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Billy Johnson dies at 88

[ Unpaginated; 24 ]

[The fol­low­ing is a news­pa­per obit­u­ary that has been pho­to­copied and placed in the back of Lena Johnson’s “History of the Johnson Family.”]

Billy Johnson dies at 88

CASPER — Billy Johnson who died in La Jolla, Calif. Tuesday at the age of 88, prob­a­bly out­fit­ted more cow­boys and ranch hands than any other cloth­ier in Casper dur­ing more than 40 years of doing busi­ness on South Center St.

And he left his mark on the future of the town, serv­ing on the Natrona County Library Board from 1918 to 1965. Billy, as every­one called him by his first name, insisted on keep­ing the pub­lic library loca­tion down­town at Second and Durbin — over­com­ing a group headed by Ernest Wilkerson, Casper lawyer and for­mer guber­na­to­r­ial can­di­date, who wanted to relo­cate the struc­ture on the old city hall prop­erty — present site of the Board of Public Utilities.

That’s when the decrepit old library had an “ostrich egg” dome that leaked and ruined books and fur­nish­ings from time to time. It was replaced a few years ago by a new addition.

Billy served so faith­fully on the library board that county cominis­sion­ers kept reap­point­ing him.

But be was best known for his cloth­ing store on the east side of Center Street, which has been taken over by a munic­i­pal park­ing lot.

He started in the cloth­ing busi­ness back in 1914, when the firm was known as Campbell-Johnson Clothing Co. It car­ried a com­plete line of cloth­ing and shoes, for city dudes as well as the ranch trade.

In 1908, Billy came from Lincoln, Neb. to Casper to become office man­ager of the Webel Commercial Co. Six years later he entered into part­ner­ship with George Campbell on the form­ing of the Campbell– Johnson Clothing Co. They oper­ated as a part­ner­ship until 1935, when Billy opened a cloth­ing store under his own name at 221 South Center, the site of the for­mer Gamble Store.

Billy per­son­ally waited on the ranch­ers, whether it was fit­ting a 20-gallon 3X Beaver Stetson or tak­ing a ranch hand down to the base­ment to find a pair of irri­gatin’ boots.

It came as a sur­prise to the busi­ness com­mu­nity when the short, affa­ble cloth­ier decided to quit busi­ness, move to California and retire. He lost the lease to part of his store. His many friends had taken it for granted that he would always live in Casper.

He was marred to Marguerite Barkley in 1919 at Brockport, N.Y. That same year he was elected to the Wyoming State Legislature for a two-year term on the Republlcan ticket. In 1921, he was elected to a four-year term in the state senate.

Survivors include the widow, Marguerite, of La Jolla;  and three daugh­ters, Mrs. Sybil Dray, Mrs. Barbara Penhallow, and Sally Johnson.

Funeral arrange­ments are pend­ing in La Jolla.

 
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