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Longtime Fresno leader Richard Johanson mourned

Richard Johanson, the founder of Fresno, CA-based Johanson Transportation Service, died at the age of 96.

Mr. Johanson, a WWII veteran, left his leadership position at California Trucking Exchange, and founded Johanson Transportation Service on Aug. 1, 1971.  From humble beginnings in a diesel repair shop at a truck stop, he rented two small offices and began with three employees. 

Mr. Johanson was an early pioneer in the “truck broker” field, today known as third-party logistics providers.  He founded JTS with four important core values: experience, integrity, gratitude and respect. "Those attributes were the foundation of his life,” said his son, Larry, president of Johanson Transportation Service. Fifty years later they are the bedrock that guides the company.  His dedication to hard work and perseverance applied not only to business but also his commitment to make Fresno, Clovis and the Central Valley a better place to live and work.

Mr. Johanson was born Dec. 17, 1925 in Fresno.  During his early years he moved with his family many times.  When his father needed work, they moved to where the job was.  Mr. Johanson understood the importance of education.  He began his college education at University of California at 16 and completed his degree after returning from WWII. He served four years in the United States Marine Corps, coming back to Kingsburg, CA, from his last deployment in China in 1946.  He went on to take classes at Reedley College, and then to Fresno Business College, now named California State University-Fresno.  He then began his successful professional working career.

“I am blessed to call him father.  I am amazed at what he accomplished in his life.  My dad had a heart of gold, a contagious gift of wit, generosity, and charm that came from within, which extended to everyone who met him. We are grateful for his caring heart and passion to help others through his time, knowledge, and contributions,” said Larry.

Mr. Johanson supported many nonprofit and educational organizations. He served on numerous councils, committees and governing boards, including as a trustee with the Fresno Unified School District, humbly earning awards and accolades through decades of volunteer work. His dedication to JTS never ceased to amaze the staff.  His weekly visits to the corporate office in Fresno  would always come with him asking, “Does anyone have any hard questions today?"

“My dad was a Christian man. His faith was important to him,” said Larry.  “Prior to his passing, we had talked about our faith.  We find comfort knowing he is at peace after his long, blessed, and fulfilled life.  We will continue to honor his legacy at JTS through our good works as well.”

Mr. Johanson always said, “ Every day is a good day, just some are better than others.”

"God bless our founder," the company said in a statement. "We will miss him dearly."

Mr. Johanson is survived by his son, Larry, his wife, Patti, two granddaughters, Amanda Johanson, Yvonne Scott, her husband, James, and four great grandchildren.  Mr. Johanson is also survived by daughter Gale Gomes, husband Jason, granddaughter Jody, and her husband, Ryan.  Mr. Johanson is survived has one surviving brother, Howard, his wife Ida, and their families. Mr. Johanson was preceded by his wife, Althea Johanson, and Amanda.

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