. His faith formed every aspect of his life. He served as the president of the Catholic Medical Association Seattle Guild, and it was important for Rod to treat his patients with the respect and dignity that they deserved as children of God. Rodney’s generosity was also a sign of his Christian values; he donated both time and treasure to a variety of organizations and causes. The greatest among these causes for Rodney was the protection of human life from conception to natural death. He was a pro-life warrior who spent hours in prayer for the unborn and routinely participated in the March for Life in both Olympia, WA and Washington DC. Rodney and Maggie were also members of the Crozier Society, an organization which helped to fund the education of seminarians in the Archdiocese of Seattle. Rodney prayed the rosary and often attended daily Mass. He was officially consecrated to Jesus Through the Immaculate Heart of Mary and was enrolled in the Brown Scapular Confraternity. In Rod’s final days, he updated his Caring Bridge site personally with words from Sacred Scripture and prayer and often invoked the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary to help him bear his suffering. His greatest gift to his wife and children was his role as spiritual leader of his family. Faith was foundational in their family life. They prayed together, attended Mass regularly, participated in many pilgrimages which included journeys to Rome, the Holy Land, Fatima, Lourdes, and Spain to name a few. Matthew and Alexandra’s strong devotion to Our Lord and His Church today provide the greatest testimony to Rod’s spiritual example and influence.
We would also like to express our extreme gratitude for the healthcare workers in the Covid unit at the Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d’Alene, ID. They cared for Rodney beautifully for the 40 plus days he was in the hospital and provided comfort and support to our family.
In your great mercy, please continue to pray for Rodney. Thank you for being a part of his life and for the love and support you have shown him and our family through this difficult time. May God reward you for your charity.
Cards may be sent to The Johnson Family at 32165 East Hayden Lake Rd, Hayden, ID 83835
Maggie may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
A rosary will be prayed on Tuesday, January 19th at 9:30am PST followed by a Solemn High Requiem Mass beginning at 10:00am PST at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Post Falls, Idaho. A link to the live-stream will be posted on Maggie’s Facebook page (Maggie Bowers Johnson) as well as on Rodney’s Caring Bridge Page: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/rodstrong/journal
English Funeral Chapel in Post Falls, Idaho will be facilitating the arrangements for the funeral and burial: https://www.englishfuneralchapel.com
Rodney will be laid to rest at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Spokane Valley, Washington.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Rodney’s honor to one of the following organizations:
St. Joseph Catholic Church, Issaquah, WA https://sjcissaquah.org
St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church’s Building Fund https://www.stjoanarc.com
3W Medical for Women https://www.3wmedical.org
Healing the Culture https://www.healingtheculture.com
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