Robert Johnson, MD
Dr Johnson was born 9 May, 1934 in Louisville, Ky. to a young couple of farmers escaping the effects of the Great Depression to find work in the city. At age two, the family moved to Owensboro, Ky. where Dr Bob was to spend the rest of his childhood. This ended abruptly when he made his own escape from a tyrannical father and ran away from home to join the US Air Force by falsifying his age. Soon after, he was caught up in the horrors of a bloody war in Korea that claimed the lives of over 50,000 young men and wounded many thousands more. It was in treating these wounds that he found his calling as a medical corpsman and later as a physician.
Soon after his discharge he began pre-med studies at Kentucky Wesleyan College, graduating in 1959, then going on to the University Of Louisville School of Medicine, finishing near the top of his class. A rotating internship at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Dayton, Ohio prepared him for a family practice in Beaver Dam, Ky., where he was to spend the next 37 years; the first 25 years in private practice, and the last 13 years as Director of Emergency Services at Ohio Co. Hospital, in nearby Hartford Ky.. He served two terms as Chief of staff there as well.
Johnson married Patricia June Brown of Owensboro shortly after his discharge from the Air Force in 1954. She bore him four children, roughly five years apart: Lisa Gaye, Peter Cole, Joseph Thomas, and Robert Dunagan Johnson. Sadly, their marriage ended in divorce in 1975, and he remarried Betty Ann Tichenor Berryman, RN in that same year. She had been a co-worker and fellow leader as Director of Nursing at the same hospital cited above, where Dr. Bob had delivered over 1200 babies, many in which she had assisted. Betty later became his office supervisor and nursing assistant. They lived on, and operated a horse and cattle farm near Hartford, where they became deeply involved in natural organic living, gardening, bee-keeping and horticulture.
During his practice years, Dr Bob also became a successful writer of medically-oriented columns for newspapers and several popular magazines such as Outdoor Life and Woman's World. He also wrote much poetry during those times. In 1985, he was was named "Kentucky Physician Of The Year" by the Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians and elected by Good Housekeeping Magazine as one of "America's Top Ten Physicians."
In 1984 the Johnsons, both man and wife, underwent a deep spiritual epiphany while on their first trip into Haiti to serve as medical missionaries for a short term. They were to dedicate their lives to that work over the next 32 years, founding MISSIONS Of LOVE, Inc., now an international benevolent, medical and evangelical mission to Haiti that operates a 6 1/2 acre clinic and compound serving thousands of the poor in a remote mountainous area of that country, while providing clean water for drinking and cooking now being used all over Haiti.
In the interim, the Johnsons sailed for many years throughout the islands of the Caribbean in their 42-ft. cutter-rigged sailboat called SOLITAIRE all the way to South America and back. They now live in retirement in Palm Bay, Florida where they read, fish, and play golf as he continues to write both his memoirs (presented here as THE CALLING - An Autobiography) and poetry. He and "Miz Betty" continue to serve in an advisory role to their Haiti mission, though he most reluctantly had to give up his sailboat due to the physical limitations of his 83 years.
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