By DON McINTOSH
Noel E. Johnson, retired leader of Portland-based Bakers Local 114, died Oct. 7 of Lewy Body Dementia at age 89.
Johnson became a member of Local 114 in 1952 when he went to work for Stein’s Bakery. He led the union as executive secretary-treasurer for a decade before his retirement in 1992.
Born Sept. 12, 1934 in in Colfax, Wisconsin, Johnson moved with his family to moved to Ridgefield, Washington, where his father operated a small grocery. After the stint at Stein’s, he served in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1956, working as a baker part of that time. He returned to Local 114 when he was hired at Keller’s Bakery in 1958, and then Wonder Bread in 1960, where he became a shop steward. In 1972, he was elected business agent at the local, and in 1982, secretary-treasurer, the local’s top elected office. During his time in leadership, he served on the union’s benefit trusts and established the local’s retiree medical benefit, which continues to this day. He also fought successfully to preserve the seven-hour day in bread baking, which also continues. In retirement, he founded and led the Local 114 Retirees Club.
Johnson is survived by his wife of 70 years, Nancy, and by three daughters, a son, six grandchildren, and eight grandchildren. A celebration of life will be held for family and friends at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Old Spaghetti Factory at Clackamas, Oregon. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers a donation be made to the North Clark County Historical Museum in Amboy, Washington.