Forde L. Johnson Jr., 81, died October 22, 2023, after a long and full life.
He was born in Idaho Falls on May 17, 1942, to Forde and Molly (Porter) Johnson. Growing up, he enjoyed baseball, skiing, and bird hunting with his dogs. He was an avid golfer with two hole-in-one trophies on the mantel. He loved traveling, but always loved returning to his hometown of Idaho Falls.
Following graduation from Idaho Falls High School in 1960, he attended the University of Idaho. He was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and served as the chapter president. Upon graduation in 1964, he joined his father in the oil and tire business in Pocatello. He then returned to Idaho Falls where he remained a lifelong resident, local businessman, and active member of community, business, and volunteer organizations.
Forde worked in the insurance industry, attaining his CPCU credential, and eventually started his own company, Forde Johnson Insurance Agency. He also partnered with his brother to operate the oil and gasoline distribution and retail business founded by their father. He was active in the Western Petroleum Marketers Association throughout his career. His extensive combined experience in the insurance and petroleum industries was recognized with his appointment by the governor of Idaho to the statewide Petroleum Storage Tank Fund.
As a community leader, Forde touched the lives of many and was considered a valued and trusted mentor, advisor, and friend. He was a longtime volunteer for the United Way, serving as a board member and Chair. He contributed to Rotary International for many years, served as president, and was named Rotarian of the Year of the Idaho Falls club. He served as president and board member for the CHC Foundation as well as president and board member of the Alcoholics’ Rehabilitation Association. He was a friend of Bill W. for 41 years.
Forde was well known for his strong speaking voice, his infectious smile, and the twinkle in his eye. He was also quite a snappy dresser, a meticulously prompt meeting leader, and an engaging guide for his “Official Idaho Falls Tour.”
Forde and Karen recently celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary with mutual love and respect. Their marriage was full of both good times and difficult times, and they managed it all as a united front. They particularly enjoyed traveling the world together, and for several winters they would escape the cold of Idaho by living in St. George, Utah.
Forde is survived by his devoted wife Karen and their puppy Molli; five beloved children – Scott (Paula), Heather (Rick) Carosone, Bradley, David (Diane Jacobson) and Kimberly (Omar) Ruiz; eight talented grandchildren – Ysabella, Lorenzo, Hayden, Reed, Elena, Emily, Owen, and Andrew; his brother Kenlon (Carol); and his brother-in-law Dean (Jan). He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Porter, and daughter Tami.
Funeral services will be Saturday, November 4 at 2 p.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 270 N. Placer Ave., Idaho Falls with the Reverend Lea Colvill officiating. Interment will take place in a private ceremony at a later date at Rose Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Soup Kitchen of Idaho Falls, 301 S. Boulevard, Idaho Falls, ID 83401, or to a charity of your choice.
The family would like to thank Hospice of Eastern Idaho for the care they provided to their husband, father, and grandfather.