Claude Sherman Johnson
Claude Sherman Johnson
  • May 16, 1939 - December 28, 2017
  • Oakley, California

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Claude was born in Los Angeles, California, the fourth of seven children to William and Daisy Mae Johnson. He died peacefully at his home in Oakley, following a long, courageous battle with cancer. He was surrounded by daughters, granddaughters, and his beloved wife Carol.

After his parents moved the Johnson family from L.A. to Seaside, Claude's younger sister Sandy introduced him to her best friend Carol and the two began dating. He was 15 and Carol was 13. Two years later, at 17, Claude joined the Marines (his mother signed the paperwork affirming that he was 18). Following three years of service, Claude moved back to Los Angeles for a year before returning to the Seaside area where he joined ServiSoft, beginning a long, successful career in water treatment.

Carol hadn't known that Claude had moved back to the area. But in 1962, she was driving in Monterey and spotted him walking down Alvarado Street. She flipped a hasty u-turn and caught up with him. The two had lunch and became reacquainted, beginning a love story that would last more than 54 years.

Claude and Carol married on April 30, 1963, and moved to Las Vegas. In 1969, Claude and Carol bought a Rayne Water dealership in Walnut Creek and the family moved to Oakley. In 1972, they bought ServiSoft/EcoWater Systems of Tri-Valley. Just a few months after they started the business, Lloyd Stack joined the company as general manager and remained a loyal business associate and lifelong friend.

The business that Claude built thrives to this day, steered by Carol, Lloyd, the next generation of Johnson family members, and loyal employees who have become family. Through his company, Claude became a mentor to those just getting started in business and in life. For many others, he was more like a second father. He will be remembered as a successful, principled businessman, but his steady guidance and generous heart will be his true legacy.

Water was as central to Claude's life as it was to his work. A lifelong fisherman, he loved to be on the water, whether he was fishing off the pier at his home in Clear Lake, or on the Delta where he lived and fished for many years, or on the Monterey Bay, trawling for salmon from his fishing boat the Carol Rae. In the mid-eighties, Claude became a commercial fisherman and continued to fish salmon until the last year of his life, when his health made it impossible to do so. His years on Monterey Bay were deeply satisfying in part because of the close friendships he developed and sustained there.

Claude enjoyed a rich life engaging in the activities he loved. But there was nothing he loved more than family. Claude remained close with his siblings, and he and Carol and her best friend Sandy were constant companions until Sandy's death in 2016. Claude is survived by his brothers Bill, Ron, and Richard. He is predeceased by his parents and his sisters Wilma, Joanie, and Sandy.

Claude and Carol's children brought him immense pride and joy, and he loved his in-laws as his own children, instantly and wholeheartedly. He is survived by his son David Green and David's wife Vera; daughter Mari Lynn and her partner Gretchen; daughter Cindi and son-in-law Carlos; daughter Rosalie and son-in-law Rob; and daughter Mickey. His treasured son Billy died in 1984 at age 20.

Claude was blessed and delighted by his grandchildren, and became "Papa" to Stephanie, Jessica, Chelbe, Zach, Cydnee, Cassidee, Marlayna, and Aliz. He had eight beautiful great-grandchildren, and is survived by Dakota, Andrew, Kendall, Braden, Brodie, Allison, and Blakelee. His darling first great-grandson, William, passed away at 15 months.

Above all, Claude cherished Carol. Their romance began as they were teenagers and developed into a love that flourished over the years-as they worked side by side in their company, as they experienced great joys and endured terrible sorrows, as they celebrated their growing family, and as they confronted Claude's illness. They did it all with grace and faith and love, together.

A celebration of Claude's life will be held on Thursday, January 4, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. at Shadow Lakes Golf Club, 401 W. Country Club Drive, Brentwood. Gifts in Claude's memory may be made to The Wounded Warrior Project or the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.