R. Craig Johnson

1950 ~ 2022

Celebration of Life

Larkin Sunset Lawn (2350 E 1300 So, SLC)
Aug 6, 2022 11:00 AM

R. Craig Johnson died on the morning of July 18, 2022 surrounded by his loving family. Over the last 22 months he had bravely lived with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer. From the start of his diagnosis, his indomitable spirit would not allow him to devolve into anger or pity over his health situation. He always wanted to be of use and continued to work hard for those things which held meaning for him.

Craig was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on April 6, 1950 to Raymond C. Johnson and Pearl Glissmeyer Johnson. He served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints in Taiwan. Upon returning from his mission he attended and graduated BYU where he was a Hinckley Scholar. He attended University of Washington Law School where he was editor of Law Review and graduated summa cum laude. He married Nancy Andrews in 1974, solemnized in the Salt Lake City Temple.

Craig worked in the Corporate Division of U.S. Steel, in Pittsburgh, PA for 4 years but desiring to return to the West, he went to work for AMAX in Denver, CO where he began extensive travel internationally as a Mergers/Acquisition Natural Resource Attorney. His legal career took him throughout the world to South America, China, S. Africa, Canada, Europe, Mongolia and the UK. He became a partner in 1994 at Parsons, Behle and Latimer Law Firm in Salt Lake City and General Counsel of North and South America for Rio Tinto, Inc. He was well respected within the international natural resource community and made many friends throughout the world.

Craig loved the shooting sports, including hunting, and competitive shooting. He excelled in the many disciplines of shooting and held the coaching certification for Olympic Shooting sports. He coached youth in biathlon, Olympic Shooting and gun safety. He was a range officer for many years, giving countless hours in all seasons so others could have a safe place to enjoy the shooting sports. In 1992, Craig was elected to the USA Shooting (Olympic NGB) Board of Directors, where he provided legal resources and was charged with Junior Development. He created the training practices used still today to coach young athletes, advancing them to the National Shooting team. He wrote several manuals and published articles in both Olympic Shooting and Biathlon.

In his time off, Craig loved to sail in the Pacific Northwest and Canadian waters. His relaxation came when he was at the helm of his sailboat, the Free Spirit. Craig and family enjoyed exploring the San Juan and Canadian islands, fishing for flounder and catching fresh crab. Every time he sailed, something new would excite him, whether it was Orca pods, Minky whales or navigating a 11 foot harbor depth at high tide. He loved giving his children and grandchildren those experiences.

Photography became his passion later in life, and Arizona, Utah, Maine, New Hampshire were some of his favorite photography places. Prior to his cancer diagnosis, he was engaged in filming a documentary entitled Shift the Narrative, the inspiring story of Russell Redenbaugh .
He was able to complete filming in early April 2022.

His respect for the mining industry and their contribution to our lives, economy and technology brought him into the industry right out of law school. He was emotionally moved by the early miners and was fascinated by the story of the Winter Quarters and Castlegate Mine disasters in Utah in 1900 and 1924. He researched thoroughly and wrote a book about those two disasters entitled” Afterdamp “,which is in the process of publication. He felt strongly that the early miners and their family stories needed to be told since they fueled the Industrial Revolution which built our country and continue to provide the energy, resources needed to build the technology we use today.

Recognizing his own cancer limitations, he was devastated to hear of a 38 year old, young attorney with 5 children that was diagnosed with the same brain cancer. He was motivated to ask the Utah State Bar what was being done to support members of the Bar who have catastrophic illnesses or accidents? In August 2021 he formed a Utah State Bar Initiative with great support from the Bar and legal community to help attorneys, their families and legal staff navigate many of the concerns during those difficult life events. It can be found on the website

Craig and Nancy had four wonderful, supportive children, Matthew Johnson (Natalia), Rebecca Petterson (Mike), Robi Johnson and Lauren Johnson. He was enthusiastically supportive of their individual talents. The family shared many adventures, hiking in the Colorado Mountains, fishing and boating in Maine, sailing in the Pacific Northwest, shooting competitions throughout the Country ,traveling to many of our beautiful National Parks, xcountry skiing in the beautiful West and timing crew in the 2002 Olympics at Soldier Hollow. He gave countless volunteer hours for the X-Country Wasatch Citizen Series races as a member of the timing crew.

Craig was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, his daughters, Rebecca (Mike) and Lauren and his sons, Matthew (Natalia) and Robi. He is survived by his six grandchildren, Matthew, Zoe, Ethan, Sophia, Izzy and Toby.

The family would like to thank Huntsman Cancer Institute and the “Brain Team”, Dr. Howard Colman, Sean Strope PA. and Dacia RN for their guidance through treatment, as well as all the technicians that administered his cancer treatments, conducted his MRI’s and gave encouraging support. They were wonderful.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Huntsman Cancer Institute with a gift designation to the Neuro and Spine Center. www.give.huntsmancancer.org

An informal Celebration of Life will be held Saturday, August 6, at 11:00 a.m. at Larkin Sunset Lawn, 2350 East 1300 South, Salt Lake City.


I had the privilege of knowing Craig through timing events at Soldier Hollow during the 2002 Olympics and since through the WCS race timing crew. He always was such a positive, enthusiastic person to be around and i always enjoyed those times when he was there. I am so sorry to hear of his passing and send love and peace to all those near and dear to him.

- Mary Ann Battle

Sending condolences to Craig's family. So sorry to hear of your loss.

I worked with Craig at PB&L. He was the happiest person in the firm. Whenever I saw him, he always had a smile and usually a quick witted comment. I left the firm a few years ago and was sad to hear of his sickness and now his passing. He will be missed by MANY.

This obituary is a beautiful tribute to him.

- Kay Ketterling

You were a great partner and a true inspiration. May God bless and protect your family.

David R. Bird

- David Bird

Please accept my condolences. I worked with Craig at Parsons. He was a great man to work with. Always had a smile for everyone. I felt privileged that he let me read the draft of "Afterdamp". I look forward to its publication. The loss of Craig will be felt by the many lives he has touched.

- Carola M. Groos

All the best Craig in your new world. See you up there one of these days.

- Kenneth Kloska