Ken Johnson: January 26, 1953 – May 9, 2019
Ken Johnson, who protected his family and served Phoenix during a 30-year career as a police officer, died May 9 following a lengthy illness. He was 66. Ken spent 1975-2005 with the Phoenix Police Department, rising to the rank of lieutenant. He worked on the streets, guarded dignitaries, represented the department as a public information officer, and led the Professional Standards Bureau.
Later, Ken served as an expert witness in use-of-force cases and consulted for police departments nationwide.
Ken was born on Luke Air Force Base in 1953. He grew up in Germany; Columbus, Ga.; and various other American cities before returning to Phoenix, where he graduated from Maryvale High School in 1972.
Ken attended college as an adult, graduating magna cum laude from Arizona State University and earning a master’s in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University. Those diplomas were among his prized possessions.
Ken was a Phoenician to the core: He drove pickup trucks, ate fajitas (at Fajitas), relished monsoons, and watched the Diamondbacks. He fished on Lake Pleasant and Bartlett Lake, owned a boat, and appreciated the simple joys of a good carwash and a well functioning A/C unit. He advocated for do-it-yourself pest control. He installed gadgets, climbed ladders, painted houses, and fixed problems.
Ken was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Ray. He is survived by Laurie, his wife of nearly 46 years; daughters Cassandra Thompson (Justin) of Phoenix and San Francisco and Kim Finley (Ryan) of Tucson; seven grandchildren; and four siblings and their families.
A funeral mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday at St. Paul’s Catholic Church, 330 W Coral Gables Dr. in Phoenix. Interment to follow at Holy Redeemer Cemetery, 23015 Cave Creek Road. Ken’s family would like to thank the Multiple System Atrophy Coalition for its assistance in his final years.
Ken supported The 100 Club of Arizona, which provides financial assistance to the families of first responders who are killed in the line of duty. Donations in his memory would be appreciated.Print Obituary & Condolences