Palm Beach County native and former trustee of Palm Beach Atlantic University Richard S. Johnson passed away Saturday at his home in North Carolina. He was 82.
Mr. Johnson, who also was a resident of Palm Beach, served on the University's Board of Trustees from 1993 to 2010 and served on the Development, Planning and Investment committees.
PBA awarded him its American Free Enterprise medal in 1995, an award that honors individuals whose hard work and achievement exemplify the best of the American free enterprise system.
“We salute Dick’s commitment to Palm Beach Atlantic, the American Free Enterprise system, the local community and the church,” Palm Beach Atlantic University President William M.B. Fleming Jr. said. “God blessed PBA with his active advocacy and friendship.”
Mr. Johnson was both a business and community leader. A 1952 graduate of Duke University, he was one of the founders of the Cornelius, Johnson & Clark Inc. insurance agency, which became one of the largest agencies in the area. He also incorporated western Palm Beach County-based sugar cane grower Johnson Farms Inc.
He became a director of Central Bank of Palm Beach County and helped form Flagler National Bank in 1976. In 1988, he was named chairman of the board of Flagler National Bank, which was sold to SunTrust in 1993. He later sat on the board of SunTrust South Florida until 2000.
He also was a founder of Johnson Investment Group along with his two sons, Richard Johnson Jr. and Scott Johnson.
His many community involvements included serving as chairman of the board of St. Mary’s Medical Center and joining the Hospital Foundation Board; serving on the board of Intracoastal Health Systems; sitting on the Board of Overseeers of the University of Florida Health-Science Center; serving on the Advisory Board of Rosarian Academy; and serving as director of the Palm Beach Civic Association.
Along with his wife, Pat, Mr. Johnson was a philanthropist who gave generously to such causes as the Historical Society of Palm Beach County and Duke University Medical Center.
Mr. Johnson is survived by his wife, Pat, children Patricia Sned (Bill), Catharine Flagg (Jack), Helene Austin (Keith), Richard Johnson, Jr. (Charlene), Scott Johnson (Kristy), 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren and his brother Edward.
Services will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach.