KIRBY WALTER JOHNSON
December 23, 2020
Kirby Walter Johnson, 79, beloved husband, father, and grandfather, and lifelong Skagit Valley resident, died at home in La Conner on Thursday, December 10, 2020.
Kirby was born on March 13, 1941 to Curtis and Dorothy Johnson.
He graduated from La Conner High School in 1959, then earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University in 1963.
Kirby then served in the U.S. Air Force from 1963 to 1967.
In 1965, he married Pam Dalan at the Methodist church in La Conner.
They first met in 1949 at Karen Irvin’s ballroom dancing class in Mount Vernon.
Kirby and Pam first lived together in Mount Vernon, then briefly in Colorado Springs, CO. When Kirby left the Air Force, they returned to Skagit Valley, where they built their home on Pleasant Ridge.
In 1968, Kirby and his brothers Curtis and Greg established Farms Northwest, Inc. They grew green peas and seed crops. In 1973, Kirby became a partner at La Conner Realty. He continued in both enterprises until the end. Kirby truly loved the Skagit Valley and its picturesque, fertile land. In addition to his real estate endeavors, Kirby was president of the Puget Sound Seed Growers Association for decades.
Throughout his life, Kirby had an affinity for automobiles, restoring and driving his antique cars. His brothers shared this interest, and they began by building hot rods in their younger years before moving on to more elegant projects. In addition to their mechanical aptitude, the brothers were innovators in their agricultural pursuits. They fabricated their own implements and were among the first to utilize track technology to reduce soil compaction in the 1990s.
Kirby loved sports. He played football, basketball, and baseball at La Conner High. He rarely missed a chance to watch his sons and grandchildren compete, traveling all over the state to support them. In his later years at the beach, Kirby became an avid crabber, sharing his catch with friends and family.
Kirby is survived by his wife, Pam, sons Stephen (Megan) and Sloan (Amanda), grandchildren Carly, Hunter, and Jeffrey, step-grandchildren Alias, Kamein, and Romeyn, brother Greg (Mary), nieces Jessica, Erica, Sarah, Anne, and Krista, nephew Zach. Kirby was preceded in death by his parents and his twin brother Curtis.
Kirby’s wry sense of humor and kindness will be missed. No one ever had to wonder what he was thinking, and one of his last gestures was to donate the Town of La Conner’s Christmas Tree. His dedication and love for his family and his home were immeasurable, and his memory will live on in all of us.
A private burial was held on December 19, 2020 at Pleasant Ridge Cemetery. Memorials may be sent to the Skagit County Historical Museum, P.O. Box 818, La Conner, WA 98257. Please send your condolences and share memories of Kirby to his family online at www.kernfuneralhome.com. Arrangements are through Kern Funeral Home, Mount Vernon.