‘Red’ Johnson, formerly of Andover, dies at 83

From Adelaide Johnson: Harold R. “Red” Johnson, the love of my life, passed away at home with his family by his side, on Feb. 28, 2021, after a three-year bout with throat cancer. He had turned 83 on Feb. 6.

Red was born in Windsor, Conn., the youngest son of Hazel and William Johnson.  He was predeceased by his brother Bill and sister Norma.  He graduated from Windsor High School, enlisted in the Marine Corps, then went off to the University of Connecticut, where we met.

Red was a devoted and loving husband, a loving and caring father to his son, Steven, now a retired colonel in the Army Special Forces, and daughter-in-law, Kym; daughter Julie and son-in-law, Donnie; and his beloved granddaughters, Melinda and Allison.  He was also devoted to his many nieces and nephews, Karen, Scott, Chris, Rich, Sandy, Ken and Doug.

Red Johnson presiding over the March 2017 Andover Town Meeting. Telegraph Publishing file photo.

He was an avid downhill skier and builder of stonewalls and beautiful gardens.  His career included district manager of Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. in Buffalo, N.Y., where we lived in East Aurora and he was a serious Buffalo Bills fan.

He then was a managing director of Marsh McLennan in Washington, D.C.  In retirement, we lived in Andover, Vt., where he served as the chairman of the Select Board for 15 years.

There will be a celebration of life service in Windsor, Conn., at a later date.  Should you wish to make a donation in Red’s honor please remember the USO or a charity of your choice.  Graham Funeral Home & Cremation Services will be caring for arrangements.  Please visit  here to leave a condolence to the family.

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  1. Sean Whalen says:

    On this Easter Sunday I am thankful for all the times my family got to pray and receive Communion next to Red and Adelaide at St. Luke’s Church. My mother adored Red, and why wouldn’t she? Red and Adelaide helped our family so much during my Mom’s long illness, frequently taking her to chemo treatments when I was at work.

    The sight of Red pulling up to the front door in his immaculate Buick, looking like a better version of John Wayne, never failed to lift Mom’s spirits. Among other things, Red was sparing my Mom the experience of maybe-or-maybe-not making it to chemo in my old hotwired Subaru. He was better company, too.

    It feels like they don’t make people like Red any more. Others here have remembered his service to our community: a steady presence at the grill, on the other end of heavy lifts, and as chair of Andover’s Select Board. For me he embodied the Marine Corps ideal of honor. And as far as I could tell, he never looked down on me or anyone else for not embodying it. No matter what, he held up his end. That’s what lifts me up, remembering Red.

    He was a good friend and role model. My family is grieving the loss of this good man. Semper Fidelis.

  2. Deborah Costa says:


    Ron and I were sorry to hear of Red’s passing. We have always enjoyed your company, gatherings at your home and, of course, meeting for dinner with our friends. May your memories sustain you.


    Deb Costa and Ron Betts, Belmont, VT

  3. lew watters says:

    Bonnie and I were priviledged to know Red and Adelaide Johnson primarily through our mutual love of worship at St. Luke’s Epsicopal Church in Chester. We could always count on him to do the heavy lifting in parish life. He was there when the August Supper tents needed raising; he was there to supervise the loading of not one but two moving vans when our former rector Paul retired; Red was there to reconcile a church budget at annual meeting time.

    Lew & Bonnie Watters

  4. Christopher Elders says:

    I also have memories of Red standing over the grill for hours, at Green-Up day and summer festivals, making sure everyone was fed. He was a kind and gentle, soft-spoken man for whom I had much respect. My deepest condolences to you, Adelaide.

  5. Joni Stone says:

    Sorry to hear about your husband’s passing. My mother, Elaine and I sending our deepest sympathies.

  6. Jean Peters says:

    I was saddened to learn of Red Johnson’s passing. Red was an integral member of the Andover community.

    As chair of the Select Board, he worked hard to keep Andover in strong financial shape by assuring that the budget was well-thought-out and thoroughly dissected prior to presenting it to residents of Andover for a vote at the Town Meeting.

    I respected him deeply as my mentor during my six years on the Select Board where he taught me something new every day! He and Adelaide participated in every town event and I can see Red standing at the grill turning the hot dogs and burgers and asking “Who wants a ‘ripper’?” Finally, I am honored to call Red and Adelaide friends.