Wayne Douglas Johnson, 62, died Feb. 3 at South Big Horn County Hospital. He was born Jan. 14, 1953, in Elko, Nev., the son of Donald and Bonnie Blencoe Johnson. His father died in an airplane accident when Wayne was a baby, and as a young boy, Wayne lost his mother Bonnie to natural causes. His father’s oldest brother, Harold Johnson, and his wife Phyllis embraced Wayne into their family, giving Wayne two sisters, Linda and Carol.
Wayne graduated from high school in Virginia; completed several years of college in Havre, Mont., and started his railroad career with Burlington Northern Railroad. He relocated from Montana to the Big Horn Basin in 1976 and retired from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad in 2007.
From a young age, Wayne loved the outdoors, hunting and fishing, which was fostered by his Grandpa Claude Blencoe and Uncle Gus Blencoe. One memorable family fishing trip was in 2002 when Wayne took his spouse, Rita, and sons Robert and Ryan to Lost Lake, Canada, before Robert joined the military.
His hunting adventures include a stone ram and mountain goat taken in British Columbia, a black bear in Alaska in 1984, a moose from the Big Horns in 1989, a mountain lion from Red Canyon in the 1900s, and the oldest black bear on record from the state of Montana in the early 2000s.
Ryan was with his father in 2008 when Wayne took a bighorn sheep from the north end of Big Horns; the tag was one of the initial two hunting tags offered after the reintroduction of wild sheep to the Big Horn Mountains.
He also loved to hunt birds. Many men, women and children had the pleasure of sharing outdoor experiences with Wayne.
His parents, Donald, Bonnie, Harold and Phyllis Johnson, preceded him in death.
He is survived by his spouse Rita (Wyant) Ferrell; two sons, Robert Richard Ferrell and Ryan James Ferrell; daughter-in-law, Bradee (Crosby) Ferrell; two sisters and brothers-in-law, Leonard and Linda Iverson and Eddie and Carol Campbell, and five grandchildren.