Ray C. H. Johnson

ray johnson

Ray C.H. Johnson, beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather
peacefully passed away on July 10th, 2023 after a long illness.

Ray was born in Anding, Mississippi on September 5th, 1931. Ray was passionate
about ham radio since grammar school and built his own code oscillator and transmitter
early on. He taught himself many of the amateur radio skills. After graduating from high
school, Ray attended Hinds Jr. College and the University of Alabama. After college, he
entered the U.S. Army Signal Corp. After completing Signal School in Ft. Monmouth,
NJ, Ray was assigned to The Plant Engineering Agency in Washington, D.C. This
agency had the mission to engineer and install communication systems for the
Department of Army worldwide.

Ray’s first assignment was assisting with the installation of the receiving station for the
Alternative Command Center in Sharpsburg, MD. During his assignment, he lived off
base in Martinsburg, WVA. This is where he met the love of his life, the former Joan
Lucas from Mt. Carmel, PA. Joan was a nurse working at the Newton D. Baker VA
Hospital in Martinsburg. They were married in the hospital chapel.

After being discharged from service, Ray went to work as a communications center
repair technician at the Army Telecommunication Center in the Pentagon. After 10
years there, he was transferred to the communications manager position in the agency

After considerable time with the US Communications Command, Ray transferred to the
USACC-MTMTS Command as Deputy Director and Technical Advisor. This agency had
the responsibility for the development and operations of the communication and data
system for the movement of military equipment and goods for the Department of

During this time Ray received a promotion to Deputy Director of the USACC-DCPA
Support Agency with the major responsibility to provide communication and warning
system for the civil defense effort within the Department of Defense. Ray’s
responsibilities often involved traveling to the agency’s 10 locations in the continental
US. Ray was eventually promoted to the Director of the Agency after the previous
director retired.

When Jimmy Carter was elected President, he formed the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA) where all emergency services for the federal government
were consolidated. Ray’s agency was transferred to FEMA where he remained until he
retired in 1986. Ray received many awards of achievement during his career including
the Meritorious Civilian Service Medal.

Ray was a founding member and the first President of the Vienna Wireless Society
which is celebrating it’s 60th anniversary this year. He was an integral part of creating
the VWS and has inspired many “HAMS” with his passion and knowledge for amateur
radio. K5RJ will be greatly missed by his brothers at VWS.

Upon retirement, Ray had many hobbies. Besides enjoying talking to people all over the
world with amateur radio, he loved playing golf and taking photographs including
processing and printing his own film. He also enjoyed woodworking and traveling to
HAM festivals with his wonderful wife.

Ray would often say the most important thing to him in the world is his family. He loved
his family dearly and he is survived by his wife Joan, his daughter Rae Milbourn and her
husband, Chip, his daughter Nancy McCleary and her husband, Patrick, his
granddaughter, Kim Coffield and her husband, Brian, his granddaughter Lauren Goudy
and her husband, Josh, his granddaughters Kathleen and Cristin McCleary, his
grandson, Sean McCleary and his great grandchildren Cate, Megan, Anna and Matthew
Coffield and Levi and Miles Goudy.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Inova Health Foundation.


Visitation: July 20, 2023 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Money & King Funeral Home
171 W. Maple Ave.
Vienna, VA 22180


Visitation: July 20, 2023 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Money & King Funeral Home
171 W. Maple Ave.
Vienna, VA 22180


Private Graveside Service:

Quantico National Cemetery
18424 Joplin Rd.
Triangle, VA 22172


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Memories Timeline


  1. I will miss our conversations. Learning from his life experiences was always amazing. He was a good friend and neighbor. My condolences to Joan and the family.
    Rest in peace my friend.

    • Sending my heartfelt sympathy and prayers to Aunt Joanie and the family. Wishing you peace and comfort and lots of love at this time of sorrow.
      Rest in peace Uncle Ray.

  2. Ray was the ultimate amateur radio operator. He welcomed all new hams to the hobby, including me and helped in any way that he could. He certainly knew his way around the insides of a radio and not only kept a lot of radios out of the junk yard, but he also passed his knowledge on to other ham radio operators. He will certainly be misused by a lot of people. 73 Ray

  3. Ray was such a warm and loving person, he will be missed. Growing up next door to him and Joan was a gift of friendship. Prayers for all of the family.

    Daniel & Kathleen Donatelli

  4. Rae & Joan, thinking of you during this difficult time. I’m so sorry for your loss and want to extend my condolences to you. I’m sure Mr. Johnson was a great man who will be very missed.

  5. My sincere condolences to the family, Joan, Rae and Nancy. I have known Joan and Ray since the 1970’s. My husband Ray, and Ray Johnson were Ham Radio buddies going way back. I lost my husband 4 months ago, and I know what it will be like for Joan to lose her life partner. We both had very long marriages. Ray Johnson was always ready to give advice and suggestions to others, after he had learned something of benefit. I cannot count the number of times he gave us information, and fun times for so many years. I grieve for him today, as we lost another great man of utmost character and distinction. His integrity was impeccable, and after having lunch with him only 10 days ago at his house, I am grateful we had one last lunch together, with other friends, and he was still able to talk about all the good things in his life. He will be missed very much, and to Joan, I can only say, she was there for Ray in all their married life, right beside him with her love and devotion. Ray will always be remembered.

  6. My deepest sympathy to the family.
    Ray was born 5 weeks after I was in a little
    Settlement called Anding in Mississippi.
    We were playmates, schoolmates and good friends. Our friendship continued through the years and we kept in touch by phone. I will miss him terribly. He was one of the good ones…. Both as a boy and then as a man. RIP my friend. You were loved.

  7. Beautiful write-up for a beautiful life. Praying for rivers of comfort for Aunt Joanie, Nancy, Pat, Rae, Chip, and all the families. I have such good memories of Uncle Ray – always so kind.

  8. Wishing Joan, Rae Ann, Nancy and your families peace and comfort in this challenging time. Ray was almost like a second father to me during my early years. He was always there for us throughout all our twirling contests and the multiple sleepovers of a group of very active young girls. He introduced my father to amateur radio and that became a hobby that followed my father throughout his life. Ray was always there for my father and I will be forever grateful. May his spirit live on in your hearts.

  9. I have so many memories of Ray and your family. As his obituary at the funeral home states, I remember Ray to be the consummate family man. I saw no greater happiness in a man than when Ray was in the presence of you all. I was but a passer by in your lives, yet Ray had a profound effect on me, watching how devoted he was to his family. My father, “Skip” considered Ray his best friend and spoke of, and worried about Ray, to his last days. My dad asked me to follow up with Ray just days before he passed, four years ago. I regret terribly not doing as my dad had asked.

    Jana and I have Ray to thank for modeling the life of a devoted husband and father. I seem to remember that Ray coached the girl’s softball team after which dad spent several years coaching my Little League Baseball teams. We have Ray to thank for introducing dad to HAM radio, a hobby that became his passion for the remainder of his life. I can remember “field days” when we would camp out, and dad and Ray would operate the radios under generator power, and stay up all night attempting to contact as many other radio operators around the world as they could. I can still smell the smoke from his pipe as he “CQ”ed people around the globe.

    I pray that you have comfort that Ray is in the presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that we will all meet again when our time comes. Again, I regret not getting back up to Northern Virginia to pay my regards to Ray and you all personally. I thank God for Ray. I will always remember him fondly. May our Lord’s peace be with you at this sorrowful time.

  10. Joan, our prayers and thoughts are with you. It’s sad for us that we were just beginning to know a kind and gracious man who happened to be the embodiment of the classic ham radio operator and we lost him, now a silent key.
    Don w3htj and Carla kj4nxf

  11. Ray was important in my life in several ways. He was always calm, encouraging a ham friend to many. We could always count on his wisdom and enthusiasm. I am sorry to be far out of town and unable to get to the visitation. Joan – you took such good and gentle care of Ray always. You used your skills with kindness and affection. You are an inspiration.

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